The answer is not flashy or trendy--rather its getting real with who you are.
To manage your anxiety, start by realigning with your deepest values.
If you haven’t yet taken the time to stop and check in with how anxiety has been showing up for you this season, now would be a great time.
Have you’ve noticed that anxiety has been holding you back recently:
From honoring your deepest values?
From being present to your family and friends?
From following through with your most important goals?
From living the life that feels truest, most fulfilling to you?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these, consider using the following three-step process from therapists of ACT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
ACT is a practical, clinically researched therapy that helps you face the challenges arising moment by moment in your life.
In his introductory book on ACT and why it works, The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris offers the following 3-step process as a framework for working with difficult feelings and difficult situations.
Acceptance: Feel and accept what is happening right now, including your resistance to what is happening.
Commitment: Clarify the values you are most deeply committed to living by.
Therapy: Take action, aligning your values with present moment opportunities.
With this tool in hand, now consider your answers to the questions above, and to the questions in the last post, about how anxiety has been affecting you this season.
Now let’s use ACT’s 3-step process to accept what’s here, re-align with our values and goals, and to start taking action.
Begin by noticing and naming what you’re feeling right now.
“Feeling tired. Feeling annoyed.”
Notice and name your answers to the questions, your reactions to your answers, your reactions to this exercise of noticing and naming.
As you notice and name all the feelings and sensations that are coming into your field of awareness, see if you can feel where each feeling and sensation lives in your body. Can you perceive its color, shape, size, temperature?
As you continue, explore how you can make every feeling, sensation and reaction that arises feel welcome and accepted.
*Note: You don't need to agree with, or like, what you are feeling. By "accepting" we mean that you are acknowledging that feeling's presence.
Begin by reflecting on what your three core values are for this season.
What matters most to you right now?
Community, friendship, fun?
Adventure and time in nature?
Investment and work on a project you care about?
Deepening spiritual practice?
Remember, there are no right answers to this question. You alone know what matters most to you right now. You alone know what people, projects, aspects of yourself are calling to you to fully show up and invest. You alone know what you are avoiding most because of discomfort or fear.
Go for a walk, journal, turn on music, daydream.
Find your way into your truest answers about what values are most important to you right now. And without forcing any to arise, notice what goals or aspirations you are holding that are connected to those values.
Now, let’s bring all the pieces together. You’ve now noticed what you’re feeling about how anxiety has been holding you back this summer. You’ve re-aligned with, and re-committed to, your truest values and goals. Now it’s time to take action.
Begin by saying, what is the smallest action I need to take to show myself I am committed to my values and goals?
What is the very simplest and easiest action I can take that feels doable in the next 24 hours, and re-aligns me on my path?
It’s important to take the first action within 24 hours, so that the work you did in Step 2: “Commitment” has a chance to embodied and actualized.
And remember, every time you miss the mark and catch yourself letting your anxiety, not your values, drive your life—you can return to this three-step process as one of ACT’s tools to help you create and live a rich, full and meaningful life.
Even with anxiety.