Acceptance is the core idea of mindfulness practice. It’s the process of acknowledging your difficult thoughts and emotions (things like stress and anxiety) and learning to see what’s within your control, so you feel empowered to take action. This helps us prepare ourselves to take the action that’s right for us. There are a few different ways in which acceptance can help us move toward action.
It can make us feel calmer and more in control.
When we don’t immediately react to our negative thoughts and emotions and instead choose to approach them with a sense of curiosity, we form new neural pathways that allow us to create more intentional responses. For instance, you can welcome stress and anxiety, then step back and evaluate how these thoughts and emotions are serving you.
Researchers have discovered that having this type of intentional approach to our thoughts and feelings increases the activity that takes place in the left prefrontal cortex of our brain. This is the part of our brain that’s responsible for higher-order brain functions (e.g., decision-making, attention, and ability to regulate).
It helps us change our behaviors in relation to others.
When you’re able to accept situations that may be outside of your control, you also allow yourself to reflect on what you do have control over. This enables you to continue moving toward what you feel is important.
It enables us to practice self-care.
When you’re able to acknowledge your stress and anxiety, you’re showing up for yourself. This allows you to take steps to care for yourself and your needs. It also allows you to start asking yourself, “What do I need right now?” This is an important question because it’s easy to lose ourselves to everything else that’s going on around us. Once we’re able to answer this question, we can learn to create boundaries and assert ourselves whenever necessary.
Once you understand this, you’ll see that stress and anxiety aren’t always negative emotions. They can help us assert our needs and stand up to the injustices around us. These emotions can also encourage us to listen to ourselves more instead of running away or ignoring what our body is trying to tell us.
It connects us to our bodies.
By acknowledging that you’re feeling stress and anxiety, you can start to notice how you feel in your body. Remember that each feeling you have will create a different physiological sensation.
Many researchers have found that one important part of staying mentally healthy is to be able to sense, interpret, and integrate the various signals your body sends. When you ignore these various physical sensations, stress will continue to build up within your body. This connection to our body is a form of self-compassion that allows us to soften and soothe ourselves. By accepting these feelings, we’re softening our approach to our body and allowing ourselves to self-soothe. For instance, you may want to give yourself a gentle hug the next time you notice how your body is reacting. While this will only take a moment, at this moment, you’ll build a connection to yourself that increases your ability to self-regulate.
It allows us to have a better understanding of ourselves.
Allowing yourself to be open to your difficult thoughts and feelings (such as those of stress and anxiety) will enable you to have a better understanding of yourself. This can be a challenging journey, but the ultimate goal is to no longer be controlled by your big emotions, regardless of how uncomfortable they may make you feel. If you need some help or support along this journey, contact us at TMS Advantage Clearwater in Clearwater, FL, today.
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