Here is a summary of a fascinating study about fear avoidance. Avoiding fears only makes them seem more scary.

Research shows that avoiding a particular stimulus makes it seem scarier. In one study, participants were asked to avoid contamination for 1 week by engaging in behaviours like taking multiple showers a day, carrying hand sanitizer, avoiding touching money, etc. After a week of such avoidance behaviours, participants reported an increase in their fears of contamination and an increase in their belief in the dangers of contamination. In a similar study, after a week of health-related behaviours like heart rate monitoring and checking health websites for information, the participants reported an increase in health-related anxiety and hypochondriac beliefs. Retrieved from: “Doing CBT” by David F. Tolin