How to Use Acceptance to Stop Anxiety

anxiety curesLearning the facts about abnormal anxiety is a good way of getting your healing efforts off the ground. But chances are that you’ll need more than facts alone.

I say that because most people who read this blog are anxiety experts that stay anxious despite their impressive knowledge. All you have to do is read the comments on my most recent article to verify this.

The power of anxiety, worry, negative thinking, and hopelessness are such that no matter what you know, it’s not always enough to keep anxiety away.

What helps more, I think, is to develop an impressive knowledge base and couple that with acceptance.

Acceptance allows you to do what seems like the impossible, which is to relax your attitude toward anxiety symptoms, anxious thoughts, panic attacks, and all the rest of it.

Acceptance allows you to suspend your need to find out what happens next. It gives you the confidence to stop analyzing every aspect of your mind and body. In short, it let’s you put your guard down so you can rest.

My new eBook, The Big Idea, will show you how to do just that.

The Big Idea goes into detail about what acceptance is, how it works, and how you can use it to stop abnormal anxiety.

When I wrote my first eBook, How to Stop Anxious Thinking, I was focused on the facts.

But since then, I realized that you need to learn how to accept your abnormal anxiety just as much as you need to learn about adrenaline, the flight or flight response, or the nervous system. Acceptance is crucial.

To learn more about acceptance and my new eBook listen to my latest podcast below.

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  1. Mitchell says

    Like many commenters to this site I have listened and re-listened to Paul’s podcasts and e-book, and to Claire Weekes audiobook, and know how much emphasis is rightly put on acceptance as a key to coping with and diminishing anxiety. I agree that acceptance is the best approach, certainly quicker and more effective than resistance. At the same time, I can’t say that acceptance has ever made me feel a whole lot better. Maybe this isn’t surprising since what I’m accepting is feeling bad–when I follow Dr. Weekes’s advice and “utterly accept,” even invite anxiety to do its worst, it does its worst. Acceptance may help anxiety to run its course and run out of gas more quickly, but by the time it does I’m usually further along in my day and distracted from that particular bout anyway. The thing is that when I’m anxious I’m usually anxious about something, readily identifiable or not. When I’m accepting anxiety I’m not preventing the source of my dread from shooting its dread rays at me, so basically I’m lying there marinating in the anxiety and not fighting it but also not feeling much better. Again, I believe that acceptance is the best approach and advice, but as an aid to anxiety relief it’s not that much more helpful than simply waiting it out. Which of course is Dr. Weekes’s other commandment, “letting time pass”–equally sensible but equally impotent in immediate relief of acute anxiety.

  2. AKSHAY says

    If you are so sympathetic about anxiety sufferers, why dont you provide this book free of cost ?

  3. Jessica B says

    I just recently got anxiety two months ago and I’m having a lot of trouble with it, all I do is lay in bed and constantly think I’m dying and always think to the point where not I feel like I’m going crazy, I went and saw a doctor who gave me Xanax but I’ve heard bad things about that drug, should I take it?

  4. says

    Hi Akshay, this is an excellent question. The reason is simple. I value my work.

    Also, remember that the vast majority of the content on this site is, in fact, already free.

    Moreover, I have to pay for several services that cost a good deal of money. Plus, I have put hundreds of hours of work into this site and have never made a profit.

    The other issue is that charging for my ‘premium’ work does not mean that I do not sympathize with my readers. It means that I value my time, my work, and the continued expansion of this site, which costs money.

    I am not independently wealthy, so I can not afford to give away thousands of dollars and my time for free in all cases.

    See, doctors charge money, that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Same for dentists, therapists, and so on. They all, and I do, have every right to earn something from their labor. Would you go to work for free? Somehow I think that is unlikely.

    In the end, you are welcomed to enjoy all the free information on this site, and I hope it helps, truly. But it is unreasonable to think that I cannot, or should not, charge for at least some of my work.

    Hope that clears it up for you. Good luck. =)

  5. says

    Hi Mitchell,

    You made some great points. And at the end of the day, acceptance isn’t for everyone. There are many ways to overcome abnormal anxiety, acceptance is simply one way.

    If it was a matter of finding more information though, I’d think most people would be done with their anxiety. It is, in my humble opinion, the lack of acceptance, not just of symptoms but of facts, that stands in the way of getting better.

    Acceptance is not more tolerance for pain, in that regard. It’s an active exercise. Utter acceptance sounds cool, but what does that mean really?

    But, like I said, there are many ways to get it done. The important piece is finding what works for you. I hope you all do that in whatever way you can.

