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Utilizing Radical Acceptance During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The past few weeks have been very overwhelming with the news and changes made due to the coronavirus pandemic. As actions have been taken quite quickly and information has been spreading at a rapid pace, many of us with trauma and anxiety are feeling affected by the chaos.

Emotions are running high and we are struggling to find ways to cope. Practicing acceptance during these trying times can be very difficult.

When we attempt to resist reality, we only intensify our negative emotions. One of the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills we can employ to help increase our tolerance is Radical Acceptance.

What is Radical Acceptance?

When we struggle with our anxiety and trauma, our goal is to decrease our suffering and pain in order to be able to tolerate reality. Radical Acceptance is a skill developed by Marsha Linehan as an element of DBT.

It’s an exercise in accepting our circumstances and emotions without objection or questions. This doesn’t imply that we must enjoy the situation or our anxiety.

Acceptance in this skill means that we are addressing what is happening and our reactions so that we can better work through it. Most of the current events and the responses of others around us are out of our control.

We have a choice in whether to accept reality or to allow it to defeat us. We employ Radical Acceptance in circumstances where we cannot change anything, as a way of choosing to acknowledge what is happening around us and coming to terms with it. 

How Do I Exercise This Skill?

Using Radical Acceptance is simple, but something that must be practiced. We start by making statements about our situations or feelings.

Let go of all of your opinions of how things in the situation should be, and accept it for exactly what it is. Here are some examples of this:

  • I accept that this is a scary situation
  • I accept that I need to stay inside to protect myself and others
  • I accept that I’m not comfortable with what is happening and I’m feeling a lot of anxiety
  • I accept that if I don’t stay at home I am putting myself and others at risk and that is not fair
  • I accept that staying at home isn’t easy for me to do
  • I accept that this situation isn’t something I can fix on my own


Your statements should apply to your personal circumstances or feelings. Consider what role you or others have played in the situation and how it made you feel or act.

Think about what you do and do not have control over in what is happening. Include what your response has been to the situation and how these responses affected the thoughts and feelings of yourself and others.

How could you have changed the way you reacted to decrease your suffering? By saying these sentences out loud, we are not dwelling on what we did or didn’t do.

We are simply radically accepting the facts and feelings just as they are. Repeat this practice when you need to, and remind yourself of the statements you create if you start to struggle again.

The great part of Radical Acceptance is that once we allow things to be exactly as they are and honor that, we can let changes happen and move forward. 


At The Guest House Ocala, our experience with addiction and recovery makes us uniquely equipped to be able to understand the struggles you’re experiencing. We’re here to help. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.