5 Signs You Are Making Your Anxiety Worse

1. We try to tolerate anxiety. Tolerating distress is to put up with it, not accept it. Tolerating is not welcoming or accepting. You’re merely waiting for the first chance to escape.

2. We try to endure anxiety. Enduring anxiety is not embracing anxiety. When we accept, we actively make room in our lives by inviting difficulty and distress to move in and stay as long as it wants.

3. We put the focus on trying rather than doing. To cite our previous example, there is no trying to jump off a cliff. A person either jumps or they don’t. Likewise, acceptance is a yes or no commitment.

4. We rely on “positive thinking” rather than acceptance. Acceptance is not a belief in our ability to handle anxiety, but a willingness to experience our distress. Using positive affirmations is a misguided way to convince ourselves that we can control anxiety.

5. We try to gain control of anxiety through acceptance. This is by far the most nuanced and difficult misconception to catch. Acceptance means that you have given up your war with anxiety-you are now focused on living your life, come what may.