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41. Hug The Dragon

Dan Harris, news anchor and author of 10% Happier, had an on-air meltdown in front of millions of viewers. He eventually admitted that he was using substances to deal with his anxiety.

One of his favorite lines about dealing with mental health challenges has been to “hug the dragon.” He argues that if you try to slay it, it gets stronger. But if you accept it - you hug it - it eventually gives up and goes away.

This advice has roots in Buddhist philosophy and is a part of the popular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program popularized by John Kabat-Zinn.

The overarching goal is that of acceptance. Whatever happened, happened. You can’t change it.

Further, we have to try to stop claiming the stress as “existential” (I am angry). Instead, the goal is to treat stress as “experiential” (I am experiencing anger).

Stress is simply a physiological and psychological occurrence that will eventually dissipate and return some other day.

Fight with it and it stays to play. Accept and it goes away. Over time, hopefully the dragon gets bored.


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