When we’re anxious, we tend to avoid things (the flight part of the “fight-flight-freeze” response). Ask yourself: what types of situations or things am I avoiding because of fear that something bad will happen?

Here are some examples of things people avoid because of anxiety.

I avoid saying something because it might sound stupid.
I avoid being near dogs because they might attack.
I avoid making mistakes because it feels bad not to do things perfectly.
I avoid getting into a car because I’m worried we’ll be in a car accident.
I avoid being home alone because I’m worried someone will break in.
I avoid doing anything to get my heart rate up because I’m scared I’ll have a heart attack or faint.

Sometimes anxiety causes us to lash out (the “fight” part of the “fight-flight-freeze” response). Can you think of times when you got angry and maybe yelled at someone because you were scared?

Some examples:
• Yelling at your mom on the first day of school.
• Raising your voice at your mom when she told you she wanted you to go get a blood test.
• Slamming the door to your room when your dad said you had to come to the family holiday party.
• Telling your friend to “mind your own business” when she asked why you’ve been washing your hands for a long time.
• Purposely not speaking to your girlfriend for three days because she talked to another guy.
• Pushing your boyfriend away when he tried to hug you because he didn’t return your texts and you’re worried he no longer likes you.

Start taking note of when you are avoiding something or lashing out because deep down you’re afraid. Knowing when you’re anxious is the first step to being able to do something about it.