Stop Avoiding Anxiety! Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Anxiety can be horrendous, so why would anyone want to stop avoiding anxiety and instead practice acceptance and commitment therapy? Avoiding anxiety can make a lot of sense. After all, anxiety can cause our thoughts to race with fear and worry, it can make our emotions spiral out of control, and it can create a whole host of awful physical symptoms from head to toe. We want to do whatever we can to reduce anxiety. Ironically, avoiding anxiety doesn’t lessen it; avoidance intensifies anxiety. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an approach that helps us stop avoiding anxiety so we can overcome it.
Stop Avoiding Anxiety and Face it With Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
The desire to avoid anxiety and its triggers is normal and natural. Anxiety is something not only unpleasant but something that makes us be on the alert for all sorts of dangers. Avoidance is part of our biological fight-or-flight response.
When we’re truly threatened, fight-or-flight is helpful. It can protect us and even save our lives. Anxiety is a rather cruel bully, and it plays tricks on our minds. Anxiety makes us feel threatened almost constantly, and so we tend to avoid our anxiety and anyone or anything that makes us anxious.
When we avoid anxiety, we limit ourselves and our lives. Avoiding anxiety negatively impacts our actions and our relationships. When we stop avoiding anxiety and face it, we can break down the power and control anxiety has over us, our lives, and our wellbeing. Using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can help us stop avoiding anxiety and find peace.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can Help You Stop Avoiding Anxiety and Take Back Your Life
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a counseling approach that can help you transcend that natural fight-or-flight response that is part of anxiety disorders. At its essence, ACT helps people accept life’s challenges and problems, big and small, understand and overcome negative thoughts and feelings, choose life directions based on your own desires and values, and take action to shape your life.
Something ACT seeks to do is to increase psychological flexibility. Ideally, with a therapist trained in ACT or with self-help books dedicated to ACT, people learn to be fully present in each and every moment. By being present, we experience and live whatever it is that life brings. In doing this, we stop avoiding anxiety and stop avoiding our lives.
An important component of ACT is acceptance. When working with ACT, people come to understand their anxiety, their anxiety triggers, and their own anxious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Once we can fully recognize what’s going on around us and within us, we can face it and accept it for what it is, often our minds playing tricks and creating fear and worry and anxiety.
With ACT comes control and power. Or rather, anxiety’s control and power is drastically reduced while our own self-control and power over our lives is greatly increased. When we live in the moment and accept ourselves and our lives, we can then decide what it really is that we want for ourselves and our lives. ACT is an approach to anxiety that goes beyond the mere reduction of anxiety and helps us define our values and take purposeful action to live a good life, an anxiety-free life.
If you would like to stop avoiding anxiety, acceptance and commitment therapy might just be something you’d like to explore. Consider the exploration your first step in facing anxiety, accepting it and life’s challenges, and taking action to living an anxiety-free life.