Today on Facebook a friend posted a tip on what to do if you experience an anxiety attack: look around, find things you can see, hear, touch etc. The tip called it, ‘grounding’. A commenter noted, ‘This is called mindfulness’.
Without detracting from the usefulness of the advice, my thought was that this tip also reveals something of how a 3 Principles understanding helps anxiety. It looks upstream of both the technique and mindfulness, to where the anxiety attack comes from. The feeling of anxiety, no matter how extreme, is being innocently and automatically created within the mind of the sufferer. This is why not everyone in the same circumstance, is experiencing an anxiety attack. That deeply unpleasant feeling is a reflection of highly anxious thoughts. The reason the tip works, when it does, is that the person is distracted from the anxious thinking [which is creating the anxious experience] into searching for, noticing and counting everyday objects. In counting and focussing on ordinary, unthreatening items the anxious thinking dies away, as does the feeling of anxiety.
Once someone really ‘gets’ at a deep level that their feelings, even anxiety attacks, are being created within themselves, the symptoms often lessen, become less frequent or disappear. Having an insight about the process of creating anxiety involves a deeper learning than just reading the words – just as learning to ride a bike involves something more than reading instructions. And – like learning to cycle – once this fact is grasped, the transformation is permanent. Such an insight can be hugely helpful during periods of anxiety. People seem to settle down more when they understand the true source of their feelings. Recent research summarised at http://www.3pgc.org/research/ noted an improvement in flourishing mental health of over 400% in people who underwent a 4 day training in 3 Principles.