Disclosure: this page contains affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them.
If you’re one of the many who live with anxiety, then you’re likely well aware of how quickly it can snowball into taking over a person’s life.
Anxiety can make it incredibly difficult to manage and complete daily tasks, including working. Symptoms can range from intense feelings of dread to a racing heartbeat, nausea, and shaking among others.
Sometimes, people start therapy at the height of their anxiety, thinking it will cure them and that the therapist can stop the anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. There isn’t a magical cure for anxiety. Instead, the solution is to change your relationship with your anxiety, restructure negative thought patterns, and allow yourself compassion to exist and feel without justification.
The tips and techniques I’m sharing today will help you develop a more vital, more in-depth understanding of what anxiety is, why you have it, what you can do to cope, and how to accept the challenges it throws your way.
I will help you take control of the narrative and understand how your anxiety is trying to protect you rather than hinder you.
When you increase your understanding of your anxiety, you’ll become mentally and emotionally more intelligent and mature and, therefore, better able to deal with triggers and cope more healthily.
I’m sharing tips for accepting your anxiety in the present moment, how to accept it and cope in the short term, and what things you can implement to cope better and overcome even the most challenging anxious battles.
Regardless of your severity of anxiety, you’ll find helpful and tangible tips in this article.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you accept your anxiety and find healthy ways to cope with it. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
How to accept your anxiety in the present moment.
Much of living a full and happy life with anxiety comprises developing a toolbox you can reach for when you recognize your anxiety setting in. But, it takes time to learn and strengthen the skills to be able to do that. So, while creating a sustaining toolbox for the long term is most important, you can also have one for the immediate moment.
1. Change the conversation.
When you feel your anxiety set in, counteract it with a positive conversation with yourself.
This can be helpful, especially when your anxiety is set around doubt. When you doubt yourself, work to change the narrative. “I’m not good enough” becomes “I can do this.” “Everyone is staring at me; I don’t belong here” becomes “I have something valuable to offer, and I belong here.”
Anxiety is essentially trying to protect you from whatever triggered the response. When it sets in, firmly acknowledge it and tell it I’m not in danger and I can handle this.
After you use this technique a couple of times, you might notice that your anxiety decreases and your symptoms become less intense. This results from retraining the inner narrative and re-learning what the response should be instead. Make sure you’re patient with yourself, though. Remember, it’s a journey, not a destination.
2. Use a mantra.
Living with anxiety comes with many challenges. These challenges can range from finding and keeping employment, finding and keeping safe and affordable housing, and maintaining healthy relationships. These three factors and several others are considerable variables in taking care of your mental health and stabilizing your anxiety.
When you’re in the moment, you feel your heart thumping, your thoughts racing, sweat starts to pile up in your hairline, and you’re worried that everyone can see it. Anxiety floods through your entire body, your head aches, you have this weird back pain that you can’t explain, and you don’t remember the last time you had an entire night’s sleep.
Find a mantra to use in these moments of high anxiety—something that brings you peace and comfort—and then repeat it to yourself. Personally, I tell myself, “I only have to survive it.” It reminds me that I can let go of the need to be perfect and allow myself the compassion and grace to feel my feelings and simply exist through them.
Mantra’s for anxiety:
- I choose to be calm.
- I am not in danger.
- My anxiety isn’t telling the truth.
3. Let it out creatively.
Anxiety-ridden moments are complex. They’re difficult to explain and often bring painful and emotionally challenging symptoms. Anxiety often sweeps you right off your feet, leaving you to put the pieces back together afterward. When you’re in a moment like this, reach for a pen and paper, markers, or paint.
Reach for something creative and let your anxiety exist outside of your mind. If you’re a writer, try exploring your anxieties through some creative writing exercises. If you’re feeling particularly agitated, consider some paint and allow the gentleness of colors mixing to distract your mind and bring you back into the present moment. If you’re crafty, hit your crafting room and start cutting and gluing.
Simply put, the idea is to let it out. Give your anxieties a space to exist other than in your mind. Then, using art and other creative mediums, you can ease your anxiety, decrease the frequency of your symptoms, and experience more relaxation.
TIP: Don’t skip over this tip if you’re not a creative person. It can be exceptionally therapeutic and relaxing to explore your mental being through art, regardless of your skill level. And, you never know, you could find your new passion or hobby!
4. Invest in sticky notes.
Hear me out! Use sticky notes to write out affirmations and stick them in places you’re prone to look. This way, you’ll be reminded of your strength, character, and intense awesomeness all throughout your day. Consider placing them on your bathroom mirror, bookshelf, laptop, kitchen cupboards, etc.
