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  • Katrina Dennehy

The Cycle of Anxiety


Imagine a run-of-the-mill situation that triggers anxiety for you, such as an exam or a work presentation. As the event approaches, it consumes your thoughts and you start to worry about all the things that could go wrong. To alleviate your worry, you choose to avoid the situation.


Although avoiding the situation may bring a sense of relief at first, it doesn't last long. Sooner or later, you will have to face the object of your anxiety, whether it's taking the exam or giving another presentation. By avoiding anxiety-inducing situations, you inadvertently allow the anxiety to grow. Think of it like accumulating interest on an overdue credit card bill.


To cope with anxiety, we often need to be counterintuitive. Rather than avoiding the stressful situation, it's more beneficial in the long run to engage with it. Although it may be uncomfortable at first, the more we engage with anxiety-inducing situations, the more manageable the anxiety becomes.


It's important to remember that anxiety is a common and treatable condition. By understanding the cycle of anxiety and seeking appropriate treatment, you can learn to manage your anxiety and lead a more fulfilling life. If you struggle with the cycle of anxiety, consider reaching out to a therapist for help breaking the cycle.



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