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Is it okay to avoid situations that make me anxious, or is that giving up to it?

306 Answers
Last Updated: 12/08/2020 at 11:19am
Is it okay to avoid situations that make me anxious, or is that giving up to it?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Amelia Winsby, PsyD


I often work with clients who experience a wide range of emotions and difficulties. I am non-judgmental and enjoy working with individuals from all walks of life.

Top Rated Answers
September 14th, 2016 3:01am
It definitely depends on each situation but generally, speaking from experience, avoiding situations that make you anxious is a no. When you avoid situations, you continue to build up an association with that scenario which will continue to restrict you, for example say going to the doctor makes you anxious - you think to yourself 'eh I'm not feeling it today, I'm stay home', which at the time is great, no anxious feelings. Yay! But next time you need to go to the doctor, let's assume it's for something more serious, your brain is immediately going to say 'hey no that's dangerous we're not doing that' - and it only makes it harder to break out of that mentality. Of course there's going to be some situations where it might be a smart idea to avoid, for example you know you're feeling particularly bad and it's going to be absolute hell if you try and go to that place, don't force yourself to feel terrible. In summary, try not to avoid situations unless absolutely necessary, for social situations try your best to go because you might regret flaking later, don't force yourself into situations that you know full well will make you feel terrible, but also if you try and you can't - don't feel like you have given in however frustrating it might feel because every time you try you are standing up to your anxiety.
September 17th, 2016 5:01pm
Trying your best to confront the situation head on without any expectations is always fruitful if you're anxious. Giving up to anxiety is when you close yourself off to activities that you are fully aware are not dangerous and the only reason you are not doing them is your anxiety. Anxiety will win many times before you do, so any sense of feeling that you've won against it is vital.
September 18th, 2016 2:27pm
You should never avoid your tough situations. It will make your anxiety go worst and worst as you age or even daily. As said in the anxiety guide on 7 cups, you should face your fears.
September 23rd, 2016 12:39am
yes , absolutely it is totally normal , as if we are sensitive to heat than we usually avoid some . as if we are sensitive to anything may be it could be something that will make you anxious then absolutely it is normal. but remember this should not cause any delay or anything which would harm your career or relationship. although this should not cause any harm or any such thing to your relationship or career or anything else but remember when we consult a medical doctor he would always prescribe medications based upon if the benefits outweigh side effects. thank you.
September 25th, 2016 7:13am
Yes, it is okay to avoid situations that make you feel anxious. It is not giving up to avoid things that cause anxious feelings. If there is something you'd like to do that causes you to have anxious feelings try to slowly work up to it. Don't ever feel defeated if there is something you can't do because of anxiety though. I try to express it by asking, would you send someone with a broken leg to run a marathon? If you cannot do something because of anxious feelings it is okay.
September 25th, 2016 8:06pm
That's a tough question. It depends on how you feel about it. Do you feel better if you face your anxiety? Do you feel guilty if you don't? Personally, I sometimes avoid anxious situations but that depends on the days when I decide to show more compassion for myself, for example, understanding that I've had a tough day etc. But sometimes, I do push myself a little, hoping that more exposure will help me become more resilient even if I don't experience the effect immediately.
September 28th, 2016 11:30pm
To me its always okay to do whats best for you. Its about creating a space in which you feel safe and suported, then when more comfortable to take those steps that might be more challenging...
September 30th, 2016 9:25pm
It is okay, and it is giving up. Sometimes it's okay to give up. It depends on your goals. If your goal is to be calm in situations which make you anxious, then avoiding them wont help. If your goal is just to not feel anxious throughout the day, then avoiding anxiety-provoking situations isn't giving up.
October 2nd, 2016 5:27pm
It really depends on the situation. Some situations are just unhealthy to avoid, like never going out with friends. Otherwise, if it helps your anxiety, why not avoid it.
October 8th, 2016 4:42pm
It's not okay. We should try to solve problems, not avoiding them. After that, we feel very better.
October 12th, 2016 2:58am
It's ok to avoid them for some time but some what you have to face them and deal with them or they'll never go
October 13th, 2016 4:05am
When the anxiety you receive from these situations interferes with the rest of your day, or with your ongoing day-to-day life, then measures need to be taken to ensure you are in an environment that supports your well-being. It is not healthy to contiavoid dealing with anxiety, however where that anxiety becomes extreme and intereferes with your functionality, then it is healthier to at least temporarily avoid the situation until either it passes or a better solution can be found like medication or therapy.
October 14th, 2016 2:36pm
You can definitely try to avoid situations that you know will trigger your anxiety. However, if avoiding these situations starts to interfere with your ability to live your life as you please and in a healthy manner, you may want to look into alternative methods of coping. It's definitely easier to develop coping strategies and skills for calming yourself when you're not feeling overwhelmed though, so avoiding the situations may be the best place to start.
October 16th, 2016 8:28pm
Our wellbeing - both mental and physical - is often naturally one of our top priorities. It is perfectly okay to avoid situations that you know will make you feel anxious. You are not giving up - you are prioritising your mental wellbeing which is nothing that you should feel ashamed of.
October 19th, 2016 9:22am
Everyone hides away from something in their life so i think this is okay to avoid situations at time
