How to Practise the Art of Gratitude for Ending Anxious Thoughts?


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Gratitude Lifts the Weight of Anxiety

Let me tell you why the art of gratitude is such a great tool for ending anxious thoughts.

A lot of people write telling me how their anxiety makes them feel very cut off or removed from the world around them. This sensation can be distressing as people fear that they will never be able to feel normal again.

This feeling is common and in my experience is mainly fuelled by a cycle of anxious thinking.

A person with a panic disorder or a generalized anxiety disorder will spend much of their day mentally “checking in”.

Checking in is a term I use to refer to how people with anxiety constantly monitor their mind and body.

“Am I feeling ok?” “How are my thoughts?”

“Am I feeling secure or on edge right now?”

The reason regular checking in happens is because anxiety has such a powerful effect on the mind and body.

People tell me that they can deal with the anxious bodily sensations but it is the anxious mind that causes them most distress. That is what I want to address today.

Anxiety can often feel like a thick fog has surrounded your mind. Nothing really seems enjoyable as you are always looking out at the world through this haze of anxious thoughts and feelings. This fog steals the joy out of life and can make you feel removed or cut off from the world.

The anxious thoughts act as a barrier to experiencing the world and this sensation of separation then leads to feeling even more upset as you fear losing touch with yourself.

So how do you get this anxious fog to lift from your mind?

When someone is very caught up in anxious thoughts they are top heavy so to speak. The constant mental activity they are engaged in has caused an imbalance where all of their focus is on their mental anxieties.

A powerful way to move out of this anxious mental fog is to switch your focus from your head to your heart.

By simply making a deliberate shift of attention to your heart you will find the anxious thoughts dissipate more easily and the mental fog starts to gradually clear.

You can make this switch by practicing the art of gratitude.

I am sure you have heard of people speaking about the art of gratitude and the benefits it can bring to you.

Did you know that it has now been scientifically proven that regular practice of gratitude can dramatically change your bodies chemistry giving way to a more peaceful body and mind?

The Heart Math Institute has 15 years of scientific research proving that a simple tool like the art of gratitude can dramatically reduce stress and improve performance for individuals and organizations.

Many Fortune 500 companies are now starting to use this technique to reduce work related stress.

I am going to outline the technique briefly in a very straight forward exercise so you can start practicing right now.

When you practice this exercise you will feel a lightness and greater sense of perspective on any matter that has been troubling you. This activation of your heart emotion will lift the sensation that anxious thoughts create.

This is a very simple exercise but it is really powerful. Print it off and try it someplace where you can be alone.

Are you ready?

-Begin by closing your eyes and moving your attention to your heart area.

-Imagine a feeling of warmth emanating from the center of your chest.

If appropriate, place your right hand on your heart area. If you are around people or driving etc. simply imagine your right hand resting on your heart area.

Imagine this area glowing warmly for one to two minutes.

-Now, begin to focus on something in your life that you feel a genuine sense of appreciation for.

This can be one or more things that you really appreciate having in your life (e.g., family, health, friends, work, your home, a beautiful day etc).

It is important to focus on things that spark a real sense of gratitude and appreciation. If you really appreciate the thing you are thinking about, you will immediately feel a response from that area by way of a light warm sensation in your chest or an involuntary smile (remember those).

It does not really matter what you think about as long as it evokes this feeling of warm appreciation from your heart area.

Don’t struggle with this exercise. Everyone has something they can be grateful for. (Remember, the cemetery is full of people who would love to have your problems!)

Do not worry if you are thinking of your partner/family and you do not feel this. Some days it will be people close to you that will spark the heart feeling, other days it may be gratitude for very simple things like the fresh air you breath. It depends on the mood you are in, -remember it is the feeling you after.

The feeling we are looking to achieve is unmistakable, it is a positive change in your emotional state.

I say it is best to do this exercise alone because you will need to stay with this feeling for as long as you can.

Then, when you feel you have taken it as far as you can, open your eyes.

There is no time frame on this exercise, it can be a few minutes to half an hour.

Again it is about establishing a heart/mind connection and getting your awareness out of the anxious thoughts and more into your body.

After a few attempts you can incorporate this into your daily routine.

Do it in the car! Do it while sitting at your desk. Do it before you sleep at night.

You have to practice it frequently. Just like a muscle your heart will get more accustomed to this state and you will be able to switch into that feeling in seconds.

With practice you can also use this exercise in the middle of any stressful situation. You will be surprised at the positive outcome in terms of your own stress levels and the change in others around you.

This simple exercise can completely transform the outcome of interacting with other people, be it work or personal relationships.

This is especially true where there is conflict or misunderstanding between you and other people. Try it out, see what happens!

Be creative with it and make it your own daily ritual for yourself.

I am sure you agree that it is a worthwhile exercise to incorporate into your daily life. It is my experience that most people do not have the patience or time to make major lifestyle changes. By using this one simple exercise you can make a dramatic improvement to the quality of your life.

The simplest things in life are free and this is one of those gems.

