Self-Helpapedia

Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

Avoided Emotion Exercise for Anxiety & Panic

Finding avoided emotions and conflicts and expressing them is a potent method for limiting anxiety, compulsions, fear, body distortions, panic, Tension Myoneural Syndrome (or TMS), relationship claustrophobia, and worry. Avoiding emotions, desires, and conflicts contributes in a large way to folks becoming anxious and panicky. That avoided emotions contributes to anxiety and panic is rooted in the idea that being overly pleasant and avoiding conflict will create anxiety. Many individuals, suffering from anxiety, excessive worry, panic, and compulsions, are often people-pleasing and avoid conflict and strong feelings. When these persons experience upset or conflict, they suppress and avoid their upsets and conflicts because they don't want to upset anyone and face putdowns or rejection. Done so automatically and quickly, the avoidance is often out of the person's awareness. The avoided conflicts and strong emotions emerge as anxiety, compulsions, fear, panic, relationship claustrophobia, and worries. When folks feel and integrate their strong feelings and discuss their conflicts openly they often notice their anxiety disappearing.

 

Warning: Folks with a history of mental illness, trauma, or panic are urged not to use these techniques without a therapist. If you decide to do these processes you will agree to dissolve the webmaster, the server, and Steve Mensing of any responsibility for the application or misapplication of these processes. There is always in any process the fraction of possibility that someone could experience some discomfort.

Steps to the Avoided Emotion Exercise

1. Are you suffering from any of the following?

Circle any of the following anxiety related challenges:

Anxiety. Compulsions. Fear. Panic. Psychosomatic illnesses/TMS. Body Distortions. Relationship Claustrophobia. Worry.

2. What emotion/conflict/disapproval/loss of control are you avoiding feeling and expressing?

What emotion/conflict/disapproval/loss of control are you avoiding feeling or expressing? Circle any of the following self-defeating beliefs that apply:


I should avoid conflict and asserting my wants, desires, and needs to others for fear I'll be disapproved or rejected. Nice people don't ever feel upset or annoyed with each other. They must never express their anger or appear vulnerable with feelings of loneliness, insecurity, or jealousy.

I must always be in emotional control and always be happy, confident, upbeat, and optimistic. I must never appear down, anxious, insecure, angry, or out of control or else people will think I'm weird and will reject me.

I should never follow what's important to me or work I'm passionate about because that would be selfish.

I must give up my desires and wishes.

If I get anxious or fearful I could lose control and go out of my mind.

I must not get upset. Something is very very wrong if I get upset or overreact.

 


3.  Express, feel, or take action.

If you avoided expressing your anger or what you want and need, do so. Is there any action you better take?

If you avoided conflict with someone important to you, express your conflict as soon as possible. Is there anything you better take action on?

If you are avoiding feeling vulnerable with feelings of loneliness, insecurity, or jealousy with someone, feel those feelings and share them with the person who needs to hear your vulnerability. Is there anything you better do?

If you feel down, anxious, frightened, insecure, angry, or out of control feel those feelings and express them. Is there anything you better do?

 

Tips on the Avoided Emotion Exercise

Learn assertiveness and practice it regularly until it gets habituated.

Feel your feelings and express them.

If you feel anxious about feeling your feelings or expressing yourself because you fear putdowns and rejections, use an integrator on the anxiety that's blocking you. Keep practicing in your imagination and in real life expressing yourself and taking action until it feels comfortable and like second nature.

Challenge and change any of the self-defeating beliefs that are blocking you.

Keep a record of your diminishing anxiety, worry, and panic.

Take care, Steve

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