Anxiety acceptance is often thought of as a paradox.
The paradox being that acceptance of anxiety is a capitulation, it’s you giving in to the anxiety and panic and stopping the fight.
How can giving in to anxiety work?
Well the thing is that all the time that you fight anxiety and panic and all those symptoms that go along with it, the stronger the anxiety and panic become. In fighting you are taking the level of stress hormones up and attempting to use this heightened state to fight a heightened state. So you actually make it worse,
Anxiety and panic are based on adrenalin, cortisol and all those other stress response hormones and so is fighting, whether that’s physical or mental.
So what’s the answer?
Well let’s think about it for a minute. If fighting is making it worse because it invokes more stress hormones then the way to deal with it is to use calm.
Calm is the direct opposite of anxiety. When you can stay calm you can use the calm to become aware of the anxiety that’s going on.
These things sound a bit odd and they are things that are done as part of meditation and many other traditions but training yourself to stay calm or achieve a state of calm in otherwise stressful situations is a way to fight the anxiety in a way that makes it possible to win.
Imagine for a moment that you can stay calm in the situation that you are familiar with and that usually causes you to become anxious or even start to panic. Imagine staying calm and being aware of the effects of the situation on your body. You might detect twitching muscles, a tightness in the chest or a knot in your stomach. These are all symptoms that clients have reported to me. Physical symptoms from what we think of as a mental issues.
So imagine being able to stay calm and notice that there’s a knot in your stomach and that you can put your mind to it and start to breathe and free up the knot. After all the knot is your diaphragm muscle going tight so you can start to free it up by breathing from your diaphragm.
Does that all sound too simple?
The acceptance of the presence of the anxiety or panic while observing yourself calmly is something that you can learn to do. It’s not normal, in many ways as we said above it’s counter intuitive. But it can be learned. The thing to be aware of is that your ability will take a while to develop and that you must continue to practice and improve your ability to bring calm to your mind and your body.
This is something that I do with many clients. And to be honest there are some who don’t want to make any changes to their lives and they find excuses for why they haven’t bothered to practice being calm. And their anxiety isn’t getting better and it makes them anxious.
Part of the acceptance which many people fight is that there is a problem, and that they have to make changes to the way they live their life so that they can deal with that problem.
The people who accept the change make huge steps and start to live their lives again. Living with the fact that they are anxious sometimes but with the skill of bringing calm to quench the anxiety.
Their acceptance of the anxiety and the need for change allows them to move on. And they move on successfully.
If you would like to discuss how anxiety acceptance and controlling calm can help you then please contact me on 0793 464 0831. We can discus what’s happening to you and you can ask the questions that you need answers to so that you can decide whether or not therapy with me is an option or not.