Acceptance: Sounds Simple, But it Can Help You Stay Calm

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It’s easy to get pushed over the edge in times of stress, but here’s something to help prevent you from being triggered.

Acceptance is a part of therapy because, particularly with anxiety or anger issues, the sense of loss of control escalates if you try to push too hard for something that’s out of reach. However, nobody’s saying that’s an easy thing to do.

After all, you learn to try to improve your life, don’t you? Why would you not try to do everything you can to get what you want, or what you think ought to happen?

There’s Massive Wisdom in Acceptance

“Let it Be”, sang The Beatles in the 1960s.

I know some people might have never heard this beautiful song, and if you’re one of them, you might like to check it out – see the video below. However, if you’ve ever heard it, have you ever pondered what this short saying means?

There is massive wisdom in accepting that there are some things you cannot change right now.

Perhaps there will come a time when change is possible.

Acceptance and The Serenity Prayer

Since stress is defined as the inner tension of wanting things to be different, doesn’t it make sense that there are times when what’s wished for isn’t possible? Hankering after something like that will only perpetuate and even increase stress.

Here it is.


God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr – American theologian


Sometimes, you might try to change something immediately if it seems intolerable, but acceptance offers another way. After all, if you can put up with something for a while, change may be easier another day.

Perhaps you are at odds with someone? There might be more chance of seeing eye-to-eye if you wait or walk away until things calm down, rather than trying to change them now.

How Much Does it Matter?

This is an example of a scaling question.

You might use various coping strategies to simplify your troubles. An unhelpful coping mechanism you might use when in anxiety or anger is to apply a way of thinking that fits your view of reality.

There are various thinking errors, and one of these is catastrophising. Another one is black-and-white thinking. If your thoughts trigger intense emotions, a scaling question like the one above can effectively reduce the emotional reaction to your thoughts.

You can make the exercise even more effective by adding “on a scale of one to ten” or similar.

How much does it matter, on a scale of one to ten?

Then if the answer isn’t ten, it allows you to ponder on other things that matter. For example, maintaining a good relationship with your partner. That might be the most important of all.

It’s a Win-Win Situation

Consider that you aim to guard your relationship with them, and then everyone may win.

Furthermore, it will leave you free to celebrate the things you can change.

Let it Be – The Beatles

Enjoy

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