30 Day Anxiety Challenge, Day 28: Learn Acceptance
Today is Day 28 of the 30 Day Anxiety Challenge! We only have 3 days left! You can do this!
Don’t forget to mark off your success from Day 27 on your Anxiety Challenge Tracker.
Now, let’s get started with Day 28 of learning how to manage our anxiety and panic!
DAY 27 CHALLENGE: Learn Acceptance
How It Helps Anxiety:
Accepting that you are someone who sometimes has anxiety can go a long way into actually helping anxiety. Anxiety and panic are interesting, petty beasts. The more you deny and ignore them, the more they try to remind you that they exist in your life – and often, the stronger they come on. Put quite simply, the more that you fight anxiety the worse it is.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that uses mindfulness, thought checking and personal values to help manage anxiety and panic.
The 6 core principals of ACT are:
- Cognitive defusion – Learn methods to reduce the tendency to reify thoughts, images, emotions, & memories.
- Acceptance – Allow unwanted private experiences (thoughts, feelings and urges) to come and go without struggling with them.
- Contact with the present moment– Awareness of the here and now, experienced with openness, interest, and receptiveness.
- The observing self– Accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is unchanging.
- Values – Discovering what is most important to oneself.
- Committed action – Setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly.
To diffuse anxious thoughts, you may simply say to yourself “That is an interesting thought” or “I am having the thought (fill in the blank)”. This defusion helps you to recognize what anxious thoughts are – they’re just thoughts. In a state of anxiety, we label them as negative or as “anxiety thoughts” which only exasperates the anxiety. By simply labeling our anxious thoughts as “just a thought”, we help to distance ourselves from that thought and release the attachment to it that gives it so much power over us.
In accepting that you sometimes have anxiety and in choosing to be present, you are no longer feeding energy to your anxiety. This alleviates a large chunk of the energy that would go into fighting it, which only ends up making it more intense. Don’t fight the thoughts or the anxiety, simply let it exist as what it is.
In staying in the present moment, you are not allowing your previous attachments to anxiety to affect anxious feelings you may have today. You are not letting those anxious thoughts bring you to past events or worry you about potential future events. You are keeping focused on the present moment.
The Observing Self is knowing that you are not just thoughts and feelings but you are a whole, human being. By putting things into perspective, you are learning that you are simply the stage on which thoughts and feelings play out, you are not those thoughts and feelings. Through the Observing Self, you are putting “you” into the context of what is really happening.
Values are not actionable goals but life truths for us as individuals. “Hard work reaps rewards” is a value, not a goal. A goal may be to work hard so that you may reap those rewards. When you have clearly defined values, you are more likely to make decisions that reflect those values, even in the turbulent times in your life.
A committed action is done based on the values we’ve defined for ourselves. From our values we can determine what our clearly defined goals are. Once we have clearly defined goals, we are able to accept the thoughts we have as simply thoughts in the present moment, and then use our values to take committed actions towards our goals.
As you practice this daily, you are conditioning yourself to recognize thoughts as simply thoughts. This will help you to not inadvertently bring on an anxiety or panic attack because you had previously labeled those same thoughts as “anxiety triggering”. Now, you’ll see them as simply thoughts that move in and out of your head. You then turn your focus to the present moment and not replaying the past in your head or worrying about the future. Then you remind yourself of your values and take an action to work towards your goals.
How To Meet Todays Goal:
Begin familiarizing yourself with the principles of ACT. If you are able to practice them now – when you aren’t in a state of anxiousness or panic – it will be much easier to implement them when you are anxious.
For today’s challenge, in a notebook or journal, reflect on the 6 principals of ACT. Write down a few of your values and specific goals that reflect those values. How can you reach those specific goals?
Throughout the day, notice any thoughts at all and label them as simply, “thoughts”.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an extremely effective way to help manage anxiety and panic. By recognizing thoughts for what they are, staying in the present moment and immediately moving our actions towards a specific goal, we are not giving energy to anxiety and working towards a better life for ourselves.
Join us in the private Facebook group for support of others doing the 30 Day Anxiety Challenge.
Disclaimer: KyleMcMahon.me / Kyle2U.com does not endorse or provide any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition and cannot be substituted for the advice of physicians, licensed professionals, or therapists who are familiar with your specific situation. Consult a licensed medical professional or call 911 if you are in need of immediate assistance.