How to Use the Practice of Gratitude to Ease Anxiety
The following article is written by Angelina Anzalone, creator of https://coffeewithasplashofgratitude.com. For more information about Angelina, including how you can follow her, please read the author notes at the end of the article
Most, if not all of us are familiar with the jerk we like to call anxiety. Anxiety is a bully in every sense of the word, and we can shed some positive light to get rid of our internal bully through the practice of gratitude. By definition: Anxiety – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Notice in the definition of anxiety there is mention of “an imminent event.” These events are what I like to consider the root cause of anxiety. However, a lot of anxiety comes after these events as well. The tools we use to help break down our internal bully can be applied before or after these events. What are these tools? The tools we are going to discuss are broken down into steps. These steps can be mixed and matched – or we can just incorporate one of these steps (whatever fits best into your practice).
Step 1: Remove yourself from the event/situation.
Anxiety is the type of bully that likes to creep up on us – sometimes it’s a slow creep – other times it hits us like a ton of bricks. Either way, when we begin to feel anxious we need to take a step back and focus on one thing – our breath.
When we become anxious our heart rate tends to increase. Using various breathing techniques we can slow our heart rate and bring ourselves back to the center. Slow breaths in (through your nose) – breathing in positivity & slow breaths out (through your mouth) – pushing out the negativity. While focusing on our breathing, we also need to focus on what we can be grateful for in association with this event. Be grateful for the fact that you’re alive and able to access tools that will help you get through this – as one event is minuscule in the scheme of life.
Step 2: Evaluate the Event/Situation and Come Up with a Plan of a|Action.
Once we are able to bring ourselves back to center – it is time to evaluate why this event triggers our anxiety and come up with a plan of action to battle this anxiety should it creep up on us again. This method allows us to break down our internal thoughts and feelings on paper. Laying it all out in front of us will give us a better understanding of how we can tackle this feeling. Documenting our hopeful outcome from our action plan will help us start to feel those results –
to internally know that this outcome is achievable.
Step 3: Analyzing our Belief System.
There are two types of belief systems: Limiting & Empowering. Having a limiting belief system opens the door for our bully anxiety to walk right on into our lives. Whereas having an empowering belief system will help us close & lock that door so anxiety can’t break through. With this being said – sometimes anxiety slips through the cracks but tapping into our empowering belief system will aid us in getting rid of our anxiety sooner rather than later.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are the things we tell ourselves that have a negative connotation. They are the “I can’t” – “I’ll never make it” – “I’m not strong enough” thoughts that
are commonly associated with anxiety.
take our limiting beliefs and turn them right around into “I CAN!” – “I’M GOING TO MAKE IT!” – “I’M MORE THAN STRONG ENOUGH!” Working on having this type of
belief system will in turn program our brain to tackle events that trigger our anxiety in a more forceful way – to attack these events with so much power & positivity that anxiety can’t creep up on us successfully. An empowering belief system allows us to see the good in an event – to be grateful for various things associated with an event, that well we most likely wouldn’t be grateful for with a limiting belief system. This step is one that takes practice. It doesn’t come easy – especially living in a world full of negativity. BUT if we continue to focus on the good in the world – on exuding the positive light for ourselves and others – over time this belief system will become natural…and then we can say “see ya later anxiety!” and know that we have the tools to battle this bully should they ever try to creep up on us again.
grow through them.