Accept Yourself with Anxiety to Reduce Anxiety

Accepting yourself with anxiety isn't the same as saying the anxiety will never go away. But sometimes fighting anxiety only intensifies it. Try this instead.

If given a choice, would you rather accept yourself with your anxiety or kick anxiety to the curb and simply accept yourself? Silly question, right? The idea of immediately ridding ourselves of anxiety, is extremely appealing. But imagine for a moment what it would be like to embrace your anxiety. What if you could accept yourself with anxiety and still feel the anxiety lessen?

Anxiety, no matter what the specific anxiety disorder, can be difficult and distressing. It’s natural to want to ban it from our lives. It is absolutely possible to do so, and it’s a relief to be free of unhealthy anxiety. When exploring ways to reduce your anxiety, consider this irony: fighting anxiety actually intensifies it.

When we fight against anxiety, we inadvertently promote the belief that we’ll feel better, be better, once we've conquered anxiety--but not before. This puts pressure on us, makes us feel worse about ourselves, and it serves to increase anxiety. The implication is that we’re not good enough as we are right now. Accepting ourselves for who we are, anxiety (or other mental illness) and all, is crucial for well-being.

How to Accept Yourself with Anxiety

Sometimes fighting anxiety only intensifies it. Don't wait until anxiety is gone to accept yourself. Embrace your whole self now to reduce anxiety's power.Self-acceptance involves embracing yourself completely, both your strengths and your limitations, including anxiety. Liking yourself means freeing your mind of negative thoughts and being kind to yourself.

Here’s what accepting yourself looks like:

Get rid of “should.”

It’s unrealistic and quite mean to tell yourself you should be able to handle a given situation without panic or that you shouldn't fear social situations or that you should be "normal." Instead, look for reasons why it actually is okay to be experiencing anxiety and what strengths you have to endure.

Avoid labeling yourself.

Labeling yourself as anxious or phobic or OCD, etc. only perpetuates the idea in your own mind. When you think of yourself with a label, your mind believes it. The more you believe in your anxiety, the stronger your anxiety grows. You certainly don’t have to deny that you are experiencing anxiety, but when you are kinder to yourself, when you accept your anxiety rather than judging yourself for it, you take away some of its power.

Accept yourself for who you are rather than comparing yourself to others.

It’s common for those of us living with anxiety to think we’re weak or not as good as others because of anxiety, but that’s a faulty belief. List your accomplishments and your strengths, and embrace them. What other people are able to do with or without anxiety in no way diminishes what you do.

Treat yourself with patience and respect as you work through anxiety.

When you need inspiration, keep in mind these confidence tips from mental health experts.

Remind yourself of this when you’re being hard on yourself and/or are struggling with anxiety: Anxiety isn't who you are. It’s something you’re experiencing. Accept these truths and accept yourself, and your anxiety is sure to diminish.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2014, January 22). Accept Yourself with Anxiety to Reduce Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Dr Musli Ferati
February, 6 2014 at 9:15 am

Indeed, this paper exhibits greats help on dealing with this common and tedium emotional disorder. Anxiety indicates life long experience to everybody, but if it is psychiatric entity will decide clinical psychiatrist by appropriate psychiatric examination. Anyhow, your observation on successful management of anxiety has got meaningful importance on daily facing with this emotional disorder. On the other hand, the ability to accept anxiety as yourself psychic disturbance permit crucial step in current psychiatric treatment of this disease. Otherwise, each psychiatric approaching to treat anxiety should be of temporary and incomplete character, with many complication on global welfare. The first one is depression as serious and outstanding psychiatric consequence. On the own side, depression, without psychiatric treatment ruins overall bio-psycho-social statement. Therefore, adequate managing of anxiety indicates the best way to prevent these and others complication of anxiety.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 7 2014 at 9:33 am

Thank you for sharing your insights, Dr Ferati! I agree that depression and anxiety are often connected due to the fact that they have underlying causes. A positive sense of self (authentic rather than artificial) is essential in fully overcoming both depression and anxiety.

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