Navigation
Therapy Tools
Worksheets
Interactive Tools
Guides
Videos
Articles
Products
About
Search
Filter by Demographic
Children Adolescents Adults
Filter by Topic
Anger Anxiety Art CBT Communication DBT Depression Education Emotions Goals Grief Parenting and Behavior Positive Psychology Relationships Relaxation Self-Esteem Stress Substance Use Values
Menu
worksheets and tools for mental health professionals
Sign In Register
Accounts

The Cycle of Anxiety

When a person avoids a feared situation—whether through physical avoidance, the use of drugs and alcohol, or otherwise—the uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety quickly fade away.

Unfortunately, the relief doesn't last long. And next time, the anxiety will be worse. The brain thinks: "Last time I avoided this situation, and that felt good." The desire to avoid a situation becomes increasingly difficult to resist.

Many anxiety treatments, such as CBT and exposure therapies, work by breaking the cycle of anxiety and avoidance. Clients are encouraged to face the source of their anxieties, which has the opposite outcome of avoiding them. When faced head-on, anxiety will eventually shrink, and the desire for avoidance diminishes.

The Cycle of Anxiety worksheet illustrates this concept with a diagram and simple explanations of each step. Use this tool to teach clients the basics of anxiety, the rationale behind exposure therapies, and the importance of overcoming avoidance.

Alternate languages: Spanish - Turkish
The Cycle of Anxiety Preview
loading animation