The Best Way to Cope with Worry is to Let It BePosted: April 3, 2020 in Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
Are you plagued by anxiety? If worry keeps you awake at night, or steals your peace of mind in the day, there’s a simple solution, but it takes practice to get right.
Why you need to ditch anxiety
A little anxiety won’t hurt. After all, sometimes stressing about concerns gives you the impetus to make positive changes in life. At other times, though, anxiety just leaves you unhappy.
The results of regular stress are startling. Too much worry can give you insomnia, depression, and weaken your immunity. One of the most useful ways to decrease it involves acceptance.
Why acceptance helps to reduce anxiety
When you stop fighting your anxiety, you are likely to experience relief. Pushing against anything you dislike strengthens it, but letting it be does the opposite. You’ll still experience anxiety occasionally if you no longer battle with it. However, it won’t be powerful anymore.
How to accept anxiety
Your instinct is to do your best to get rid of whatever bothers you, which can be a good thing. Sometimes, you can kill stress by dealing with its cause. Often, though, you can’t manage problems. They hang around making you blue. Unless, of course, you learn how to take your mind off them.
The first step to dampening stress-based self-talk is to recognize it is there, but resist the urge to send it packing. Acknowledge unwanted thoughts when they come rather than try to do anything with them.
Think of them as storm clouds in the sky and yourself as a strong rock. No matter how bad the weather is, you won’t get hurt will you? No storm can damage you, and it can’t last forever either.
At some point anxious thoughts will disappear because something else will grab your attention. Indeed, you need not wait for that to happen. Change your focus intentionally.
Now and then it’s best to find a sympathetic friend to listen to your woes, especially if you need advice. The rest of the time there’s nothing to be gained from putting up with your worries, so place your attention elsewhere.
Distraction is different from repression
You might wonder whether changing your focus is advisable if you think doing so will result in repressing difficult emotions. However, distraction, after recognizing your concerns won’t cause you to squash painful feelings deep into your psyche.
For a start, you will note them before moving your attention. Also, shifting your focus will stop worries growing. When you place your attention on chores, work, or entertainment, the subjects that burden you will fade from your awareness rather than expand.
Alternatively, use mindfulness and meditation
Another way to manage anxiety is to accept it and place mindful attention on it. To do so, breathe deeply and notice where the worry seems to be in your mind. Is it near the front of your mind? The back? The sides?
Consider if it’s accompanied by a physical sensation. If so, where is it experienced in your body? Is it a dull ache? A sharp pain? Discomfort?
Meditate on how you experience your anxiety and it won’t be so hard to handle. You’ll stop the flow of negative self-talk as you place mindful awareness on your concerns.
When anxiety strikes, don’t push it away. Rather, note it’s there and shift your attention. Or, focus on your experience and problems will cease to overwhelm you.