Fed up with anxiety? Then follow the ... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Fed up with anxiety? Then follow the example of the trees.

Jeff1943 profile image

Behold the trees when stormy weather comes and high winds sweep the land. Some trees fight the winds and stand firm, they are the first to fall.

Some trees bend with the wind, they do not fight it. They accept the storm and surrender to the gale. These are the survivors, they recover soon enough.

We can learn from the trees. When high anxiety and depletion of our nervous energy strikes, be it first thing in the morning or any time of day or night, our natural instinct is to fight it. We try to force ourselves to feel normal or lose ourselves in distraction.

Has fighting the bad feelings ever brought anyone recovery? Surely not for fighting creates more tension, more stress, it only drains us further of our depleted reserves of nervous energy. These things are not the stuff of what recoveries are made.

Distraction can bring temporary relief but when the distraction passes the anxiety remains.

Instead, imitate the action of the Willow and the Poplar tree. Don't fight the anxiety, accept it for the time being. Feel every muscle in your body relax completely, agree to co-exist with it for the moment. No more checking every five minutes to see if the bad feeling has passed: acceptance must be complete, not just 'putting up with'.

Then good things begin to happen. The free flow of fear and stress hormones starts to slow. These are what have been sensitising our nervous system and causing the distressing symptoms.

You can't accept anxiety and fear it at the same time. Understanding and reassurance strengthen our determination not to worry ourself sick about anxiety. On its own, anxiety has never killed, disabled or made anyone lose their mind. Though it may sometimes feel like it.

If you feel you're getting nowhere fighting anxiety maybe it's time to consider a different approach.

12 Replies

This was an absolute pleasure to read; such a gorgeous, uplifting and inspiring metaphor. Thank you for sharing such an encouraging post! You write very eloquently, I must say, your way of phrasing things is quite captivating.

Jeff1943 profile image
Jeff1943 in reply to

Thank you for your kind words, Black_Cat, it is always a delight to meet someone who uses semi-colons. The use of acceptance as therapy for anxiety and depletion (a much less depressing word than depression) was first expressed back in the 1960s by Claire Weekes, a psychiatrist who used acceptance to resolve her own anxiety disorder. Physician heal thyself, indeed!

She then spent the rest of her life advocating her method through books, consultations, lectures and TV appearances.

Since then untold thousands have achieved recovery or respite through her teachings and her first book is now on its 44th reprint. This slim volume is titled 'Hope and help for your nerves' in the U.S. whilst if you are lucky enough to be British🤣 the same book is titled 'Self help for your nerves' both versions available new or used from Amazon.

Her technique relies on mastering her four imperatives: Face - Accept - Float - Let time pass. If ever stuck for something to read one could do worse than read it as it can be life changing. I first read it 45 years ago and attempt in my small way to continue to bring it to the attention of those who would gain from its wisdom - as regulars on this forum know only too well.

Good analogy Jeff! Always appreciate your wonderful insight.

Also the analogy of how the bright or clear sky is always there, storms, rain, may come and may be cloudy overhead but the one constant is the clear sky is still there after all those situations clear up

As always Jeff,you are a truly inspirational person! you bring so much strength and hope to people who follow you,Give love and a feeling of belonging to new people joining the group and I for one! am eternally grateful to you many many thanks.

Jeff1943 profile image
Jeff1943 in reply to 9everton

Thank you so much 9everton, but the credit should really go to Claire Weekes whose teachings continue to mend minds long after her passing.

Thank you so much Jeff, I’ve been doing ok with the odd moment here and there, but I’m going away next month and have been having a lot of the symptoms of anxiety recurring lately. I’m looking forward to going away with my family but this build up to it has been playing around with me (leaving the comfort zone probably) I have been staying calm on the outside and I’ve had all these unpleasant symptoms before, I’ll be glad when the holiday actually arrives because although I might have moments the anticipation of it presently is a little overwhelming.

Thank you for your posts I like to read them they’re so helpful especially so at the moment for me. Thank you again

Jeff1943 profile image
Jeff1943 in reply to Laniben

Hi Laniben, I think anxiety about going on holiday is quite common, I love the thought of going on holiday, but in the past have woken up with high anxiety whilst on holiday. I guess that although I'm not agoraphobic being out of my comfort zone/routine can have an unsettling effect.

The answer is the same answer to dealing with anxiety in all its many forms: you accept it for the time being and just go ahead as normal. Once you understand that anxiety is not life threatening in any way you can afford to fear it less, it's a nuisance but the symptoms are absolutely nothing to worry about.

When you lose your fear of anxiety by accepting it (rather than fighting it) your bad feelings and symptoms will resolve. So have a great time on holiday, even if for some of it anxiety still makes itself felt.

Laniben profile image
Laniben in reply to Jeff1943

Thank you so much Jeff

This post was great. Thank you. Even though I’m seeing it a week late, it was definitely what I needed to hear today as I was having a tough morning.

Jeff, you nailed it. As usual.

stargazzer and HopeWithSmile, Thank you for your kind words, but do not leave it at that. Do not say: that technique of acceptance that Claire Weekes devised years ago in her first book 'Self help for your nerves' was interesting to read about.

Reading her book or about her book may bring understanding and reassurance but alone it will not bring you respite or recovery. Only if you practice the technique of Face - Accept - Float - And let time pass will you eventually calm your nervous system and bring all symptoms of anxiety disorder to an end.

This will take patience when we all want instant results, it will take persistence when we all want an easy life and easy solutions.

So why not do the hard thing and put Acceptance into practice: great will be your joy the day you reclaim your quiet mind.

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