Being AWARE of Your Anxiety

What if I told you your attitude towards anxiety often determines success or failure in overcoming anxiety. For lots of people their attitude towards anxiety is mostly negative because anxiety is uncomfortable. Our natural response is to fight it or do anything to get rid of it. But what if I told you that fighting your anxiety or doing anything to get rid of it only makes it worse. Having a more paradoxical approach tends to lead to a higher success rate when deal with anxiety. An acronym that I use in my therapy sessions is called “AWARE.” Here is how it works.

­Accept/Acknowledge that it is natural to have anxious thoughts and feelings. Allow yourself to sit with your anxious thoughts and feelings without being frustrated or annoyed at yourself. It is ok to acknowledge them and accept that change will take time.

Watch your anxiety as though you are watching a cloud pass by. As you watch your anxiety try not to judge it as good or bad. Remember your anxious thoughts are often transient.

­Act through your anxiety. Act as though you are in control of your anxiety. Do not let your anxiety control you. Tell yourself that avoidant behavior is not an option and face your fear.

Repeat steps one, two, and three. Remember practice makes prefect.

Expect realistic improvement. Trying to rush improvement may only make your anxiety worse. Expect that as you make improvement with your anxiety you will experience a setback or two along the way. It’s ok if your anxiety returns from time to time. You are in process and it will take time to truly overcome your anxiety.

So, there you have it. The AWARE acronym. Take some time now to see how you might put this into practice this week.

 

Written By:

Reid Wood, MA, LPC

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418-A Barr Rd
Lexington, SC 29072

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(478) 984-6949

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