Anxiety can cause a variety of physical symptoms, and it can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. However, the brain contains many of the causes and intensifiers of anxiety. No, I’m not suggesting that it’s all in your head.
What I do want you to understand is that your mind plays a significant role in both the creation of the condition and its manifestation. As a result, you can control and tame this ferocious beast by employing mental strategies. Continue reading to learn how gratitude can help you overcome anxiety.
A number of studies have shown that gratitude has both physical and mental health benefits. Gratitude has been shown to reduce physical pain and improve sleep. It can lead to more positive thoughts, which in turn influence more positive behaviors. The link between thoughts and subsequent actions or behaviors is strong.
In fact, gratitude has been shown to stimulate the hypothalamus. This area of the brain is in charge of functions such as metabolism, stress, and sleep. Furthermore, being grateful can activate brain regions that produce the feel-good neurochemical dopamine.
As we have just learned, good sleep habits are essential for overcoming anxiety and depression. Positive behavior can simply make you feel better about yourself and make you more productive.
When you accomplish more, you are less likely to be concerned about the consequences of not doing so, and you worry less. Feeling optimistic and thankful leaves no room for negative emotions such as anxiety or sadness. Making gratitude a habit starts a chain reaction that changes your perspective and, possibly, your life.
So, how do you get started on your path to being more grateful? There are truly no limits to the possibilities, but I’m happy to make some suggestions to get you started.
You’ll discover that being grateful is a habit that improves with practice. Once you get started, you’ll probably notice yourself looking on the bright side and being grateful for what you have far more often than you did previously.
One of the simplest ways to express gratitude is to thank someone. It can be as simple as a verbal acknowledgement during the course of your day when someone does something nice for you, or it can be as elaborate as writing a heartfelt note to a special friend or loved one.
Another strategy is to review your week and make a list of at least three things that were fantastic or went well. It’s human nature to focus on the bad. Make a concerted effort to change that by recognizing the good stuff as well. You’ll see that things aren’t always as bad as they appear. One final suggestion is to perform acts of kindness. Make a note of who you can assist this week. Helping others has a way of revealing how many good qualities we have.
Who knew that something as simple as being grateful could have such an impact on anxiety reduction? This practice may not come naturally at first, but making gratitude a habit is well worth the effort if you want to feel less anxious.
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