Flood your environment with positive, uplifting, motivational vibes, and see how quickly you can change the tune in your head. When you disrupt the pattern, you allow yourself to learn new behaviors; this is where the magic happens! First, create a positive and affirming environment in which you feel good. Then, turn to your affirmations in anxious moments and keep them displayed where they are easily accessible.
The most significant factor when intense anxiety hits is to keep control of the breath. This is crucial to coping with panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and anxiety disorders. Upon recognizing that your anxiety is setting in, turn to breathing exercises to help. Over time, these breathing exercises will help you become calmer and at peace.
Take a deep breath in, and exhale. You can put your hands gently on your belly to bring awareness to the movement in your body and say to yourself, “Yes, I am feeling anxious, but I can breathe through this moment.” During your breathing, remind yourself that your anxiety isn’t an enemy but rather something trying to keep you safe. Remind yourself that you are in control.
Breathing exercises to try:
- Figure 8 breathing – While breathing slowly in and out, use your index finger to trace a figure eight on the palm of the opposite hand. Doing the two things at once will divert the anxiety and bring your focus more onto the tracing and the deep inhale and exhale.
- Exhale longer – While deep breathing, allow your body to exhale slightly longer than the inhale. This naturally slows the heart rate and therefore eases anxiety symptoms.
6. Label the trigger.
When you label the trigger, it’s as if you’re giving a name to the bad guy. This allows you to clearly be aware of what is causing the emotional reaction in your body. It also brings awareness to the now, the present moment, rather than the avalanche of thoughts stuck in your mind.
Remember that triggers are your body’s way of trying to keep you safe. Simply acknowledge it, reframe the language, and allow the feelings to exist.
- “I’m not in danger. That sound was fireworks.”
- “I am needed. My family loves me. Toxic people don’t belong in my life.”
Rather than living with your anxiety in silence, fighting the symptoms on your own, and traveling down your mental health journey alone, communicate it to your loved ones and support people.
It helps to bring awareness to anxiety itself and how many people are struggling with it, and your loved ones can assist and support you by reminding you of your strength, mental power, and ability to cope.
What this might look like in the moment of anxiety is vocalizing what is going on in your mind. For example, “My anxiety was triggered by the sound of the gun in the movie. Can you help me do a few breathing exercises?” Communicate what you need to your support people.
8. Practice gratitude.
You might be tired of this tip because it does seem like a bit of a trendy one, but seriously, take a moment for gratitude. In your most anxiety-bent moments, take a moment to be grateful for something.
One of the best parts about practicing gratitude is not only the immediate effects but also its long-term effects. Practicing gratitude can help you accept your anxiety by making yourself focus on the good. It’s also helpful to put life’s challenges into perspective.
Things to do in the short-term to accept your anxiety.
Now that we know how to work through intense anxious moments, accept that you’re currently dealing with anxiety. Then you can come to accept your anxiety further and better your mental wellbeing.
1. Start therapy.
Therapy can be a life-changing experience. It can be a game changer if you’re living with anxiety.
You, of course, have to be an active participant in your own therapy journey, find and connect with the right therapist, and put into practice the tools you learn, but, over time, therapy is transformational.
With the help of a trained therapist, you will learn and develop new skills and techniques, have the opportunity to apply them in real life, and then connect back with your therapist to reevaluate.
In addition, therapists can assist patients with learning healthy ways to cope and retrain their behavior patterns.
There are a few specific types of therapy you will want to explore to help you manage your anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very common type of psychotherapy. Many people benefit from its teachings, and it’s incredibly effective for anxiety and anxiety disorders.
CBT is a very collaborative and highly structured therapy. It’s less wandering through various thoughts and feelings and more geared toward a specific challenge.
This form of therapy aims to stop the negative cycles and teach relaxation, stress, and assertiveness techniques. Of course, you must be an active participant to see the true benefits of CBT.
Acceptance and commitment therapy.
More commonly pronounced as ACT, acceptance and commitment therapy is another form of effective and helpful psychotherapy. It embraces and uses acceptance and various mindfulness techniques to open up and accept unpleasant feelings. As a result, patients learn to notice the unpleasant feelings and not overreact.
ACT is a highly effective tool in accepting your anxiety and can greatly improve your quality of life if you struggle to accept the hand you were dealt.
Traditional talk therapy.
It’s amazing how beneficial having someone to talk to can be. Expressing your feelings and giving a voice to everything in your head with a therapist can help you sort out many complex emotions and obstacles.
In addition to helping with accepting your anxiety, traditional therapy can also help you feel happier, improve stress, and strengthen resilience.
It is a good idea to seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com in order to help you comes to terms with your anxiety and learn how to deal with it.