Don’t pass it up

For topics related to ending anxious thoughts, watch this video – How to end stress, unhappiness and anxiety to live in a beautiful state | Preetha ji | TEDxKC

Kind Regards, Barry McDonagh

Learn more about Panic Away here: PanicAway.com

By Barry McDonagh, who is an international panic disorder coach. He created the Panic Away program to help people around the world deal with their anxiety and avoid panic attacks – a subject that he is personally attuned to because he himself found that he was prone to these issues since he was young. His hatred of his powerless lead him down the path of finding natural ways to treat himself without having to depend on expensive medications.

His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here: Keep Panic Attacks Away – How to Practise the Art of Gratitude for Ending Anxious Thoughts?

What is the Best Way to Overcome Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks?


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Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks

There is phobia that is linked to the experience of panic attacks, and that is agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places such as shopping markets. It is a fear associated with leaving a safe zone, such as the home.

Because of a feeling of being vulnerable, people who experience this fear often suffer from panic attacks in these “open” situations. It is true to say many people who have regular panic attacks experience different degrees of agoraphobia.

Some have a lingering background anxiety about being away from home should they experience a panic attack. Other people are so immobilized by this fear that they find it very difficult to leave their home for even a short period.

The thinking behind agoraphobia usually follows the line that were a panic attack to occur, who would look after the person, how would he or she get the assistance and reassurance they needed?

The vulnerability grows from the feeling that once victims of agoraphobia are caught in the anxiety, they are suddenly unable to look after themselves and are therefore at the mercy of the place they find themselves in and the strangers around them. In its extreme form, agoraphobia and panic attacks can lead to a situation where people become housebound for numerous years.

Please note, this is by no means a hopeless situation, and I always need to reinforce the fact that something only becomes hopeless once the person really believes that to be the case.

To begin with, the primary issue that needs to be addressed is the belief in the safe zone. To clarify, when I talk about safe zone, I am referring to the zone where the person believes panic attacks do not occur, or at least occur infrequently. As comfort is found there, it is where the person tends to spend more and more time.

The safe zone of anxiety is a myth sustained by the mind. The mind has developed a habit of thinking that dictates that being inside the safe zone is the only place to feel secure and avoid agoraphobia and panic attacks.

If agoraphobia is an issue for you, watch as your mind comes up with reasons why it believes only a certain area is safe and another is not. Those reasons range from being near the phone or people you trust to having familiar physical surroundings to reassure you.

The reality of anxiety is that there is no such thing as a safe zone. There is nothing life threatening about a panic attack, and therefore sitting at home is the same as sitting under the stars on a desert island. Of course, your mind will immediately rush to tell you that a desert island is a ridiculous place to be as there are no hospitals, no tranquillisers, no doctors, NO SAFETY.

You need to review your previous experiences of panic attacks. Aren’t you still here, alive and well, after all those attacks during which you were convinced you were going to die?

It may be that on occasions you have been driven to the hospital where they did medicate you to calm you down, but do you really believe that you would not have survived were it not for the drugs? You would have. If the same bout of anxiety had occurred on this desert island, it too would have passed, even if you were all alone.

Yes, when it comes to conditions that need medical attention such as asthma, diabetes, and a whole litany or other conditions, then having medical aid nearby is a big asset, but no doctor in the world would tell someone with anxiety that there are only specific safe zones in which she or he can move.

As I know more than anyone how terrifying it can feel to move out of your safe zone as the feeling of fear is welling up inside, I do not wish to sound harsh.

This course is not about chastising people for their behaviours. It is a way of looking together at solutions and seeing through the myths that form prison walls. The goal is to enable you to return to a richer and more meaningful life and ultimately defeat your agoraphobia and panic attacks.

I also realize that people around you cannot understand why a trip to shops would cause you such discomfort. You will have to forgive them and try not to be upset by their lack of understanding of your problem.

If an individual such as a partner or family member has not had a similar anxiety issue, that person may often find it hard to understand and empathize with what you are going through. I am sure you have been dragged out of the house numerous times against your will, kicking and screaming. This can then lead to tensions and arguments and is upsetting as it can make you feel less understood by those around you.

People around agoraphobics are often simply trying what they feel is best. If you can see that their intentions are well meaning (although often misguided), then you will be able to relate to them better and help sooth any potential conflicts.

There is one thing I am sure you will agree with, and that is that the only person who will get you out of agoraphobic thinking is yourself. These are your thoughts, and only you can begin to change that pattern.

Dealing with long term agoraphobia and panic attacks is a slow process to begin with, but once the results start happening, it moves faster and faster until you reach a point where you will find it hard to believe that going out was such a difficult task.

To learn how to overcome agoraphobia and panic attacks, watch this video – Anxiety Help: How To Stop Anxiety and Agoraphobia (for REAL)

By Barry McDonagh, who is an international panic disorder coach. He created the Panic Away program to help people around the world deal with their anxiety and avoid panic attacks – a subject that he is personally attuned to because he himself found that he was prone to these issues since he was young. His hatred of his powerless lead him down the path of finding natural ways to treat himself without having to depend on expensive medications.

His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here: Overcome Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks