How to Cope with Anxiety: AWARE

Recall the last time you felt anxious, did you want to remain in the present and accept it or did you want to get rid of it as fast as you could? If you struggle with anxiety you probably run from your anxious feelings. However, it is by remaining in the present and accepting it, that will cause it to disappear. The key to overcoming anxiety is the opposite of what you instinctually want to do- accept it fully. Use this 5-step AWARE strategy to accept the anxiety until it’s gone.

1. Accept the anxiety: The definition of accepting is giving consent to receive. Agree to receive it. Welcome it. Say I’ll gladly accept this. Don’t fight it. Replace your rejection, hatred, and anger of it with acceptance. If you resist it you will prolong your discomfort. Instead flow with it as you would with a wave in the ocean.

2. Watch your anxiety: Look at it without judgment. It’s not good or bad, it just is. Don’t look at it as an unwelcome guest. Instead, be detached and be one with your observing self. Then watch the peaks and valleys of your anxiety. Look at your thoughts, feelings, and actions as if you’re a friendly but not overly concerned bystander. This will allow you to separate your basic self from the anxiety

3. Act with the anxiety: Normalize the situation. Act as if you aren’t anxious. Still keep functioning with it. You may have to slow down but keep going. Breath slowly and normally. Don’t avoid situations because if you run, you anxiety will go down but your fear of these situations will go up. If you stay both your anxiety and fear will go down.

4. Repeat the steps: Continue to (1) accept your anxiety, (2) watch it, and (3) act with it until it goes down to a comfortable level. Your anxiety will go down if you just keep repeating the steps.

5. Expect the best: What you fear rarely happens, but don’t be surprised the next time you have anxiety. Instead, surprise yourself with how you handle it. As long as you are alive, you will have some anxiety. Get rid of the magical belief that you have conquered anxiety for good. By expecting future anxiety, can you see you are putting yourself in the best place to accept it when it comes?

 

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