I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the middle of the night, and I was alone pacing across the lawn of my dad's backyard lit by nothing but the moon. I'm not typically an insomniac, but my anxiety had made me into one, and this particular bout with it was undoubtedly one of the most exhausting I had ever endured.
It was the tenth straight day that severe anxiety refused to let up within me. I barely slept, had no appetite, and had no solution -despite the incredible love and support that I had from those close to me at the time. I was fully convinced that I would be stuck either in an anxiety attack, or living in fear of the next one, for the rest of my life.
That night will officially celebrate its 5 year anniversary in April, and more importantly I will be celebrating 3 years without anxiety ever seriously attempting to butt itself back into my life.
But getting to this point wasn't easy. As many of you reading this likely know, anxiety can be overwhelming, relentless, exhausting and a number of other largely unpleasant adjectives both individually and simultaneously. Conquering it for this long -and hopefully for good -has taken a lot of research and persistence, but the good news is that I'd like to share with you one of the simplest tools I often found to be among the most powerful at keeping anxiety at bay.
You Can't Say I Didn't Warn You
I will warn you that on the surface, this particular method for stopping an anxiety attack may seem incredibly simplistic. But I challenge you to go beyond how your mind may initially want to judge it and to instead give it a fair shot (and yes that means trying it more than once), since it can actually be quite powerful.
It has not only helped me on countless occasions to both stop or prevent an attack, I've also coached several others through it, all of which now sing its praises as one of the quickest techniques that they can readily turn to.
Attack It With Gratitude
The name that I have given this particular tool is 'Attack It With Gratitude.' And as the name suggests it involves countering your pending or existing panic and anxiety with thoughts centered around things that you are grateful for.
What makes this simple mental activity so powerful is that even thought anxiety attacks can quite easily engage and overwhelm our entire body -preventing us from being able to function in even the most simple of ways -the main aspect fuelling its existence is our thoughts.
It's OUR THOUGHTS that sell us on the idea that we are not okay right now. It's OUR THOUGHTS that make us believe that we will never be able to function normally again. So it's therefore OUR THOUGHTS that we want to reclaim the driver seat from, since they are at the core of what we are either on the cusp of or currently experiencing.
By forcing ourselves to list off things that you are grateful for in life, you're commanding those thoughts in a direction that starves rather than feeds the anxiety.
I've Got Nothing To Be Grateful For
We all know that life is inherently quite challenging, but I am a firm believer that no matter how difficult things are for you right now, we all always have plenty to be grateful for. To help spark your realization of this you can start by being incredibly simplistic (Examples: I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my dog). Or if it's easier you can get specific (Example: I am grateful for the way that my dog Sparky looks at me when I get home from work every day).
Literally list off anything and everything that comes to mind. And if this really doesn't come naturally to you, that's okay! I really want you to try using this technique, so I've put together a list of 100 GRATITUDE STATEMENTS for us all to consider being grateful for.
Of course not all of these statements will apply to you, but many of them will, and even those that don't may trigger others that you did not initially think of.
It's also important to note that the primary goal of the exercise is not to consistently list off as many things as you can, but to instead refocus your mind away from the anxiety. So whether you're steadily listing things off, or you find yourself pre-occupied with trying to think of the next one, you're still stealing the processing power that otherwise would be consumed with convincing you as to why you should be freaking out right now.
I'm Ready To Conquer My Anxiety For Good
While this technique certainly is powerful, it's definitely not the only thing that I had to equip myself with on my journey to becoming anxiety-free. If you're ready to put the necessary work in to properly conquer your anxiety for good, I encourage you to check out my course The Hack Anxiety Toolbox on Udemy.
For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Instagram. And to receive my free eBook on 5 Simple Daily Hacks For A Genuinely Happier Life click HERE.