I had my first anxiety attack when I was 15 years old, although I didn’t know then that’s what it was. It was my first day at a new school. My parents had moved me to Florida, and I was resisting the change with every fiber of my being. I’d always been a worrier since I was a little girl. If my parents were late to pick me up I would fret and my mind would race imagining all the terrible things that I was sure happened to them.
In my twenties I was anxious about living in a body that would die some day. I didn’t understand what my body really was, how it worked, and how to keep it healthy. I was terrified of disease and my ultimate death. At different times in my life I’ve struggled with crippling and immense fear.
The book that saved me from my brain was “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I learned how to take control of my thoughts by bringing myself to the present moment. In the book, Eckhart guides you to be fully present by paying attention to your breath and your senses. “What is wrong at this very moment?” he asks. Most of our problems are in the past or in the future. This was the first time I ever heard that I had any control over my thoughts, and it was extremely liberating for me. I started replacing scary thoughts with thoughts I wanted to have.
In the summer of 2013, anxiety returned again. Surprisingly, it returned after I had done a lot of personal work and healing. It’s as though it was saying, “Are you sure you’re done with me?” I felt trapped and desperate to be free of the anxiety once and for all. One morning I practiced this chanting meditation: aap sahaee hoa. I felt myself open up. For a few minutes the anxiety was gone, and my spirit was soaring- happy and free. I started practicing this meditation daily, relishing in the few minutes of peace. Finally, I decided to block the thoughts and the mind state that was causing my anxiety by forcing new thoughts into my brain. I repeated over and over and over to myself, “I am so healthy. My brain is a peaceful place.” Literally within minutes I felt better. I was skeptical that I would return to the anxious state, but when I did, I would simply repeat those comforting mantras. I am now completely over anxiety and worry. I’ve even overcome my fear of death.
The way I overcame my anxiety is by will and with patience. I had to reprogram my brain. I replaced scary thoughts with peaceful thoughts, and I decided to build my brain the way I wanted it to be. I saturated myself in yoga and meditation so that I could acquaint myself with the real Brittany, the Brittany that’s beyond my thoughts.
Here are some mantras I recommend:
- Om, peace, peace, peace
- My brain is a peaceful place
- I am so healthy
- I am peace
- I am safe
Those are just a few recommendations, but you can repeat anything that feels good to you. What kind of a place do you want your brain to be? Simply replace the scary thought that’s haunting you with its opposite. If you’re scared about your finances, repeat, “I am safe. I am abundant.” If you’re anxious about what people think of you, “People love me. I love you so much.”.
The act of reprogramming your brain gives you power and authority over your life. This sense of control will also help with anxiety. Be patient. You don’t reprogram your brain overnight. I will tell you, however, that you can reprogram your brain a lot faster than you think you can. As humans, we are extremely adaptable.
Our thoughts create chemicals in our brains. We literally become addicted to the chemicals released and thus to the thoughts that release them. Commit to repeating your mantras all day every day. I promise you, you will be shocked at the results.
When you’re dealing with anxiety and an extremely active brain, I highly recommend mantra meditations. Mantra meditations are an ancient technology that are proven to put you into the energy of the mantra. Each mantra carries its own special, unique energy. You can find many, many, many mantra meditations on youtube.
Reprogramming your brain and making it a peaceful place is literally a practice of thinking more positive thoughts than negative ones. Be extremely vigilant. Be extremely mindful. When you notice a thought come up that makes you feel scared or unhappy, forgive yourself and move right along. Don’t identify with the thought. Replace it immediately. Keep breaking that wheel every time, and eventually you will be living in a completely different mind state- one that you can claim as all your own.