Are you one of those who
- Wakes up, starts thinking about today’s to-do list, and feels intense heaviness and tightness on the body?
- Opens the eyes, begins to worry about what might happen, and feels heartbeat racing and breathing fast?
- Thinks, oh crap pills don’t work on me and I can’t see my doctor/therapist today, what can I do?
- Feel, I’m too tired to even move, or I’m just feeling paralyzed not knowing what to do...
Panic attack as a result of overthinking and over worrying, shows signs of insecurity behind which is the fear of “something bad might happen”.
But the truth is, by labelling yourself as “I have panic attack” “I need meds” is like putting youridentify on a victim status and accepting that “I’m ill”. With that identity you’re allowing “I get stuck” to plant the seeds.
That is not what you really want, isn’t it? You want to be free of it, be the victor, and cultivate the ability to handle any challenging situations without panic attack, don’t you?
A simple and yet effective tip to flip from victim to victor is a quick linguistic tweak. When you begin to worry about “What if xyz” in an internal sentence, add a word “So” and a “,” in that sentence:
“SO WHAT, IF xyz”.
Read that new sentence again, “SO WHAT, IF xyz”, again” SO WHAT, IF xyz”.
Feeling the difference now? This shift in wording is not to meant to avoid the issue, simplify the problem, or ignore what must be done for healing. It’s to bring you a perspective to recheck the reality, stop blowing things out of proportion, and reverse all those patterns of
- All or nothing thinking
- Over generalizing
- Mentally filtering out the positive aspects
- Disqualifying the positive
- Jumping into conclusions quickly
- Magnifying the negatives and minimizing the positives
- Emotional reasoning for the worse scenario
- Critical wording to yourself such as “should” “must” “ought”
- Labelling yourself with victim or loser identity
- Personalizing responsibility as something must be wrong with you and that’s all your fault
Another fundamental element that you know but often forget or overlook when you get panic attack, is the importance to relax. Relaxation slows down heartbeat and breathing rate, lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, maintains normal blood sugar levels, reduces activity of stress hormones, increases blood flow to major muscles, and reduces tension and chronic pain, stiffness, migraine, etc.
Here is a quick exercise you can do relax almost instantly when you wake up with panic attack.
- Notice that panic attack and give it a color/shape, let’s say for example red circle.
- Name a feeling that you’d rather have such as peace or calmness and give it another color/shape, let’s say green triangle.
- Inhale and imagine breathing in that calm and peaceful green triangle.
- Exhale twice longer and imagine releasing that red circle of panic.
- Repeat the process, each time inhale a little longer and hold the breath, and exhale slowly, twice longer.
- Continue this awareness breathing a few more times until the panic is not attacking you anymore.
You might wonder will this work because it seems so simple? It’s simple but not simplistic. You breathe 24/7 so this is the handiest tool available to you that you can easily do without even moving in bed.
And this is a BABY STEP that works. Here’s why.
When you feel “I can’t do anything” then don’t force yourself as that will just create a mental block to resist any change actions. Just take a BABY STEP to inhale and exhale slowly while thinking about the in/out of the colors, notice any changes in feelings/sensations, and just that.
Because every little step, is more forward than staying and getting stuck. That’s right. The last thing you want to do is to stay at Step Zero, so any small steps is good enough, much better than no steps.
There’s no perfect way of doing these two exercises, as there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s only you, allowing the time and space to address panic attack, in simple but consistent steps moving forward.