Keep Calm and Carry On

When your living through a scary time, how can you stop those feelings from taking over? As a therapist, I have two sets of tools change strategies and acceptance strategies. They work even when you’re experiencing long-term uncertainty. Tools for change are things like taking care of yourself, exercising, trying to stay connected to friends and family and maintaining any amount of structure and joy and satisfaction that you can. At the same time, there’s acceptance, which is not the same as resignation. Acceptance is acknowledging that a situation is what it is and giving yourself permission to struggle, to meet a challenging time as best you can and forgive yourself for any shortcomings without judgement. To use a specific example, say I’m working with someone wo has a fear of public speaking. I would tell them, “You’re not going to make the anxiety go away before you get up and speak to this group. You are going to feel the anxiety and get up and talk. That is true acceptance: to feel the anxiety and do what you need to do anyway to live as best you can along with the negative emotions. -Ellen Hendriksen

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