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Worries - The Less You Want, the More You Get

Worries - The Less You Want, the More You Get

Handling anxiety is an inescapable topic in our daily lives.

Usually, anxiety can be divided into two categories, "Actual Anxiety” and "Hypothetical Anxiety”.

  • The former one refers to the worries that has immediate solution, such as a less tied schedule for a trip to reserve sufficient time to deal with any emergency.
  • While "Hypothetical Anxiety” refers to the incidents that has no immediate solution, such as the possibility of the emergency during the trip, or the ability to take care of a family in the future.


Either constantly deliberating on or refusing to accept "Hypothetical Anxiety” may drag us deeper into the swirl of anxiety. In contrast, appropriate shifting of our attention releases more space to confront issues with no instant settlement.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has generalized seven approaches to switch our attention as "A.C.C.E.P.T.S.”, it includes:

Activities To participate in activities that are neutral and has nothing to do with those worries.
Examples: Playing basketball, painting 
To shift attention from your own to people around and make acceptable contribution. 
Examples: Sending postcard to friends and families, or joining volunteering services. 
To make comparison with your previous or others’ experience of hardship to reduce senses of incapability and loneness. 
Examples: Reading articles or books of relevant experience or watching documentary. 
Emotions To arouse different emotions through other activities.
Examples: Watching comedy to make yourself laugh.
Pushing away
To push yourself away from negativity or emotion distress.
Examples: Imagining a high and thick wall between you and negativity or emotion distress, or writing down all your worries and putting them into a lidded box. 
Thoughts To carry out mental activities that has nothing to do those anxieties. 
Examples:  Doing mathematics in mind or finding out all objects with the same color in a room.
Based on the acceptance of your physical condition, give yourself simulation through any of the five sensations (visual, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling).
Examples: Holding a can of cold drink, or listening to fast tempo music.

Through different methods, we will be able to find out the most suitable way of ourselves to escape from anxiety. If you are interested to know more of the above content, please refer to the earlier online video on New Life website, "What If Anxiety Strikes?” - 

Written by: Dr. Amanda CHEUNG, Clinical Psychologist, New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association



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