What Is an Avoidant Attachment Style and How Can I Change It?

  There are three primary attachment styles (secure, anxious, and avoidant) and understanding your attachment style can help you have happier and healthier adult romantic relationships.   Approximately 25% of us have an Avoidant Attachment Style.   Securely attached people tend to have happy, long lasting relationships built on trust. They feel comfortable expressing their feelings and needs. They can also reciprocate and meet their partner’s needs.   People with an anxious attachment style tend to feel insecure and need frequent reassurances of their partner’s love. This can feel overly needy and clingy to those with secure or avoidant attachment styles.   In contrast, people with an avoidant attachment style see themselves as independent and feel uncomfortable sharing their inner thoughts and vulnerabilities. Too much closeness feels suffocating to someone with an avoidant attachment.   Avoidant Attachment   People with an avoidant attachment style struggle with deep intimacy and trust. They’ll unconsciously create situations and reasons to leave or sabotage close relationships.  They tend to connect and then pull away when the relationship feels too intense. Their relationships tend to be shallow, as a result.   They don’t talk about or notice their feelings very much. They keep their emotions under lock and key and often lack awareness of their own feelings, especially vulnerable feelings like weakness, embarrassment, or failure.   Someone with an avoidant attachment might think or feel:
  • “I don’t like talking about my feelings”
  • “I pride myself on being independent and doing things on my own”
  • “Things don’t really bother me”
  • “People always let me down”
  • “I don’t need help from anyone”
  Excerpt from PsychCentral, read the full report here.   Mindfulness Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in happiness. Scientific studies are showing many benefits from mindfulness in all aspects of our lives which appear to affect people of any age in an extremely positive way.   These include in relationships, performance at school or at work, in sports performance, our physical and mental well-being and positively affect levels of empathy and compassion towards others. Being mindful is something which is actually quite easy to do but in today’s busy world it is easy forgotten and very few people do this naturally. Through practice and patience anyone can learn and benefit from this technique.   Techniques
  • Relaxation - Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.
  • Body sensations - Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
  • Sensory - Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches.
  • Emotions - Allow emotions to be present without judgment.
  • Cope with cravings - such as chocolate and allow them to pass. .
  • Pay attention - Notice external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience. The challenge is not to latch onto a particular idea, emotion, or sensation, or to get caught in thinking about the past or the future. Instead you watch what comes and goes in your mind, and discover which mental habits produce a feeling of well-being or suffering. Learning to take notice and be more aware of the present or being ‘mindful’ can have a great effect on your personal health and wellbeing.
  Make it happen Some suggestions to increase mindfulness and taking notice:
  • Resolve to walk more often and notice your surroundings paying particular attention to anything you notice which is new e.g. a house you never noticed, a particularly beautiful tree or plant, the sounds, birdsong etc
  • Pay attention to the food you eat and how the foods you eat make you feel
  • Try something, new anything that you are interested in
  • Join a club
  • Join a meditation class
  • Look for the good in those around you
  • Help out a friend in need
  • Do something kind things for others
  • Begin to say “Thank you” more often
  Finally, take time to notice things around you:
  • Say thank you to a colleague who has pulled out all the stops to help you
  • Say thank you to the next person who treats you kindly
  • Spend time with a loved and notice all the special things about them

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