When we have anxiety, or any uncomfortable emotion, we generally want to stop feeling this way. So we try to think our way out of feeling anxious, control our anxiety, or block out and avoid anxiety altogether. Unfortunately these strategies don’t work. And rather than reduce our anxiety, they tend to make us even more anxious.
When we try to out-think, control, bock, or avoid anxiety, we just give our anxiety more fuel and make it more intense. That leaves us with one alternative. We can learn to accept our anxiety. It may seem paradoxical, but as soon as we’re able to accept that we’re feeling anxious, our levels of anxiety tend to decrease.
Whenever we experience a strong, uncomfortable emotion, acceptance is our best initial response. We don’t accept our unpleasant emotions because we enjoying feeling this way. We accept them because when we struggle or fight against emotions, they fight back. And when they fight back, they grow even stronger.
But when we practice acceptance, our emotions start to lose their strength. And this is particularly true of anxiety. The more we can accept the fact that we’re feeling anxious, the less anxious we start to feel. Acceptance not only helps manage anxiety. Acceptance is also the best way to respond to the onset of a panic attack. The more we fight against a panic attack, the quicker our panic escalates. But if we can just accept that we’re starting to panic, our panic attacks will often slow down.
Once we’ve accepted the fact that we’re feeling anxious or starting to panic, we can then employ a variety of other techniques to reduce our anxiety, many of which we’ve already covered. But whenever anxiety or panic arise, the best way to respond is with acceptance. “I’m feeling anxious (or I’m feeling panicky), and that’s okay.” And then we can continue with other strategies to manage anxiety and panic.
Reduce Panic and Anxiety with Acceptance
Acceptance can seem paradoxical and is often a difficult concept to grasp. The next post is also about anxiety and acceptance, and then I’ve included a couple more posts about acceptance in order to describe in more detail what we mean by acceptance in this context. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them on the YouTube video page.