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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
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Johanna Liasides, MSc


I work with youth and young adults to help them improve depressive symptoms and self-esteem as well as effectively address family, relationship and peer conflicts.

Top Rated Answers
July 23rd, 2017 6:17pm
It's perfectly natural to want to avoid situations that cause anxiety! Anxiety causes a lot of distress that can definitely keep you from some opportunities. Avoiding these situations is completely normal, but you may find that facing them slowly and one at a time instead of avoiding them may help you overcome some of this anxiety and help you grow as a person. Hope this helps
July 23rd, 2017 8:57pm
I think it is obviously not a good thing to avoid all situations that make you anxious as this is the only way we can help overcome the anxiety. However avoiding certain anxious situations is normal as nobody is all powerful and able to handle every situation. An important thing to remember is that even when we avoid a situation we learn a little more about the anxiety we are dealing with and how it works. So I don't think avoiding anxious situations can be called giving up.
July 27th, 2017 1:10pm
It is definitely okay to occasionally take steps to avoid situations what will upset you, so long as that doesn't mean avoiding everything. There is a balance between pushing through your anxiety so that you don't let it rule your life and being able to forgive yourself for giving in sometimes. Challenging yourself to face the things that scare you can take a lot of energy so when you feel strong, try to face the anxiety inducing situation. When you are not feeling strong, be kind to yourself and maybe avoid it.
August 4th, 2017 10:19am
I believe every situation has a time and place. Anxiety is a normal human emotion to experience depending on the severity or extent. It is difficult to classify what is ok and what is not ok in terms of anxiety because each situation has many differing variables. Sometimes it is healthy to let yourself feel an emotion by acknowledging it before you can learn to understand it and then hopefully work towards addressing it. Avoiding situations that makes you anxious does not necessarily mean you gave into it. You deal with what you can handle and work your way up from a solid foundation of your own comfort level. If you are able to confront the issue slowly and have the best tools in place for you individually, you can slowly build up confidence towards addressing your anxiety.
August 11th, 2017 12:50am
I think that in life we need to step outside of our comfort zone from time to time in order to grow as people.
August 12th, 2017 10:55pm
Avoidance is part of the classic anxiety cycle. If you avoid something you feel anxious about then you can end up feeling anxious about feeling anxious and that's a terrible feeling! With anxiety one trick is to learn to move with it. To do the things you value while carrying the feeling of anxiety - letting it be a passenger in you but not the one doing the driving. Your mind is making you anxious because it is trying to protect you but often it is wiser to act towards the direction in life you value rather than let anxiety stop you. It's a feeling and learning to move while carrying unpleasant feelings is a very powerful life skill.
August 16th, 2017 6:42pm
Slow, gentle exposure to situations that make you anxious may work best for some people. Taking along a friend or family member might help, and an agreement to leave if you feel overwhelmed provides an exit, if needed. Avoiding some situations that make you uncomfortable may help for some time, but can lead down a dangerous path to becoming reclusive and cut off from society. If you feel these feelings are too much, consulting a professional or using the therapy services on 7 cups would be advisable!
August 17th, 2017 2:39am
Avoiding situations that make you anxious is smart. Although, if you feel up to the task, you could slowly delve yourself into the subject. So that you're at least somewhat comfortable with it. It makes life easier
August 17th, 2017 8:37pm
I think it is important to know yourself and understand your boundaries. Sometimes, the greatest act of self care is not to force yourself into situations that are too overwhelming. Yes, recovery does involve taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone. However, your personal wellbeing should be of utmost priority, and you should never push yourself to do something that is painful for you.
August 18th, 2017 12:17am
It is okay. We all have to start from somewhere. If you are able to avoid the situation and it's not mandatory (e.g taking an exam), avoid it. After that, try to take small steps with support (such as talking to a counselor) and try to face the situations you are anxious about. This will increase your confidence and before you know it, you'll be able to face a lot of situations you were previous anxious about!
August 19th, 2017 12:03am
If something makes you sad, anxious, triggered, angry, etc., it's more than okay to avoid that situation.
September 1st, 2017 6:23pm
For me it depends on the level of anxiousness I experience. For high levels of anxiety it is always tough for us to go into that situation, but we feel so much better when we find a way to do it. For levels of low anxiety, it depends on other situational factors, such as other emotions, and the context of the situation. It is important to always try and push ourselves to be a better version of ourselves, and we are the only ones who can know what that it is!
September 7th, 2017 11:32pm
It is okay to avoid the situation. At some point you will need to face it in order to overcome it. Take your time and face it when you are ready to. For me, I have anxiety around driving and cars. I know that I need to drive to get places so it is inevitable for me to completely avoid it. But I breathe. I try to make sure I'm not distracted and be the best driver I can be. Accidents happen. I do get anxious when reporting that I have seen a car accident but I do deep breathing exercise to help calm me down and I tightly hug myself while rocking. Its a great grounding method.
