This includes complete avoidance such as not going out or not doing certain activities which are anxiety-provoking to smaller scale acts of avoidance like not speaking as much in social situations, avoiding eye contact or changing the subject if people ask about something you find worrying
These are things a person might do that make them feel safe in the moment, but actually do not make a difference to their safety for example seeking reassurance from other people, needing to have certain things with you in order to feel safe or repeatedly checking or cleaning things
The mind gets pulled into trying to predict threats and rehearse future scenarios, or reruns, dissects and analyses events that have happened in the past, or might simply ask endless ‘what if….? or ‘why….?’ questions that often have no answers.
Although all of these responses are natural reactions to anxiety, the tricky thing is that the more a person behaves in these ways the more it confirms in their minds that the things they are worried about are real threats that must be avoided, and so, actually magnifies and strengthens the anxious thoughts and feelings. In this way people get trapped in a vicious cycle of anxiety.