Acceptance works: “The Undefeated Mind”

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Spring Quiver: Photograph by Robyn Gael Ellsworth, National Geographic Your Shot
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Research shows that acceptance works in a variety of contexts.
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Accepting rather than rejecting obsessional thoughts, for example, significantly reduces compulsions in people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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Accepting food cravings reduces eating and helps people lose weight.
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Accepting nicotine cravings helps people quit smoking.
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And accepting warning signs of an impending seizure even decreases the severity and frequency of epilepsy.
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Thus, though we might think we need to control our emotions when facing adversity—to feel brave when fighting cancer, for example, or stoic when losing a loved one—we might do better if instead we give ourselves permission to feel what we actually do.
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For if we fail to give ourselves that permission and instead aim to be something we aren’t, we’ll be more likely to experience suffering not only at the hands of our pain, but also at the hands of our failure to live up to our expectations.
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Approaching painful internal experiences with an attitude of acceptance, in contrast—accepting that sometimes we’re weak—paradoxically may be the key to our becoming strong.
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