social-anxiety-smThere are many different ways to deal with stress – some of which work better than others. Most of these methods involve some form of acceptance of “the way things are”, because stress is caused by not wanting to accept things that have happened or must happen.

Those people that can bring themselves to fully accept the difficult things in their life report a lessening of the burden of stress, with less troublesome thoughts occupying their minds. In fact, all of us have experienced the sense of relief when we finally accept an inevitable situation after fighting it for a long time. But what happens when, even though we know that we should let go and accept, we just cannot bring ourselves to do so – like when someone undeserving gets a promotion that should have gone to us and we cannot help but feel jealous?

Negative emotion is a natural consequence of a negative situation.  However, there is a second type of acceptance that we can use that works extremely well in dealing with stress when all other ways of thinking fail. I therefore call it ‘the second chance’ to dissolve the stress.

The method is as follows: if your negative feelings are overwhelming and you have tried other methods (like trying to see some positive aspects in the experience) which have not worked, then you need to accept the emotions which are manifesting. These emotions are a natural consequence of the situation and of where you are at in your life presently. That is, if you cannot accept the situation itself, then accept that the feelings you have are an inevitable reaction to the situation.

Amazingly, this accepting “what is” emotionally – even that things are unacceptable – can have a calming effect on your mind almost as powerful as accepting “what is” in the real world. Try it next time and see for yourself.

And in the meantime, keep practicing techniques to bring more mindfulness into your life so that you at least have the presence of mind to try something at the time you most need it.