Coexisting With Your Anxiety

How do we overcome anxiety?

We look for ways to get rid of our unpleasant feelings. Thence, we tend to focus and think more about these emotions. For Trudy Boyle, she believes that people should learn to live with anxiety -- that it's natural and doesn't need to be fixed. Moreover, there are activities that people can do that will help them coexist with anxiety.

Trudy: The good thing about anxiety and uncertainty is that we don't need to fix it. That's the first thing. And we can't fix it, we can't turn it on and off like a light switch. But to actually learn that we can live with the anxiety – that it's natural, nothing needs to be fixed here. 

We may not like it, that's a different story. But there's things that we can actually do that will help us coexist with them. And they're almost always some kind of physical thing that we do. And so that's when that other part of learning skills comes in. 

Learning to draw, hiking, you're going hiking at Wellspring, we have a big hiking program, stretching yourself, learning new things. And my favourite word: arugamama. I have to talk about arugamama

Because arugamama it's in my back pocket all the time. It gets me through everything. And because really, what it is, is there's no real translation but roughly translated I see it as: things as they are. 

This is the brutal facts. I've just been diagnosed with cancer. I don't have to like it. I don't have to befriend, it has nothing to do with that. But this is the way it is. I look at arugamama as really an acknowledgment of the way things are. 

I can use the word acceptance, I use active acceptance as well. But the word acceptance, you know, is misunderstood, because it's considered to be passive, or being a doormat, or, you know, and it's not that – arugamama doesn't mean being a doormat.

To me, it really means acknowledging that this is the way it is – my cancer diagnosis, there's nothing I can do about that. But now the second part, the active part of that, that I love is with these things as they are, what can I actually do here? And so I love that.

Nick: I love it too. And I've done a podcast actually on Morita therapy. And the guest essentially said the same thing. It's often misunderstood as acceptance. 

But it's more like active acceptance, or it's often described by Japanese, in the context of it's an understanding of the true nature of things. Then once you accept or not accept, but once you understand the true nature of things, you are then freeing yourself to take action.