Your question: How to accept my anxiety?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, a psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. Anxiety is an unpleasant experience and at the same time, it is an inevitable part of life. The problem is when anxiety becomes constant in your life and prevents you from doing daily activities or makes you feel emotionally down very often.

But in itself, anxiety is adaptive and normal. It is important to learn to recognize it and make “friends” with it because it helps you to better understand your own body and how to cope with it. Therefore, the first step is self-awareness of your anxiety. This involves not only recognizing that you have anxiety, but all the circumstances surrounding your anxiety. This will lead you to eventually accept and manage it.

How to know your anxiety?

A valuable strategy to work on anxiety is to keep a self-record of emotions. It is known as a “panic diary”(2) but has many other names. Basically, it consists of writing down in a notebook the situations that make you anxious, detailing what physical and emotional sensations the specific situation caused you.

Everything that goes through your body and mind is important to record in this journal, to understand what are the daily events that cause you anxiety and then work on those events to decrease the symptoms.

How to work on your anxiety?

There are strategies you can implement to make your anxiety symptoms lessen and not prevent you from having a fulfilling life.

A valuable strategy is a relaxation and breathing technique called Guided Imagery (3). In this exercise, in addition to inhaling and exhaling slowly, you will close your eyes, and visualize a scenario that generates calm and happiness, and distracts you from the negative thoughts that come with anxiety. It can be a beach, a mountainous landscape or even a pleasant memory.

You will apply this when you start to feel the anxiety episode and the associated urge to cry. This technique takes time and training, so don’t worry if you initially feel that it doesn’t work for you. You need to be patient and try to vary the relaxing mental scenarios so that you don’t get “bored” and loses its effect. A recommendation would be to look at pictures of landscapes until you find one that you like. You could even print it and watch it until you draw it in your mind when you close your eyes.

Outdoor activities such as sports or yoga will serve not only to train the body, but also your mind. Exercise allows you to release hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for happiness in your body, plus you can create a new space to socialize and distract yourself from the pressures of everyday life.

How to accept your anxiety?

Finally, it is important to understand that anxiety will never completely leave your life. Therefore, you must make friends with your anxiety, know everything about it, manage it perfectly so that you know that its presence means something at some point in your life. By using the diary, you can learn to recognize what your anxious thoughts are and what they are related to.

For example, they may be linked to work pressure or a partner who only causes you discomfort. By knowing these overwhelming thoughts you know where to act, accept the anxious feelings and direct your energy towards immediate action, whether it is releasing burdens at work or ending a toxic relationship.

In my experience…

Accepting anxiety allows you to feel more comfortable in your own skin, increases your self-esteem and teaches you that there are things in life that you cannot control. The only thing you can control is your response to those things.

I hope that with these suggestions you can improve. I recognize and applaud you for seeking professional counseling, because it shows that you want to feel better and you are on the right path to change the things that make you feel bad. I believe that you have the capacity to improve, although sometimes your mind makes you believe that there’s no solution. It was a pleasure to write to you.

Sincerely, Cesar Guedez

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