Unhealthy Ways to Deal with Anxiety

Nov 27, 2023

Anxiety is a common emotional response. We all experience anxiety to different degrees throughout our lives. The workplace, personal relationships, and significant life changes can all trigger anxiety.

And when anxiety flairs up, it’s natural for us to seek ways to cope. Unfortunately, some of the approaches we turn to are actually counterproductive and detrimental to our well-being.

Substance Abuse
It should go without saying that turning to drugs and alcohol are some of the most destructive coping mechanisms. These substances may provide temporary relief, but they bring some dangerous baggage; often leading to addictions and other health problems which can exacerbate anxiety in the long run.

Avoidance
Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety can provide short-term relief but actually serve to reinforce the anxiety in the long term. Avoidance prevents us from confronting our fears and learning more healthy coping strategies.

Overeating or Undereating
Changes in diet are often used as a means to cope with anxiety. Some suffering from anxiety overeat as a way of seeking comfort, while others may undereat to gain a sense of control. These behaviors only lead to physical health problems and worsen emotional distress.

Compulsive Behaviors
Engaging in compulsive behaviors – cleaning the house, organizing, binge watching – can take our mind off our troubles and temporarily reduce anxiety. However, these behaviors consume a significant amount of time and tend to disrupt daily life, making the underlying anxiety worse.

Aggressive Outbursts
It’s not uncommon for some of us to cope with anxiety through verbal or physical aggression, either directed towards ourselves or others. This is never a good idea and can lead to both strained relationships and potentially legal consequences.

Excessive Technology Use
Overusing technology and social media can provide a temporary distraction from anxiety, but can contribute to social isolation and oftentimes promote feelings of inadequacy.

Evolve Counseling Services is Fort Collins’s most trusted therapy practice when it comes to helping college students deal with depression and anxiety. Give us a call to begin a discussion on how we can help bring out the best in you. Serving students (and adults!) in Fort Collins, Colorado State University, and across Colorado via online therapy sessions.