September 10th, 2017 2:45pm
Anxiety causes us to avoid anxious situations (eg social), which acts as a reward for avoiding the pain of that situation, making the anxiety stronger. I find it is better to confront the situation head on, and smash through the anxiety - don't let a stray thought hold you back! But if you don't feel you can, don't think it's giving up. It just means you can try again another time - there's no shame in that! :)
September 23rd, 2017 5:36pm
It's definitely okay to avoid situations you may not be comfortable with. But while you avoid them, you should also strive to get to a point where you no longer avoid them. So it's a 3 step process. 1) Avoid the situation 2) Acknowledge you just avoided the situation and determine why you did it 3) Make improvements so maybe next time you won't avoid this situation
September 24th, 2017 10:07am
Avoiding situations in which you feel anxious leads to a process called negative reinforcement. It does not mean the same thing as pop culture would make you think. The easiest metaphor to understand negative reinforcement, is pain medication. If you're in pain and you take a pill that relieves you of that pain, your behavior is reinforced (which mean you're more likely to do the same thing when facing the same situation) by the removal of that pain. The same works with avoiding situations in which you're anxious. It's important to preserve yourself, and figure out which situations are really too much for you to deal with and how to go about it. But if you avoid all situations that make you anxious, it'll be reinforced by this avoidance. What can be done about that is some type of "exposure". If you know that one situation is going to make you anxious, go about it like you would go on a trip. Prepare yourself by imagining it, pack "tools" like breathing exercises or whatver works for you to dcrease your anxiety, and reflect on it once it's done, so you can learn more about how your anxiety affects you and how you can deal with it in certain situations. It is not necessarily "giving up to it", because the way you feel about these situations is totally valid, but trying to avoid it only makes it stronger. Which, I know from personal experience, is not somthing you want to hear... But always remember to take care of yourself ;)
November 1st, 2017 5:20am
Temporarily avoiding anxiety inducing situations is okay to keep you from being anxious, but, if possible, you could try facing these situations in a way that makes you more comfortable. I.e. if you fear going out, ask a friend to go with you to ease you into the situation. If you are worried about school, finish your homework early, pick out your clothing the night before, or do other organizational things to lessen anxiety when the situation arises. You should never put yourself in a situation that you know will cause you harm, but you also need to work on dealing with these situations as they come about.
November 3rd, 2017 7:16pm
I think that it's okay to avoid something that's going to be entirely too uncomfortable! But I also think it's important to try to step outside your comfort zone every once in a while. And that's baby steps, nothing to crazy that's going to make you super anxious, just trying a little bit every once in a while. I think it'll go a really long way.
November 10th, 2017 2:54pm
Avoiding anxiety inducing situations will only increase your fear for future encounters. You have to overcome those situations firsthand in a different frame of mind.
November 13th, 2017 6:23pm
To some level, it is reasonable to avoid situations that make you anxious, as long as it does not become a cycle of avoidance, which can lead to agoraphobia or just worsened anxiety. I'm not saying its good to just throw yourself into scary situations, but gradually get yourself used to things and it will get easier.
November 15th, 2017 2:59pm
Yes it is okay to avoid places that make you anxious and it is definitely not giving up it just means that you are stronger for identifying that theese places make you anxious
November 16th, 2017 2:30pm
No, it is not bad to avoid triggerring situations. If something is likely to make you uncomfortable, it is better to avoid it than be in the situation that may potentially go down badly.
November 16th, 2017 3:26pm
Avoiding situations that make you anxious is an unhealthy method of coping with it. It's best to deal with things like that head-on, and you will reap the benefits of it greatly.
November 18th, 2017 1:56pm
It’s totally okay to avoid situations that make you anxious, like meeting people or going somewhere that will make you nervous, do anything that makes you happy
November 18th, 2017 4:57pm
It is okay to avoid them due to you feeling anxious but you should try to push yourself to do something sometimes because you never know what the outcome can be. Although you should consider what the situation is and what sort of outcome you want.
November 23rd, 2017 2:03pm
i don't believe it's giving up on it, for me it's a more way of coping with this stressful situation... It's kind of a "fight or fly thing" but if you choose to fly from it, it doesn't make you a coward at all
November 24th, 2017 6:35am
It is completely normal ...and smart... to avoid things that make you anxious. It gives you the opportunity to build up strength before facing the situation when the time comes. You are not giving in to are protecting yourself and doing whats necessary for self preservation.
December 2nd, 2017 4:41am
IMHO There is avoidance of situations, people etc etc which is generally counter productive ( although understandable) and there is deliberately choosing to avoid or not engage in activities/ communications etc that you know will trigger negative self defeating thought/ emotions etc. In therapy for anxiety/OCD the most up to date research has been (that has been thoroughly tested) is that exposure to the things you fear is good for you in the long run. OTOH if you know that certain things will gnaw at you emotionally that are going to do you know are not going to do you any good long term its better to practice caution and not indulge them. A personal example. I know that I expend too much emotional energy watching the news. Particularly about politics and current affairs. I always want to "know" that things are going to be the way I would prefer. In reality I have no control over the vast majority of things that are happening. I invest too much of myself in trying to be "certain". In this case avoiding a lot of the news is actually beneficial to me because if the outcome is not something i like it could/will make me miserable. Contrast that with me avoiding an uncomfortable situation with family/ or other social gathering. If I go it will be difficult but afterward I will have gained (most likely) a tangible sense that it went at least ok. In other words it benefited me in my dealing with anxiety and its cousin avoidance. Doing it a bit of the time in measured amounts helps.
December 4th, 2017 4:13pm
It’s okay to avoid situations every once in a while. If you start doing this often it can turn into crippling anxiety. This means you pretty much never do anything that you think could make you anxious, which could be anything. Sometimes you have to face your fears! I’ve been through this and i’m still working on it so i know what you’re goign through
December 6th, 2017 9:16am
It is ideal to avoid situations that make you anxious for most people. When some people are recovering, a mode of recovery is facing their anxieties, but this can worsen the symptoms for other people. I wouldn't try anything unless advised by a medical professional.