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This Common Coping Mechanism For Anxiety Could Actually Be Doing You More Harm Than Good

Live by the old adage, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved?’ You might wanna rethink that…

According to Macquarie University clinical psychologist Danielle Einstein, learning to embrace uncertainty – without turning to friends for comfort – is the key to easing anxiety. 

“Our culture has changed immensely as a result of the smartphone,” she writes for The Conversation. “We can feel approval by getting ‘likes’ on our Instagram post or Facebook status. But heavy reliance on devices is responsible for a shift in how we regulate our emotions.”

In short? Leaning on our mates for support reduces our capability to deal with the unknown. 

This intolerance has been shown to cause a range of psychological difficulties, including “safety-seeking behaviour” which indeed reduces our stress in the moment, but leads to more problems down the track. 

“Smartphones and social media apps mean we can easily contact other people to obtain reassurance when facing a worrying situation instead of coping with it ourselves,” explains Einstein.

“So, when the situation unfolds, the person may believe some of their ability to cope was due to the reassurance they may have received, rather than developing self-reliance.”

While internalising your problems may seem like the fix to building this resilience, we all know this is way easier said than done.

So, what’s a girl to do? 

“If something unpleasant happens, it is healthy to talk to someone and reflect on a situation that upsets us, especially if it is really important,” Einstein says.

“However, to have this as the first option to manage every doubt is not healthy. Being able to wait and let go of the desire to control each situation is a major key to overcoming anxiety.”

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