Radical Acceptance Coping Statements

Radical acceptance is a key in keeping my brain level throughout the roller coaster of life.

Radical acceptance is acknowledging “your present situation… without judging the events or criticizing yourself.” Thinking about your situation without feelings can ease the troubled feelings that may arise from whatever you’re dealing with.

In order to remind myself that I can accept whatever comes my way, I’ve curated a list of “Radical Acceptance Coping Statements” that I remind myself of.

  • The present is the only moment I have control over.
  • The present moment is perfect, even if I don’t like what’s happening.
  • Feelings aren’t facts.
  • Here and now only.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other coping statements a person can use.

  • This is the way it has to be.
  • All the events have led up to now.
  • I can’t change what’s already happened.
  • It’s no use fighting the past.
  • Fighting the past only blinds me to my present.
  • It’s a waste of time to fight what’s already occurred.
  • This moment is exactly as it should be, given what’s happened before it.
  • This moment is the result of over a million other decisions.

Radical Acceptance Coping Statements

  • I/they did that because it was their ‘job’ at the time.
  • I know it is supposed to be this way right now because that’s how it is.
  • I don’t need to fight reality.
  • I acknowledge what is.
  • I/they have done what I could.
  • This is the reality now.
  • No amount of emotional or mental resistance can change what’s already happened.
  • The best way to prepare for the future is to accept the past and present.
  • I can accept (fill in the blank) if or when it happens in the future.
  • I am at peace with him/her/event/situation.
  • I can handle (fill in the blank).
  • I am, in fact, dealing with (fill in the blank), even if I sometimes think I’m not or think I can’t.
  • Worrying about it or having negative feelings about it won’t change it.
  • Everything has a cause.
  • I can let go of this.
  • Whether or not I accept this, it is still the reality. I can choose to accept it.
  • I can choose to deny reality and suffer, or accept reality and find more peace.
  • I can allow the world to be what it is.

 

Ultimately, shit happens, and there’s not always anything you can do about it … but you can accept it without criticism and judgement with a coping statement.

Do you have a favorite radical acceptance coping statement? Which one of the above strikes you the most? Can you write it on a Post-it note and tuck it away in your wallet for regular viewing? I bet you can.

 

This post inspired by a section in The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.

Eating, Drinking, and Overthinking

A recent study shows that in young women, alcohol abuse, obesity and depression are creating a “toxic triangle.”

Reuters’ article Obesity, alcohol, depression linked in women clarifies the many research results of Dr. Carolyn A McCarty (of Seattle Children’s Research Institute). 

Ultimately, McCarty was able to show that almost half of men and women involved in the study suffered from at least one of the three problems between the ages of 21 to 30 however, this is probably only the tip of the iceberg though because “researchers used fairly stringent definitions of alcohol abuse, depression and obesity” for this particular study. While I can’t find the actual definitions used, I’m sure if they were broadened, researchers could see the rest of the iceberg.

Alcohol abuse is defined as: the continued use of alcohol despite the development of social, legal or health problems (quite broad, eh?)

Obesity is defined as: a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, or about 30 pounds or more over ideal body weight

Depression is defined as: a state of low mood and aversion to activity (once again, very broad)

Within McCarty’s study, the participants have been followed since 1985 – while they were fifth graders. Looking at data collected at age 24, 27 and 30, McCarty’s researchers were able to look at the “interrelationships among depression, obesity and alcohol abuse” which showed:

  • at 21, 8% of women and 12% of men had at least two of the three problems
  • over time, having more than one of the problems became more common for women but less so for men
  • women who were depressed at 27 were more than three times as likely to meet criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence at age 30
  • women who had alcohol abuse problems at 24 were 4 times as likely to be obese at 27
  • women who were obese at 27 had more than double the risk of depression at age 30
  • lower-income individuals (no matter gender) were at greater risk of both depression and obesity

One of the traits that McCarty notes as a connection includes “ruminating coping” in which a person “replays and obsesses about negative events.” This is one of the issues addressed in cognitive behavioral therapy, as well. A Yale psychologist, Susan Nolen-Hoeksma shows that men and women who ruminate are more depressed, more likely to drink or more likely to binge eat in order to cope with their emotional problems.

Providing an intervention for these coping techniques seems relatively easy: incorporating physical exercise, mindfulness training and stress management. However, there are quite often obstacles in the way of coping – even for those not suffering from depression. The brain’s “reward system” seems to be clearly connected to the “toxic triangle” and implanting new ways of rewarding the self for good events (other than food or alcohol) is a coping method that needs to be integrated into each and every one of our lives.

Do you see this “toxic triangle” in your life?