One of the most harmful responses to anxiety is avoidance. When a person avoids the source of their anxiety, they feel relief. However, the next time they face a similar situation, their anxiety will be worse.
Safety behaviors are subtle actions used to avoid anxiety in social situations. For example, someone who is anxious about socializing at a party might focus on their phone to discourage others from approaching. Although safety behaviors provide some relief, they make anxiety worse in the long run.
|· drawing attention to myself in groups||· speak very softly· avoid eye contact||· temporary relief from anxiety· difficulty making friends· people think I’m unfriendly· I never face my fear|
Circle the safety behaviors you use to avoid social anxiety, or write your own.
|speak very little||speak very softly||hold arms stiffly at sides to prevent trembling|
|stand far from others to avoid conversation||avoid sharing personal information||avoid eye contact|
|constantly check appearance in mirror||obsess over appearance before socializing||come up with reasons to leave social event early|
|use drugs / alcohol||avoid eating in front of others||wear excessive makeup to hide blushing|
|avoid asking questions||excessively rehearse what to say before socializing||use distractions to appear busy (e.g. phone, TV)|
|talk excessively to avoid silences||lie or exaggerate to look better||continually seek reassurance or approval|
|cave to peer pressure or wishes of others|