Amidst these unprecedented times it should come as no surprise that an increasing number of us find ourselves battling fear and anxiety.
For those that resonate with the mainstream story, the fear likely revolves around ourselves or a loved one catching this rapidly spreading virus, and we therefore have anxiety surrounding everything we interact with in any capacity. While for those who buy into one of the seemingly endless alternative perspectives, the fear and anxiety are likely connected to what draconian measures are to potentially come of this.
Regardless of which side you fall on, or if you believe yourself to be somewhere in between, I’d like to focus on practical tools that we can all use to help keep both our fear and anxiety at bay. Not only to assist us mentally and emotionally, but to also empower us to better sift through this current situation and find our truth without fear or anxiety leading us astray.
Breathing To Change The Fear Centers of Your Brain
The first tool that I would like to present is a breathing technique for managing fear shared by Joan Borysenko, PhD as part of her filming session for the documentary HEAL. The technique she outlines is designed to calm the central nervous system and help with the release of the neurotransmitter GABA, which directly changes and positively impacts the fear centers of the brain. Learn the full technique by watching this 1 minute and 30 second video:
I’ve personally been utilizing this technique daily for weeks, both to help keep my fear at bay when I feel it arising and as the opening to one of my regular meditation practices. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful, especially when I’m able to make the air that I am breathing fresh outdoor air rather than largely recycled indoor air.
“Attacking” Your Anxiety With Gratitude
I know that on the surface the idea of utilizing gratitude in any capacity may sound like a “fluffy” or “woo-woo” way to cope with something as overwhelming as fear or anxiety. But as a former severe anxiety sufferer (WATCH MY FULL STORY) I can honestly say that it was one of the most powerful tools I successfully used to regularly conquer my anxiety despite its simplicity.
The idea here is that whenever you find yourself either on the cusp or in the midst of an anxiety attack, to immediately challenge yourself to list off as many things as you can that you are grateful for in life. Initially in these moments your mind may overwhelm you into believing that there really isn’t much, but deep down we ALL, no matter our circumstances, always have plenty to be grateful for in life.
Allow yourself to be broad (example: I am grateful to have a roof over my head) or specific (example: I am grateful for the way my dog Buttons always greets me with so much love and excitement) and to list off as many things as you can come up with, with no filter.
What makes this simple technique so powerful is not only does it actively remind you of the evidently positive factors in your life, but it also preoccupies your mind with a task. It’s this preoccupation that strips your mind away from feeding your fear and anxiety the stories and beliefs that it is not only used to but also fully dependent on to maintain itself in an “attack mode.”
Don’t believe you’ll be able to come up with things that you are grateful for in life? Go through my free list of 100 common gratitude statements for a little inspiration HERE
And if anxiety happens to play a prominent role in your life and you’re ready to put the work in to conquer it more formally for good, then I encourage you to check out my online course The Hack Anxiety Toolbox. The course is filled with over 3 hours of on-demand video and 20 downloadable resources that all share everything I used to successfully conquer my own anxiety. Take the first lesson for free and get lifetime access to the course for only $12.99 USD ($82 off the regular price) by going to THIS LINK before June 14th, 2020.