Yes, focusing on the causes of your anxiety can make the anxiety worst initially. So naturally, anxious people avoid situations which are anxiety provoking. They don’t want to feel anxious, and when they avoid, the anxiety goes away.
However, this is maladaptive coping, as the avoidant behavior actually causes an increase in the anxiety in the long run. When you encounter a fearful situation, like giving a speech in front of an audience, this can provoke fear and anxiety. So the natural thing to do is to avoid talking in front of an audience, so that you don’t have anxiety.
But when you avoid your fearful situation, you never get to find out for yourself that giving a speech in front of people is not that bad, and you never get to be comfortable in front of people, and this comfort only comes about with exposure and practice. When you avoid fearful situations like giving a speech in front of people, you hold on to the belief that people will make fun of you and be too critical of you. Because of these fears that are never tested due to avoidance, you maintain your anxiety, and become anxious everything you are confronted with the fearful situation, and also become anxious when you just think about the fearful situation. Soon, you avoid everything and make even develop depression from the isolation.
So in order to eradicate anxiety, you do have to expose yourself gradually to your fearful situation. Only with exposure can you then decrease your anxiety over the long term, as you get to find out that talking in front of people is not that bad, and you make even get compliments and positive feedback about your speech. Soon, with repeated exposure and practice, you may even come to enjoy giving speeches to people. But it takes repeated exposure to the fearful situation to make your anxiety go away over the long run. However, over the short run, your anxiety levels may increase when you are exposing yourself to the fearful situation. Facing your fears is literally the solution, and not just a cliché.
So when you are facing your fears to deal with your anxiety, you should anticipate an increase in your anxiety levels initially. You should do several different things before the exposure work, to decrease your overall anxiety level. There are several different ways to decrease your overall anxiety level, like exercise, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and conscious breathing, just to name a few.