What is your avoidant coping really costing you?

By Dr Alice Boyes |

Avoidant Coping is one of the main causes of out-of-control stress, depression, anxiety, low self esteem, relationship problems, and eating issues.

Avoidant coping is about trying to avoid experiencing painful thoughts, feelings, memories, or sensations.

For example, avoiding having a conversation you need to have because you don’t want to experience feeling awkward, stupid or frustrated.

Here’s how to get started solving problem.

1. The Costs Of Avoidance Worksheet.

2. The Avoidance and Suffering Diary. Fill it out at the end of each day for a week. (make sure you do the Costs of Avoidance Worksheet first).

The Avoidance and Suffering Diary asks you to note down:

a. The painful thoughts, feelings, and memories that you experienced that day,

b. What you did to try to escape, avoid, get rid of, or distract yourself from them, and

c. What trying to avoid the thoughts and feelings cost you in terms of health, vitality, relationship issues, getting stuck, increasing pain, wasted time/money/energy.

You can grab a printable version here – Avoidance and Suffering Diary.

Filling out the diary will help you overcome one of the biggest traps people fall into with avoidant coping, which is that people avoid thinking about the true consequences of their patterns of avoidant coping, and therefore keep doing it.

The pdf I have linked to is based on a book called The Happiness Trap, which I recommend a lot to clients.

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About The Author

is the author of an upcoming book about anxiety for PenguinRandomHouse. She writes for Psychology Today, GOOD magazine, and is the Emotions Expert for Women's Health Australia. She lives in NYC and is originally from New Zealand.

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