2. Start a journaling practice.
Journaling is a helpful tool in accepting anxiety. You can write about anything in your journal without judgment, making it a safe environment. You can give a home to your doubts, worries, and insecurities. Journaling is an impactful tool for good overall health, but it can really assist with accepting and understanding your anxiety.
A person can identify patterns through regular journaling and become more aware of what triggers them. In addition, journaling is a place where you can embrace gratitude. Begin your day with a list of three things you’re grateful for. Then, journal throughout the day to reflect on how you’re feeling.
Journaling is a great way to develop a stronger inner awareness and identify triggers, both of which are significant in accepting and coping with anxiety.
3. Embrace self-care.
Taking care of yourself needs to be your priority, especially when you’re dealing with anxiety. Create positive, healthy habits that will contribute to your overall wellbeing. These can include yoga, healthy nutrition, gentle movement, meditation, therapy, art, swimming, and so on. Self-care is necessary and important.
How to accept your anxiety—for the long-term.
You might feel overwhelmed, confused, and perhaps even slightly discouraged upon receiving your anxiety diagnosis. However, there are a couple of factors to remember at this moment.
1. Anxiety isn’t your flaw.
Living with anxiety, though massively difficult, is not a detriment to you. On the contrary, a special part of you requires more TLC (tender, love, care) that aims to keep you safe and secure.
It’s important to remember that having an anxiety disorder is not a character flaw. In fact, your anxiety could be attributed to improved performance in various areas of life.
For example, if you have a big work presentation coming up and your anxiety is high, you would then practice it to make sure that you nail it. Or, if you’re anxious about walking alone, you’ll be more alert and aware, contributing to your overall safety.
To start accepting your anxiety, you need to reframe how you see it and ensure that you’re not labeling it as a flaw.
2. Seek support.
Create a support circle. This might be through attending and participating in various support groups, therapy programs, or with friends and loved ones. Support is integral. A good support person can make a large difference in how anxiety can affect you. Look for people who are open to learning and genuinely care about you.
3. Anxiety is real.
Don’t be caught up in the thought that anxiety isn’t real or that it’s not an actual mental health condition.
One way to change this thought is by learning about it. Learn about your diagnosis. Knowledge is power. To accept your anxiety, you need to understand it. Read about it, follow content creators that share their experiences, talk to your doctor, and listen to podcasts.
Find real, authentic versions of how anxiety is wrapped up in people’s lives. Understanding this mental illness can help you accept that it’s real and you’re struggling with it. It can be a key factor in increasing your self-compassion. Once you see it in real life, it can be easier to accept that you also have it.
4. Anxiety is treatable.
When you hear your diagnosis, it might feel like an answer to your questions. For example, “Why is my stomach always hurting? Why do I always have a headache? Why do I feel like this?” While hearing the diagnosis might be comforting, it can also be overwhelming.
Keep in mind that anxiety is treatable. Through therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, your medical care provider can help you live a full and happy life in conjunction with anxiety. To accept your anxiety, you must understand that it will be okay. Anxiety is treatable, and several things are in your control. (Call your doctor, find a therapist, start a gratitude practice, identify triggers, etc.)
The way that anxiety is treated is individualized. For some, it’s less severe and responds to lifestyle and environmental changes. Others require prescription medication and psychotherapy, or one without the other.
So, when you hear that what you’re experiencing is anxiety, don’t fret, because it’s treatable. You can take steps to improve how you function with it.
5. Incorporate mindfulness into your life.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing awareness to the present moment and being fully there. It takes practice and effort. However, the effects of it are huge! Mindfulness helps to reduce stress and increase self-awareness. It can also improve anxiety symptoms and help change your relationship with yourself. Mindfulness involves being in the moment, which counteracts most anxiety very well.
Not sure how to bring mindfulness into your life? Begin tomorrow with a guided morning meditation. You’ll be beginning the day with gratitude, mindfulness, and most importantly, awareness. After you complete this a few times, it will become more routine. However, you will feel the calm benefits right after successfully meditating.
6. Challenge unhelpful thoughts.
Even though you have anxiety and accept it, you don’t have to allow the thoughts to run rampant and disrupt your vibe. Make it a habit to challenge any unhelpful or negative thought that enters your mind. For example, “I’m not good enough” becomes “Yes, I deserve to be here too.”
Put doubt in the concrete anxious thoughts and allow yourself permission to believe the opposite. Humans are incredibly habitual creatures, and thinking negative things and self-sabotaging can become a person’s first instinct. When you begin to challenge those thoughts, you’re giving yourself permission to embrace other thoughts, such as more positive and kind ones about yourself.
7. Move around.
Movement is important. Physical health is important, but accepting and improving your relationship with anxiety is critical. So, incorporate some form of joyful movement into your daily routine. The difference it can make in terms of your life is impressive.
