I focused more on when my next panic attack was going to strike. Looking back though, I wish I had.
Perhaps I would’ve understood what I needed to do sooner, or not. See, even after I knew what to do I stayed anxious anyway.
It took a long time to go from “I get it,” to “I truly understand.” This, I think, explains why my two eBooks are so different.
I recently had a reader email me this question:
In the first book, you mention several times that we need to challenge anxiety, to fight our way out and to be active in our recovery. But the second book makes great emphasis on acceptance and letting go. How can I do both? It’s probably just a turn of phrase I’m not grasping, but I’d appreciate some clarification. Thanks!
The recovery process can be a fight; at least it was for me. You have to motivate yourself, to move beyond information gathering and into acquiring a true understanding of anxiety and yourself. This can be time consuming, even scary.
That’s why it’s so easy to get discouraged and, despite how lousy it feels, to continue down the path of misery. That’s why you have to fight with yourself to get going and stay going toward recovery.
You have to get beyond false starts and move toward a real commitment to the recovery process. That can be a ‘fight.’
In fact, in my first eBook, How to Stop Anxious Thinking, I outlined all the reasons why you could fail to get better. I did that knowing that a lot of people want to get better but lack the focus and mental stamina they need. It was a warning against every pitfall that I tumbled into as I sought relief myself.
I guess it’s the same reason why many people with weight issues struggle to lose weight. They know what to do, they know the benefits of losing the extra pounds, yet they stay in the same situation. They lose 5 lbs; gain the 5 lbs back, plus 5 more. It’s a fight.
After you recognize AND break through your apathy, stagnation, and routine you’ll start to see change. That’s what I was trying to highlight in my first eBook.
Unfortunately, I barely included the concept of acceptance in my first eBook because my own understanding of how I got better hadn’t fully evolved when I wrote it. It was a long, complex process that only became clear to me long after I got better.
I had grown in ways I wasn’t aware of. I had undergone a process that I didn’t fully understand, so I had to ‘process’ it for a while. This is why I wrote my second eBook, The Big Idea. I wanted to explore this powerful realization.
Given all that, I still think the two approaches can coexist. On the one hand, it is worth your while to understand the obstacles you face, to learn about anxiety, the process of stress, and to challenge old patterns of thinking.
On the other hand, learning how to accept your fears remains the final step, in my opinion, toward resolving the constant inner chatter that keeps you off balance and stuck on ‘What If’ scenarios.
Ultimately, I still think that you build your own solution to this problem.
You build the ‘answer’ over time using information from others (like me), but most importantly, with information from yourself. Only you understand what you really fear and what it’s going to take for you to sit with those fears without a strong response.
Overcoming anxiety is challenging because it has to do with the all the stuff you don’t want to happen in life, like dying. These fears are often unconscious, or at least not so clear in your mind that they represent a cause for concern.
Your job is to find out what your fears are, learn about your reaction to those fears, and then learn how to embrace them. That’s how you get better.
This topic is terrific, so I made a podcast to explore it a bit more. Take a few minutes to listen and comment below!
P.S. You can learn more about my new members website by clicking here.