Try This Anxiety Hack
I use this technique to calm my nerves and rewire my brain before going into an anxiety-inducing situation
I used to have a crippling fear of flying on planes. And public speaking. The thought of either one would create an immediate burning knot in my stomach and have me worrying for days and sometimes weeks before I even had to face the actual situation.
At times, these things still bring me a great deal of anxiety. But over time, I've found some techniques to help me calm my nerves and reduce the amount of stress I have to experience.
See, when you're feeling anxious about an upcoming situation, your brain has a way of firing off thoughts about all the possible things that could go wrong. It's like your mind goes into negative overdrive.
What this hack does is it flips the script and instead puts your brain into positive overdrive.
If you've ever heard that old proverb about feeding the wolves of your mind, that is exactly what we are trying to accomplish here. We are aiming to feed the positivity wolf so it can grow stronger while we silence the negative wolf.
"There are two wolves fighting in your mind. Which one will win? The one you feed."
This practice has worked well for me when attempting to calm my fear of flying and I feel it can be applied to many other anxiety-inducing situations as well.
To perform this hack, all you need is a something to write on and something to write with. You can do this exercise in your head as well but physically transcribing your thoughts is a calming practice in itself that has plenty of anxiety benefits so I recommend writing if you can.
Simply start by listing all the things you're excited about or looking forward to regarding the situation. You may have to think really hard and force yourself to come up with a list but that is the point- up until this point you've mainly been focusing on the negative.
For example, if you're scared of flying on planes you could list things like:
- I'm excited for the plane snacks
- I'm excited to listen to music and read a book
- I'm really excited about the fun things I'm going to do at my destination
- I love getting food at the airport
- I like the view from the plane window
Keep adding more and more things to your list, 5 at a time, pushing yourself to think deeper in detail with each bullet point. Do this until you fill up the sheet of paper, run out of things to write, or until your mind feels a bit more at ease.
Remember to remain mindful of your thoughts even after you complete this practice. Negative, stressful thoughts are still going to creep in here and there. But any time you feel these anxiety-inducing thoughts coming back, I want you to immediately think of 3 positive thoughts/things you're excited about. Keep doing this each time one of those thoughts pop up- overshadow them with positivity.
Perform these mindful tasks as often as possible and your thought patterns will eventually begin to shift. Your brain will become conditioned and programmed to think of the positives thoughts first rather than the negative thoughts.
Let me know how this works for you in the comments:)