"What you resist, persists” - Carl Jung
While it’s a natural instinct to “fight” against feelings of anxiety, it’s actually counterproductive to feeling better. When we resist an emotion, anxiety included, it tends to only make that emotion stronger. If you want to find your way through a particularly anxious time, try one of the following science-backed methods:
1. Stop Investigating the cause of your anxiety! Think of anxiety using the metaphor of a tunnel: you don’t get out the same way you came in. The particular event(s) that led to you feeling anxious don’t necessarily have anything to do with what will help you find your way through it.
Following the steps and methods that millions of people have successfully used in their healing is your best bet. The frantic search for the causes of anxiety only serves to perpetuate a stressed, anxious state.
2. Take Opposite Action: a great rule of thumb when it comes to working with anxiety is to ask yourself “what would anxiety want me to do?” and literally do the exact opposite!
If anxiety wants you to avoid a situation, the opposite action would lead you to take a step towards what makes you feel afraid. Start with a baby step!
3. Learn to “float” through anxiety. This concept, developed almost 100 years ago by Australian psychiatrist Claire Weeks, means allowing anxiety to be present, letting go of your resistance to it and trusting that, just like clouds in the sky, anxiety will simply pass with time.
About the author: Valerie Sadon is a LCSW based in Los Angeles. She teaches people how to change their relationship to emotional and physical discomfort and get unstuck from the wounds of trauma. CBT, EMDR, ERP for OCD. Learn more about Valerie and view additional content she's created by viewing her Frame profile here.