You’re about to learn a simple, but valuable technique to use when you’re in mental distress.

Before we dive into the actual technique  it’s important to understand that it does not fix anything. That emotional trauma you sustained when you saw your grandmother in a Wonderwoman costume is still there.

Rather, this mental technique works like icy hot. Icy hot is an analgesic, meaning it renders you unable to feel pain.

Our brains cannot interpret two intense signals at once. By putting Icy Hot over an injured area it overrides the nervous system causing your brain to register the Icy Hot signals instead of the pain signals. But the problem causing the pain signal is still there.

It works the same way with emotions. For example, it’s impossible to feel anxiety and gratitude simultaneously. So the next time you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed use this technique for temporary relief.

  1. Go to a new location that you find relaxing. Some place close and convenient. Maybe a spot outside with a nice view of the sky or someplace in your house that makes you feel safe.
  2. Take 10 deep breaths (3 seconds in through your nose, 7 seconds out through your mouth) to calm your nervous system.
  3. Think of 3 things you are grateful for.
  4. Say each of those things out loud and visualize them. Example: “I am grateful for my family,” while visualizing the happiest Christmas you had together.

After you’re done you will feel 300% better. But remember, that jerk Rob at the office who’s causing your anxiety is still going to be there. You have to deal with Rob or this will not go away.

On hard days this technique can give you the mental boost to confront Rob and demand he stops stealing the mini-Snickers bars from your desk drawer!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/application_uploads/Emmons-CountingBlessings.pdf

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

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