The CBT’s: Ten Ways to Stop Avoidance
If you find yourself repeatedly avoiding situations because you feel uncomfortable or nervous, the best remedy to cure your anxiety is to not deter yourself from these situations. The more you avoid, the worse your anxiety will get.
See Thou Shall Not Avoid for Why .
Some basic ideas on how not to avoid and making approaching anxiety situations easier:
1. Make your own movie with imagery: Play out positive scenarios in your head. Use scenes from films or books to guide you but make sure you are the actor/actress in the film.
2. Role play: practice in front of a mirror or with a friend/therapist. Once you start it can be fun and extremely helpful.
3. Get a job or volunteer. If you see being social as part of your job you may come out of your shell.
For example, if you are nervous about attending a party. Commit to attending between 9pm and 10pm. Don’t give into to leaving when you feel like leaving. Inform the hostess in advance that you have another engagement or an early morning.
5. Ask one question or state one fact. In a meeting or in a group setting, make a point to say something at the least threatening part of the gathering. Usually this is the beginning or end.
6. Speed date: If dating is not your thing because you shy away from meeting new people or hate the asking out part. Try speed dating. It will help you get used to breaking the ice. Knowing each meeting is only 5 minutes will help you feel in control.
7. Talk to strangers. If you have a hard time meeting new people commit to talking to one new person a week. Start with people engaged in jobs that are designed to share information. For example, go to the local beer brewery and ask the bartender about beer or the person working in the local Barnes and nobles about what books they recommend. Usually people working in these positions are there because are knowledgeable and enjoy something about the topic.
8. Have someone go with you. Enlist a friend or a therapist. It will make things easier and maybe you can share a laugh.
9. Treat everyone the same for an hour. For an hour make an effort to smile at everyone that comes across your path. Make sure you ride the elevator or walk the halls during this hour.
10. Say good morning to everyone on a Monday. This will break the routine and set a stage for new habits.
By breaking down your behaviors into small, manageable acts you not only get to rid yourself of the anxiety, but your actual performance will improve. Just like when you ran teams drills in high school.