The Importance of Accepting AnxietyFeb 28, 2023
As you know, anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. We also know that when anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with our daily lives, it can be challenging to cope. Most people try to fight anxiety, but this approach can actually make it worse. It is high time we discuss the importance of accepting anxiety and share some tips on how to do so.
Why Fighting Anxiety Can Cause More Anxiety
When we fight against anxiety, we are essentially telling our minds that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. This can create a cycle of anxiety, as our minds become hyper-focused on the issue, causing even more anxiety. Basically we create anxiety about anxiety.
What’s more, fighting anxiety can lead to avoidance behaviours, which can actually reinforce the anxiety.
For example, if you have social anxiety, avoiding social situations may provide temporary relief from the anxiety. However, this behaviour reinforces the idea that social situations are dangerous, making it even more challenging to face them in the future.
Most people struggling with anxiety will avoid something because of their anxiety. Perhaps it is going to busy supermarkets, driving long distances, travelling in airplanes or even going to work.
The main issue is that they fear becoming anxious while doing these tasks or attending these places. In short, they are anxious about becoming anxious so they avoid the situation altogether. All this does is create more anxiety as they confirm to themselves (and the anxiety) that they are anxious and can’t cope.
So what can we do about this?
Using Mindfulness of Emotions as a Coping Strategy
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for managing anxiety. When we practise mindfulness, we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgement, allowing us to lean into the anxiety rather than fighting against it. It is one of the biggest lessons inside the E.A.S.E. Method.
But here’s what you can get started with… Simply observe your anxiety without trying to change it. This can be challenging at first, as our natural instinct is to fight against anxiety. However, by acknowledging and accepting the anxiety, we can start to understand why we are feeling this way and take steps to address the root cause of the anxiety.
Just notice what you feel in your body and what your thoughts are doing. Try not get caught up in more anxious thoughts about what you are experiencing. Simply allow yourself to be with the experience.
(If you are having trouble with this then it is really important to take a step back and feel more empowered and confident about anxiety… You can do this by signing up for the E.A.S.E. Method program which will give you all the steps necessary)
How Does Accepting Anxiety Help Us Be Aware of Issues in Our Lives?
Anxiety serves a purpose, like all emotional responses do. And its purpose is to get you to pay attention. So, when we accept our anxiety, we become more aware of the issues in our lives that may be causing the anxiety. Which means we can actually take action toward improving our lives and situations.
For example, if you are experiencing anxiety about your job, then leaning into anxiety will help you see this. It means you are able to now identify the specific issues that are causing the work anxiety, such as a heavy workload or a difficult boss. Only once you have identified these can you take steps to address them. But if you aren’t prepared to feel and listen to the anxiety, you won’t be aware of the issues around you needing attention.
Very often anxiety pops up around issues that we are trying to ignore or suppress. Maybe we dont believe we can do anything about them and feel powerless. Or perhaps some negative core beliefs are getting in the way. Either way, we push away the very issues that need our attention because they are causing us harm or not serving us. When we listen to anxiety, we begin to pay attention.
In this way, anxiety actually helps us develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-compassion. By accepting our anxiety, we also learn to be kind to ourselves and to recognize that it's okay to experience difficult emotions. Leaning into your emotional world means being brave enough to feel vulnerable and meet the needs your emotions are alerting you to.
At the core of it, accepting anxiety is an essential part of managing anxiety. When we fight against anxiety, we can create a cycle of anxiety about anxiety, making it even more challenging to cope. By practising mindfulness of emotions,, we can learn to lean into the anxiety and become more aware of the issues in our lives that may be causing the anxiety. This increased awareness can help us take steps to address these issues and lead a more fulfilling life.