October 21st, 2016 10:32pm
it is just okay, but you have to tell the member that he/she better can connect with another listener
October 27th, 2016 8:38pm
The answer to that depends entirely on you, and the advice of any professional therapist or doctor you may be in contact with. Consider the situations you're attempting to avoid - will cutting these activities from your life reduce the quality of your life? And always consider the opinion of your healthcare professional before taking drastic steps to address your mental health.
October 28th, 2016 2:09pm
i think depending on the situation its okay. i deal with anxiety going to school,so i stay home from shool often. but you have to at least try. if you try every day,you will start overcoming your anxiety,
November 3rd, 2016 2:04am
It's absolutely okay to avoid those situations. You have to look out for whatever helps make you calm, happy and in control. In time, when you feel more confident, then you can start facing those situations. But only when your ready.
November 6th, 2016 12:39pm
It depends on how much you can push yourself, it you can handle the stress push, but learn yourself first and then you will be able to decide whether or not to push in the situation
November 18th, 2016 2:10pm
"Face your fears" might initially sound like a great idea, but anxiety is so much more than fear. It's great if you try and face situations that make you feel anxious, but it's also completely fine to back away from them and give yourself some time until you feel like you're ready to face them. It's not at all giving up, it's just taking your time and taking care of yourself.
November 23rd, 2016 11:16am
If possible, it can help to avoid some situations where you know you will feel anxious. However, in time, it is good to find effective strategies to help you face these situations while managing your anxiety.
November 27th, 2016 5:05am
Yes it is fine to avoid situations that make you anxious, it's not avoiding problems, it's protecting yourself from something that is causing you distress, and it's ok to do that, it doesn't make you weak. In fact it makes you strong to be able to take charge enough In your own life to avoid situations that make you feel like this. But learning skills to cope with situations that makes you nervous is a necessity because you wont always be able to avoid those situations.
December 1st, 2016 6:58am
In the past, when confronting something that makes me anxious, I've found it helpful to start with small steps first. After I got acclimatized to the more manageable version of the big goal, then I felt more confident to attempt the situation that I wanted to overcome. Its okay not too rush things, or avoid to some extent, cause being patient with yourself means understanding when to push, and when not to push.. It;s about respecting where you're at without judging yourself. Be gentle with yourself, as it can difficult process. In the end it's all worth it though!
December 10th, 2016 8:36pm
It all depends on the situation. For example, if its something minor, ie. going to the shop to buy a drink, you can avoid it if you're not feeling up to it. However, when it's something important to you, a goal perhaps, relationship etc you could find yourself giving up to a lot of opportunities.
December 23rd, 2016 10:06pm
Great question! I would say yes or no depending on the context of the particular situation. If the situation causes your anxiety to be so high that you cannot even function, maybe even on the verge of a panic attack, then I would say to avoid it. Your safety and well-being are of primary concern. However, if the situation is less intense, maybe trying to stay with it in a state of mindfulness about how you are feeling might be recommended. The more we avoid a particular thing, the more we reinforce it, give it power over us. Ultimately, the way to reduce our fear, oddly enough, is to face that fear, but the idea here is to go slowly. If the situation is just too stressful to approach, working with a therapist to manage the fear might be helpful.
December 30th, 2016 4:21am
There is a line between knowing when you are unable to handle a situation and it's in your best self interest to avoid the situation. And using it as an excuse to get out of things. Only you can know what is what. But please note that if you do avoid a situation for you mental health, you should never feel guilty for making that decision.
January 5th, 2017 1:22am
Often, I have personally found that avoiding situations leaves you to think, about, worry and not have peace with the fact that you haven't told someone; how you feel, your truth. The avoiding based on a feeling is different then trusting your gut or self or knowing the situation is not safe. Often, avoiding leaves regrets and a tendency to battle up your feeling or thoughts. That can lead to expressing them in an inappropriate way or blowing up so to speak. Telling someone your feelings, will not mean they agree. But, they will choose how to respond. You can choose how you resound, but not how they react. .
January 7th, 2017 6:58pm
Avoiding what you are uncomfortable with is perfectly fine, contrary to what most will lead you to believe. For example, if a person makes you feel uncomfortable due to their behavior, why would you want to be around them? It's very healthy to eliminate any stressors that you can. There is a limit to all of this though. Debilitating fear of day-to-day activities would not be part of a healthy avoidance protocol. For that, you do need to gradually "face your fears", but it's not as bad as it seems. I've been there.
January 8th, 2017 4:48pm
Sometimes you need to step back and think to yourself, "I can't handle this right now, I need to care for myself at this point." However, you can't, nor should you, avoid things that make you anxious. Some stuff is good and it can make you feel better that you accomplished something that you were very anxious about. For example, I had a new doctor and I didn't know what bus to take once I got off the one from where I live. I got hopelessly turned around and I was 45 min late. But I explained my predicament to the receptionist and I had called them periodically to let them know I was on my way. As frazzled as I was when I got home, I was proud of the fact that I didn't have a meltdown and now I knew which buses to take for my next appointment and what time I needed to leave to make it there on time. Don't give up. Just choose your battles. The more progress you make the better you will feel about yourself.