The 365 Commitment

Avoidance Coping

It is amazing how many strategies humans will develop to avoid contention, risk and workload. Many of these you will easily recognize. Procrastination, passive-aggressive behavior, and one of my favorites constant rumination. These are the things we most commonly do to avoid uncomfortable things. We push things off (procrastinate), we attack other things (passive-aggressive), and we just think about it and think about it ad nauseum (ruminate).

However, I want to point out an insidious one that we do not really notice. I am guilty of it myself, and once I recognized it, I now see it much easier. I am shocked by how often that I do it, and this behavior is best called avoidance coping. Simply stated, this is the tendency of us humans to avoid the thing causing us stress and instead avoid them completely and worry about something else instead.

Here is the problem, we think we are reducing stress by avoidance coping. We think that by pushing the stressor aside that we are lowering our stress issues. The reality is that that this strategy compounds and we end up far more stressed out than the avoidance strategy intended to reduce.

What I have been working on is to replace avoidance coping with a more active process of coping with stress. Instead of stress management, or stress avoidance I am working with how to cope with stress. For example, talking through problems, budgeting my time to focus on certain things, and reconsidering the positive areas of my life and actively choosing to focus on them.

Stress should be dealt with as an active, proactive methodology and not a passive avoidance behavior which ends up compounding stress.

Guy Reams

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share the Post:

Recent Blogs

Comparison Game

Just thinking about common issues that plague our mental states. One of them is the comparison game. Similar to the

Read More
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x