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The Struggle Switch

Dr. Russ Harris | 3:03


It often seems like we've got a struggle switch at the back of our mind. And as soon as an uncomfortable emotion, a painful feeling, or memory shows up, it's like the struggle switch goes on, and we start to struggle with it.

So, let's suppose anxiety shows up – a very common painful emotion that we all get to experience. Anxiety shows up, the struggle switch goes on. "Oh, it's anxiety. I don't like anxiety. I want to get rid of my anxiety. Now I've got anxiety about my anxiety." So it's getting bigger. With the struggle switch on, I now get, "Oh, my anxiety is getting bigger. How do I get rid of my anxiety? Now I've got even more anxiety."

With the struggle switch on, I may then get angry about my anxiety. "Why does this anxiety keep showing up? I hate this anxiety." Then I might even start to feel sad about my anger. "Is this my life?" And then I may start to feel guilty about my sadness about my anger. "How pathetic am I when there are starving kids in Africa?"

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