Breaking the cycle of anxiety: Acceptance (Part 1)
Accepting anxiety may seem a little strange to some of you. You may be thinking something like:
I hate having these thoughts and feelings – I don’t want to accept them, I want to get rid of them!
But ask yourself: how would you respond to a close friend that was struggling with anxiety? Would you show them anger, or become frustrated with them? Would you tell them that they shouldn’t be thinking or feeling this way?
I’m going to hazard a guess and say that the majority of you would not…
…precisely because you know what it is like to suffer from anxiety. And yet this is how many of us react towards ourselves and our own anxiety.
If we were to be approached by a close friend struggling with their own anxiety, we would be less likely to react hastily and more likely to respond compassionately.
We wouldn’t deny their anxiety; we would accept its existence. We wouldn’t tell them that they shouldn’t be feeling this way, we would accept their reality.
This is the line of compassionate response that you need to give yourself. This is the first chain in the cycle that needs to be broken.
I have found this close friend exercise incredibly powerful, both on a personal level and in my work as a psychotherapist.
If you’re looking to break the cycle of anxiety, I would encourage you to practice this as much as possible – responding compassionately towards yourself, like you would towards a close friend. Then check back in to my blog next week for some more useful practices.
I will be updating this blog every week with self-help for anxiety practices, so that you can begin breaking this cycle. Or you can head over here where I talk about some ways that you can continue this journey now.
Also, I’d be very happy to hear of any thoughts or questions you may have, so feel free to leave your comments below!