Dealing with anxiety on your own can be tough.
I know this from experience – I struggled with crippling anxiety for years. I hated my anxiety, and I hated that it got in the way of my life.
But I didn’t know how to fix it.
We humans aren’t born with the innate knowledge about how to properly deal with anxiety, and we’re certainly not taught it in school either. So what do we do? Well, many of us (including my younger self) often develop certain behaviours in an attempt to lessen, avoid, or help us cope with our anxiety.
The problem is, most of the time the behaviours we develop just end up making our anxiety even worse. These are called destructive behaviours. And if you want to truly overcome your anxiety, you need to learn to recognize these destructive behaviours so you can cut them out of your life.
In this post, I’m going to be explaining the 6 most common destructive behaviours that many of us with anxiety have.
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1) Avoiding anything that might trigger the anxiety
This is probably one of the most common destructive behaviours around. If we just avoid everything that *might* trigger our anxiety, then we’ll be safe and happy – right?
You can’t go through life trying to avoid everything that could hurt you. Think about it – there are so many possible triggers out there, and you have NO idea where they all are. Trying to avoid them 24/7 would be EXHAUSTING!
Even if you did know exactly where every trigger was, this still wouldn’t truly heal you. Your anxiety would still be there in the background – lurking, watching, waiting.
You must confront your anxiety face-to-face. You need to go deep within yourself to understand what the actual root of the problem is and then overcome it. Once you do this, you’ll become free to truly experience everything the world has to offer you.
2) Indulging in escapist behaviours
When the going gets tough, it may seem like a quick-fix solution to just hide away from the world for a while.
But quick fix solutions rarely work. Escaping reality as a way of managing your anxiety is no exception.
Now I’m not saying you can’t spend a couple hours on your couch watching Lord of the Rings and dreaming of running away to Rivendell. But the trouble comes when your escapist behaviours turn into unhealthy, long-lasting behaviours (such as overeating, sleeping for hours on end, or watching TV all day long).
You can’t escape your problems forever. Just like Frodo had to deal with the ring, so too must you deal with your anxiety face-to-face.
3) Refusing to get help
Whether it’s physically going to therapy or reading self-help books at home (or enrolling in my Design Your Anxiety Free Life course!), it’s critical for those of us who struggle with anxiety to get the help we need for it. Remember, we’re not born with the knowledge of how to properly deal with anxiety. We need help from outside sources.
For many of us though, accepting help (or even just accepting we need help) is unthinkable. We think, “if I accept help, then I have to confront my anxiety, and this is something I can’t do”.
I understand how difficult it is. I know how debilitating panic attacks are and how you probably don’t want to even TALK about anything RELATED to them. But to truly overcome your anxiety, you must acknowledge that there’s a problem, and you must be strong enough to ask for help.
If you’re unsure of where to start or who to ask for help, you’re in the right place. I created my Anxiety Course with the sole purpose in mind to help people like you who are struggling with anxiety. If you want to find out more about how I can help, head on over to my website!
4) Performing compulsive behaviours
Compulsive behaviours are things we do repeatedly because we feel compelled to do them. We often perform these behaviours in an attempt to get rid of our anxiety and to subdue our anxious thoughts. Some examples of compulsive behaviours include:
- Washing your hands excessively
- Checking over and over to make sure you locked the door
- Constantly checking in on loved ones
The thing is, while we may think that doing these actions will get rid of our anxiety (“if I just wash my hands ONE last time, I’ll be good from now on…”), they actually just add fuel to the flame. Why? Because they give your anxiety an immense amount of power.
You can’t get rid of something by feeding it. You can’t defeat your anxiety by caving into its requests.
Related Article: How to Let Go of Things You Can’t Control to Live Anxiety-Free
5) Letting yourself be the victim
Many of us who have anxiety often think of ourselves as a “victim” of our anxiety. This is referred to as victim mentality – and it’s a very dangerous mentality to have.
When we have a victim mentality, we think that our anxiety “owns us” and that there’s nothing we can do about it because we’re just a poor little victim.
The interesting thing about victim mentality is that on a subconscious level, many of us may actually find comfort in being a victim.
Why? Because being a victim gives us an excuse not to do difficult things. We think, “I have anxiety. Poor me. I can’t do anything because of my anxiety”.
This mentality is just another distraction that’s keeping us from doing the one thing we must do the most – stand up to and face our fears.
If you’re ready to shed your victim mentality and CONQUER your fears, then you’re ready to enrol in my Anxiety Course. Within the worksheets, I’ll be guiding you through proven cognitive behaviour techniques that help you face your fears in a controlled and safe manner so that you can overcome your anxiety FOR GOOD!
6) Neglecting yourself and your life
When we go through difficult times, many of us may find that we begin to neglect certain aspects of our lives. Maybe we stop taking care of of appearance. Perhaps we isolate ourselves from our friends and family. Or maybe we stop putting effort into things we used to enjoy doing.
Those of us who struggle with anxiety will often have the phrase “what’s the point?” floating around our head. We think, “my anxiety is already ruining my inner world, so why even try to put any effort into my outer world?” .
This is a dangerous way of thinking, as it makes us believe that our anxiety is powerful enough to take over our lives, and that we are incapable of defeating it.
Instead of surrendering into your anxiety by using the mantra “nothing matters”, you need to admit the truth. And that truth is: “I do care about myself and my life – and I need to deal with my anxiety in order to enjoy my life to the fullest”.
In order to stop these destructive behaviours, then you need to learn how to replace them with healthier behaviours. This is one of my main goals with my Design Your Anxiety-Free Life course. When you enrol in the course, not only will you get access to 12+ learning modules, but you’ll also get your hands on my Anxiety Workbook which includes TONS of worksheets that will guide you you in overriding your old behaviours and replacing them with much better ones!
Related Article: The #1 Secret That Helped Me Overcome My Anxiety
Final thoughts and reminders
Destructive behaviours may seem to help us lessen, avoid, or cope with our anxiety, but they really just make it worse
In order to overcome anxiety, we must STOP performing these destructive behaviours
Instead, we must learn to face our fears head-to-head
For assistance in facing tour fears in order to overcome your anxiety, head on over and check out my course
Sagesse ("Say Jess")
Owner of Mindaya