The Art of Empowered Acceptance: Changing Your Response to Anxiety

Nov 15, 2023

Today, we're going to delve into an important topic that can significantly impact your journey towards conquering anxiety – changing your response type. We've explored how anxiety isn't a "disorder" or an insurmountable obstacle but rather an ordinary emotional response that we can reshape. Let's take a closer look at the response types – anxious fixation, nervous control, shameful submission, and empowered acceptance – and what each one needs to move towards that empowering acceptance space.


Anxious Fixation:

Anxious Fixation is a common response style for individuals dealing with anxiety, particularly when they experience intense symptoms. It's characterized by a constant need to check in on one's anxiety, almost like an obsession. If you resonate with this response type, you're not alone. Many people find themselves trapped in this cycle.

Picture it this way: Imagine there's a noisy construction zone outside your window. The noise is disruptive and demands your attention. In the same way, anxiety can feel like an intrusive presence, always vying for your focus. However, the key to overcoming Anxious Fixation lies in allowing anxiety to exist without overanalyzing it.

Just as you wouldn't spend all day staring out the window at the construction, don't let your attention be consumed by anxiety. Instead, focus on your own life and activities. Trust that anxiety, like the construction noise, will naturally subside on its own. You don't need to control it or fixate on it. By redirecting your attention to the things that truly matter to you, you can regain a sense of control over your life.

Nervous Control:

Nervous Control is another common response style among individuals grappling with anxiety. It involves a relentless pursuit of strategies and techniques to manage anxiety. While your determination to find solutions is commendable, it can paradoxically become counterproductive. Your nervous system can become overworked from the constant effort to keep anxiety at bay.

In this response style, the mantra to adopt is, "It is what it is, I'm just going to let it be." Embrace the idea that you can't control everything, especially anxiety. It's like trying to control the weather; you can't stop the rain by sheer willpower. Similarly, your central nervous system needs a break. It's essential to acknowledge that by constantly fighting anxiety, you may inadvertently exacerbate it.

Over time, you'll discover that less effort actually leads to more relief. By surrendering the need for total control and allowing anxiety to run its course, you can give your nervous system the rest it deserves. This shift in perspective can help you reduce the burden of trying to control every aspect of your anxiety, ultimately leading to a more peaceful and manageable experience.

Shameful Submission:

Shameful Submission is a response style characterized by negative self-talk and self-doubt. Anxiety often feeds on these self-critical thoughts, convincing you that you are weak, incapable, or even a burden to others. If you resonate with this response style, it's crucial to understand that you're not alone, and there is a way out.

Imagine that there's a relentless inner critic constantly whispering hurtful words in your ear. This inner voice reinforces feelings of shame and inadequacy. Avoidance becomes your way of coping, as you fear that exposing yourself to challenges will only confirm these negative beliefs.

However, the key to breaking free from Shameful Submission is self-compassion. Challenge those self-deprecating thoughts with kindness. Remind yourself that you have already faced numerous challenges in life and have come through them. You are stronger and more resilient than anxiety would have you believe.

Avoidance, which anxiety often encourages, only strengthens its grip on you. Instead, adopt the empowering mantra, "I'm doing okay, I am coping." Shift your inner dialogue towards self-kindness and self-acceptance. Recognize that you have the capacity to face anxiety head-on and that self-compassion is your lifeline to overcoming Shameful Submission.

These response styles offer valuable insights into how we relate to anxiety. By understanding your predominant response style and implementing these strategies, you can gradually transform your relationship with anxiety and move toward empowered acceptance. Remember, Diante, it's a journey, and you have the tools to navigate it successfully.


Empowered Acceptance:

Empowered Acceptance is the ultimate goal. Imagine confronting anxiety with confidence, knowing it won't overpower you. You continue with your daily activities, and anxiety gradually fades into the background, just like the construction noise you stop noticing when you're focused on other things. Empowered Acceptance means recognizing that anxiety is just a passing emotional response, and you have the power to control your reactions.


Remember, anxiety is only as loud as you allow it to be. By changing your response to anxiety, you can regain control of your life. Whether you resonate with Anxious Fixation, Nervous Control, or Shameful Submission, these strategies will help you on your journey toward empowered acceptance.

So, which response type resonates with you the most, and what's the first step you'll take to change your response to anxiety?