Hello and welcome to this calming and uplifting session. For some people anxiety is closely linked with panic so I have written detailed information about this which I hope you find useful, some of it may apply to you and some will not. It may also be be useful to purchase the session on depression.
How to ease panic
Panic and fear can come on suddenly or gradually but as soon as you notice it, follow these steps (this is called grounding):
Feel your feet firmly on the floor
Place your hand on your heart
Notice 5 blue or red things in the room
Say your name and age out loud
Say to yourself, My brain is remembering something that isn’t happening now…. Its not happening now. My brain is remembering something from long long ago and its not happening now, it is perfectly safe right now.
Repeat your name and age and anything that is happening in the present: the season, the sound of the washing machine, birds etc who is with you.
Look for the 5 blue or red things again
Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly
Repeat above as many times as you like.
This helps because you are maintaining conscious logic while the limbic area of the brain is attempting to overwhelm. The more you do this, the more open the conscious mind stays so you cannot be entirely taken over.
Many people have fear of emotions and feelings.They will do anything to not feel emotions, the problem is, emotions can be very strong and if you are in control of acknowledging them, a little bit at a time (NOT all at once) then you can begin to balance your mind and create peace. Even when you are trying to control emotions and keep them down, your body and mind know they are there.
On the other hand, your thoughts can change the way you experience emotion, so changing negative thoughts to a positive will help, although this has to make utter sense, e.g. “I know I’m obsessing right now, it will be more helpful to use this focus of attention on making a really nice dinner. I can still think while I make..”
or, “Im so annoyed with myself,” can be changed to, “right now , I’m having a hard time, but its not forever and I am able to deal with it, just as I’ve always done. ”
Nightmares are your brains way of attempting to resolve what hasn’t been resolved. Like a reminder and they can be distorted and incredibly frightening. They may come as a result of how a person has been feeling that day and what you have or haven’t been doing. So, the more peaceful you can be the less chance of nightmares. Use your thoughts and language here to manage deep feelings (see above and below).
Throughout the day, notice tension and then let it go. Knowing that you have done this before and you will do it again. Tension sends signals to your brain that its not safe, resulting in panic and fear.
Intrusive thoughts are there to keep us safe, to make sure that every road has been scanned for danger as your mind can go down one pathway and then lead to many more and the thoughts can escalate further and further…..attempting to stop these thoughts can make them worse, it is effective to talk to yourself here…
I know what you are doing and I’ve always been in control, always managed situations with calm and strength even unpredictable ones.
I’m just going through a tough time right now, I’ve had tough times before and I’ve always got better and stronger again. However, I appreciate you showing me what to look out for and stay safe.
I appreciate these thoughts as you are reminding me to look out for myself and my family. Right now, we are simply watching TV , having dinner, its safe and warm. I will turn my attention back to these thoughts later.
When you give intrusive thoughts attention and acknowledgement they will ease. They clamour for attention when they are pushed away. So always talk to them. If you feel strong resistance to them, again, talk to the resistance, if you let go just a tiny bit, then the thoughts will ease a tiny bit, if your resistance is too strong, then acknowledge that, resistance is strength and control and pushes out unhelpful things.
You can also reduce anger and frustration in this way; tell yourself to totally get why you are so annoyed, in fact tell yourself that you would also be annoyed if this happened to you as well. Validate your feelings 100%. It is surprising how quickly strong feelings ease when you do this.
Notice all the ways in which you have helped yourself before, and not only yourself but other people. Think of all the times you have been strong, capable and totally in control and notice how you can do this again with your own self that needs help right now, you can help yourself just as you always have. Just as you have helped others.
Acknowledging, talking to feelings will reduce them and in turn will reduce the need to suppress them, focus your thought pattern on:
It will be great when I am myself again.
When my mind is clear I won’t have trouble making sense off my thoughts and acknowledging them.
Other people will be proud of me when I am managing my own self again like I have always done before.
Mindful body scans and deep breathing are effective because they still the mind and reassure your brain how safe it is right now. If the body is calm, the mind is calm.. keep going with these, find new ones make it an even stronger focus in your life.
All this takes practice and it is incredibly helpful to remind yourself of moments when you have been strong, calm and totally in control..with ease and confidence.
It is also helpful to know that the more a person attempts to control themselves, the more that control can end up taking over you and getting out of control and ending up in unwanted behaviours… so allow your body to be calm and relaxed while at the same time noticing obsessive thoughts without pushing them away. Its like noticing with an impartial stance. Tell them that you are listening to them and reassure them. You can also let them know that they are overwhelming you and need to relax a bit.
Notice/acknowledge/ talk to yourself and above be kind to yourself and don’t get annoyed with yourself. If you find yourself annoyed with your self, tell yourself to leave you alone, that you will be fine. This creates a good sense of self.
Write down a list of empowered moments throughout your life, where you stood tall, had confidence, were utterly respectful with integrity. When you were the person you want to be.. will be again. In fact you’ve always been this person, there is just an aspect that has taken over and made it difficult to see your true self.
If any feelings language makes you feel worse then instead use thinking language like, I know this, what do I think about that, this is logical because…..I am good at concentrating, I am not good at cooking but I can work things out. I don’t need this but I do need that etc etc. There isn’t a good reason that I know of that’s making me behave like this, I don’t understand it and I shall do something about it now. The past is in the past and this is now. I might not be capable today but I will be tomorrow. I know it will feel good when I’m active again. That anxiety is not my identity.
I hope this has been helpful and not too overwhelming (there is a lot of information here).