  6. Joshua Kent says

    I really look forward to reading this e-book, as it seems the consensus to my current anxiety is to use acceptance to defuse my current worry and symptoms (basically a fear of bowel cancer and as such an abnormal level of monitoring and worry if I experience any changes to digestive habits — sorry for the detail but I figure I may as well get it out there as stupid as it feels_ by the way I have no actual symptoms of such a disease). My issue with acceptance in terms of my personal experience is trust. Currently I have a problem in trusting myself and those who I seek assistance. When I meet with my therapist or naturopath or doctor, i feel fine for a day or so, but as I continue to monitor symptoms and if feel I am not making any progress toward my expectations i dismiss the facts I have been told and go back to the fear and worry. So as I see it, acceptance is great but at the same time you have embrace trust and work on trusting yourself and those you have sought for support – you chose them for a reason so its unlikely they will misguide you.
    Thanks for reading/listening.

  7. says

    Suffer from anxiety attacks can be dangerous if it is not adequately controlled. It is vital for the doctor to assess disease before they progress and is uncontrollable.

  8. Esther says

    Hi Paul;
    I have been suffering with anxiety for a year now and lately it is going really bad because my mind can’t just shut off. I am having these thoughts about dying soon and thwy are really troubling me, what can I do to control my thoughts and not to live in so much fear?

  9. says

    Hi Esther, there’s a lot you can do, I’m afraid too much for me to rattle off here. Most importantly, realize that anxiety will not, cannot kill you. And second, understand that there is a lot you can do to get help. For example, have you spoken to your doctor? Have you seen a therapist? Also, have you looked into CBT? You have options. Never give up hope.

  10. Jessica B says

    Anxiety is horrible, I’ve had it for two months and it is just the most horrible thing ever. Does it ever get better? Feel so bad for people that have had this disorder their whole lives.

  11. Sammy says

    Can anxiety numbness last for ever why I kept having all this crazy symptom and feel like I’m having a stroke or heart attack I was trying acupuncture it gotten worst help please?

  12. sarah says

    Fyi, Wattson Bayern is some sort of pill-selling bot.
    Anxiety is not ”dangerous”. I have it and eventhough I feel like I’m dying sometimes, I know for a fact it is not going to kill me. So that person or program is trying to sell crap through fear. I’m not saying some meds don’t help, but you don’t HAVE to have them to live.

    That being said, I am responding to Sammy. I have anxiety on and off for a long time. I’m trying to ween off my meds because I want to have a familly. Since then anxiety has made a comeback, but it’s not as bad as it has been. The only thing is that I went to try acupuncture as well 2 days ago in hope that would help me as I was feeling fine at the time. But I experienced a panic attack on the table. The accupunturist tried to ease me through it but I have had anxiety since. I kept fearing that the needles made me worst, tough I know that it’s probably the wierd sensations that scared me and now my body is in a state of alertness. I have to accept this feeling and it will eventuallyy subside tough now it feel like it’s never going away. So let’s hang in there I guess. Accupuncture is not for everyone apparently.

  13. Rebecca says

    I had my first panic attack around 5 years ago. It came completely out of the blue and it was awful. I had never been an anxious person, in fact, I was the complete opposite. I was fearless.

    5 years on, I now have full blown GAD and panic disorder.

    I went from being fearless to being afraid of everything, all the time.
    And it’s true, I’m an expert in anxiety. I’ve read every major published paper, all the medical journals, I’ve been through CBT (which is excellent and I couldn’t recommend it more highly, unfortunately my benefits don’t cover it right now) taken all the meds (I never found one that worked for me that was suitable for more than 2 weeks use so I experimented a lot with my doctor) I’ve bought books, I’ve read forums. I became so knowledgeable that my therapist suggested I go into his line of work.

    Everyone who has worked to overcome anxiety becomes an expert after a while.

    But, here I am. Anxious and panicking. 5 years after that one episode I’m scared of everything. Crowds (I used to love crowds) small spaces, people, exercise (hello excess 30lbs) the list is endless.

    The most recent literature on anxiety is coming to the consensus that acceptance is the key player in overcoming anxiety, but as Paul says in the podcast, while that information is readily available, nowhere is it written how to accept.

    It’s taught in CBT in the form of desensitization which is an important aspect of acceptance, but it’s obviously not everything, otherwise I’d be there already.

    Really looking forward to the eBook.

  14. TheFuego1989 says

    Hi I’m new to anxiety guru but I’ve experienced anxiety for about 4 months now, this is literally the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced I probably went through every symptom the worst for me is dealing with death, thinking about it, always thinking its near just over the top thoughts…now I read your podcast and I’m VERY VERY interested. Is there anyway I could receive it now in my smartphone?

  15. says

    Hi there, yes you can! The podcast are all mp3 files, so they will play on smartphones. You can download the files from the site or head over to iTunes to take a listen.

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