In terms of how it will affect anxiety, imagine a kettle that is whistling with boiling water. It’s ready to make tea. When you open the lid, it’s like a relief for the kettle. That’s how movement is with anxiety. It’s a release of energy and a natural mood booster.
8. Embrace the discomfort.
Growth happens when change occurs. You have to change to grow. Work on shifting your mindset from hating change to embracing it. Learn to be comfortable with the things that make you uncomfortable because those things typically foster growth and development.
I think society has inherently taught us to fear change. Much of anxiety is rooted in change, and by becoming more comfortable with change, you take away anxiety’s power to derail your day (or, for some of us, our lives.)
9. Don’t wait for your anxiety to go away.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for your anxiety to leave before you live your life. Anxiety is a part of life during this season for you, and that’s okay. Commit to learning skills, developing your toolbox, and being an active part of your life.
Don’t wait for anxiety to leave before you do what you want. Make a point of doing those things despite your anxiety. Set yourself small goals to work toward to ensure you’re still living your life. Make sure that you set goals that are actually achievable, otherwise, it might feel like you’re on a never-ending treadmill while you’re trying to accomplish them!
Remind yourself as often as needed that you’ve survived everything up until now and will continue to persevere. Challenging moments are only that. Moments. And while sixty seconds of anxiety could pass for feeling like at least an hour, it’s still just sixty seconds. Gently remind yourself of this fact every time you encounter your anxiety being an obstacle. You’ve survived every difficult instant up until this moment. Remind yourself of this as often as you need.
11. Show yourself some compassion.
The fact is, anxiety is a real mental health issue. There are several different anxiety disorders, and their subsequent symptoms can be crippling, painful, and debilitating. It’s hard to live with anxiety, so remember to show yourself compassion.
Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend in the exact same situation. Chances are, you wouldn’t be telling your best friend that it’s all in their head or that it’s not real. Instead, you’d be kind, compassionate, and caring. Show yourself that same level of kindness.
12. Don’t stop learning.
Always be learning and implementing. Read a new anxiety tip in your latest magazine. Try it. (Try a technique more than once before deciding it didn’t bring relief. Some techniques take time to master!) Learn about mental health, anxiety, your specific anxiety disorder, and everything else. The more you learn, the more you master your own anxiety.
Spread awareness about anxiety, about living with it, and the great challenges that it presents. Advocate for yourself, your care, and your rights. Having anxiety isn’t a flaw or a negative character trait. Instead, becoming an advocate can increase your confidence, self-awareness, and your support circle.
So, are you ready to accept your anxiety?
You know what it is, what it feels like, and even how much it affects your life, but are you ready to accept your anxiety, acknowledge it, and understand its place in your life?
It’s important to remember that your anxiety today isn’t necessarily your anxiety tomorrow. You can develop strong tools and coping mechanisms to manage and change the habitual response to various triggers. You can find a therapist you “click” with and explore various therapy forms.
These things are entirely in your control. The anxious moment you pick up your phone to make the call for your first therapy appointment is the moment you’re ready to accept that you’re living with anxiety.
Or, the moment you feel like your heart is beating so hard, it might break through your chest, even though you’re fully aware that’s not even possible. How about the moment you realize you haven’t left your house in a month because your social anxiety has put a lock on the front door? Or the endless body pains that just pop up whenever and seem to have no explanation.
Accepting that you have anxiety means accepting all the challenges that come with it. You no longer fight it, but rather allow it space to exist, acknowledge your present feelings, and develop anxiety-relief tools.
Accepting your anxiety puts you back in the driver’s seat. It’s like saying we’re just taking a different path but still going the same way. You’re still living life, functioning, flourishing, and thriving, but you’re doing it with your anxiety rather than against it.
The basics for accepting anxiety.
Though this article is packed with tips for living and accepting life with anxiety, there are a few tangible basics that can be transformative and are worth leaving you with today.
Anxiety is not a death sentence. It’s a treatable mental health condition. Sufferers can develop tools, tricks, tips, and techniques to help themselves. You are not helpless. Work to change the conversation you have with yourself, build your confidence, and never stop learning. You can live an absolutely beautiful life even though it might be intertwined with the complexities of anxiety, and it’s absolutely worth putting in the effort.
Still not sure how to come to terms with your anxiety or anxiety disorder? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
Speak to a therapist about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to understand your anxiety, what it means, how it can be treated, and how you can enjoy life in spite of it.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
You may also like:
- 31 No Nonsense Things You Can Do To Ease Your Crippling Anxiety
- The Truth About How Long Anxiety Disorders Last
- How To Stop Mild Anticipatory Anxiety Before It Overwhelms You