Coping With Anxiety: Avoidance or Immersion?

Lynne Taetzsch Health Guide
  • It’s amazing to me how the smallest things can make me anxious--things that would be insignificant to anyone else.  But then, talking to one of my friends, I found that what makes her anxious wouldn’t bother me at all.  

    Last weekend I had two of our grandchildren staying overnight, and on Sunday I planned to take them to see Beauty and the Beast at the local high school.  Would you believe I couldn’t sleep the night before?  I worried about how early we should get there in order to find good seats.  I worried about whether it was going to rain and about standing outside in line getting wet.  (Yes, we do own umbrellas!)  I worried about the children getting bored while we waited in line.  I worried about not finding good seats, and the children not being able to see.  
    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    My friend, on the other hand, worries about significant things, like going to the doctor’s office.  For some reason, seeing a doctor doesn’t bother me, unless I’m going for a mammogram.  In that case the fear is real because it hurts.  

    As it turned out, the kids loved Beauty and the Beast, and we got there early enough to find pretty good seats.  It was raining lightly and I forgot the umbrellas, but I dropped the kids off first and parked the car myself.  My grandson is eleven and responsible. All in all, I’m glad we went to the play in spite of my anxiety attack the night before.

    If we know what makes us anxious, should we design our lives to avoid those things?  Or should we do them often in order to desensitize ourselves to them?  When starting a new job, for example, the first day is always the worst.  But after a while you get into the routine and become comfortable.  Or more comfortable, at least, if not completely at ease.  

    Maybe I should take the kids to a play every weekend?

Published On: April 16, 2007