5 Ways to Transform Panic Into Serenity
What brings you here?
Some panic attacks will sneak up on you and catcher by surprise, while still others will be easily spotted miles before they consume you. Yet and still, whether a panic attack take you by surprise or manifest right in front of your eyes - so to speak, is entirely irrelevant until you have a firm practice in place to help you alleviate your panics quickly. Then and only then, will you be able to rebuild your "serenity muscles", so that you can proactively prevent future panic attacks altogether.
To help you learn how to do just that, I've decided to share three of my favorite panic attack practices, which not only helped lead to alleviate feelings of extreme anxiety, but have also helped me to cultivate a life in which panic and dread no longer a problem.
One of the panic free practices I'm most grateful to have discovered, is the art of gratuity.
More often than not, when I find myself in the midsts of a panic attack, I find that it's very difficult to think straight, especially if the panic of the moment was over-thinking. So trying to come up with some sort of super complex 20 step process to calm my obsessive rat-mind, would never have worked even if I was somehow capable of using it when it really matter. So instead of trying to use some move are complicated exercise, I found a much more minimalist way to bring myself back into a state of grounded serenity within moments of first noticing my thoughts are getting out of hand. I'm fairly certain it's far from an original thought, though I feel that hardly matters, especially when it comes to authentic and effective anxiety relief. As long as it works and doesn't hurt anyone else, who cares who came up with a first, right?
The process of developing a gratitude practice is pretty much as simple as you can get.
All you really need to do, is to force your mind to focus only on the infinite things in which you have to be grateful for right in that moment.
Start out with the simplest and most obvious things first, like;
- I'm grateful for this fresh air.
- I'm grateful for this earth.
- I'm grateful for this body.
- I'm grateful for this heart.
- I'm grateful for easy natural breaths.
- I'm grateful for this house or car.
- I'm grateful for my friends and loved ones.
- I'm grateful for every calm moment.
- I'm grateful for serenity.
- I'm grateful to be alive.
- I'm grateful for this food.
- I'm grateful for the word gratitude.
- I'm grateful for this practice of gratitude.
- I'm grateful that I'm able to be grateful if any situation.
From there, which are mind has calmed and focused a little more, start looking for the mildly more complex things that you can be grateful for. Some examples that I have used myself, could be things like:
- I'm grateful for the person who wrote about in shared this gratuity practice with me.
- I'm grateful for the infinite experiences I have is already had in my life, and in all that are yet to come.
- I'm grateful for the benevolent assistance of my chosen higher powers.
- I'm grateful for the bright future I have ahead of me.
- I'm grateful for all the bad times in my life, which have taught me to savor and enjoy the good times that much more.
- I'm grateful for every moment I'm able to prove to myself and others, that I am capable of controlling my state of mind it's at any time of my choosing.
You get the idea.
All it really takes is just two or three things to be grateful for, in your already in just mind will pretty much take over the rest for you. Anxiety and panic are both extremely simple and yet conflicts to understand. At times it crops up because we have found ourselves in a place of being unable to focus on anything accept impending disasters. Other times it manifests within us because of an environmental or emotional trigger that sends our bodies and subconscious minds straight into fight or flight mode. Still other times, anxiety king creep up on us without any conscious rhyme or reason for doing so. Regardless of anxieties origins, I have found that the trick to overcoming anxiety and building up our own natural resistance to it and resilience after it, is simply a matter of giving that anxiety something to feed off of which naturally reduces it.
Most anxiety originates from a place of lack, where we dread being faced some unknown outcomes, reactions or experiences that we have no way of preparing for ahead of time. They're infinite in this reality, which is part of why I believe it's so easy to find ourselves quickly consumed by realities less than savory possibilities. But just as it is super easy to find ourselves that in a loop of lack, it is literally just as easy to find ourselves in a place of abundance, love, certainty and safety. A place where we would have an especially hard time being anything other than calm, relaxed and able to move forward confidently - which is exactly where most people desire to be all the time, most especially when life seems most uncertain.
One of the biggest things most people take for granted throughout their lives, is the art and skill of self acceptance and self love.
Sure, we do some things here are there that the might throw under the category of "self care". Though how often do you actually sit with yourself, just for the pleasure of sitting with yourself?
How often do you actually do things that are good for you and ENJOY them? Things like...
- Trying New Things?
- Forgiving Yourself?
- Forgiving Others?
- Exercising Often?
- Eating Healthy?
- Being a Good Friend?
- Making New Friends?
- Giving Yourself a Hug?
- Following Your Passions?
- Learning Something New?
- Upholding Your Boundaries?
- Loving Yourself Unconditionally?
- Contributing to Your Community?
- Doing good things even when no one is looking?
- Looking in the mirror and genuinely complimenting yourself?
- Rewarding yourself for consistently practicing any of the above?
These practices might seem silly, but they are actually quite profound. Sadly, in our fast paced low empathy based culture, these practices are rarely anything more than afterthoughts for most people. Not because they aren't important or valuable, but more so because they are not emphasized in our society, for fear of creating and ultimately narcissistic culture that is so self loving that people forgets how to be compassionate and generous. The irony in this is that through intentionally neglecting to emphasize healthy forms of self care and self love from birth into adulthood, we have already manifested the very things we were trying so hard to avoid.
The key to healing from the multitude of mistakes passed on from prior generations, is to learn about and cultivate much healthier and balanced practices of self care and self love, which need not to be kept to ourselves, but instead to be spread as far and wide as possible. For it is only once we're able to genuinely love, appreciate and accept ourselves, that we become capable of offering the same to anyone or anything else without losing ourselves in the process.
And the truly great thing about trick, is that it is no trick. Finding ways to show yourself unconditional love and genuine acceptance does it require any fancy tools, schools or gurus. To get started you only need to take a good hard look in the mirror and lists all-out or in your head, all the things you truly appreciate about yourself. The rest is more or less just a matter of finding a balance that works for you, and melodically combines your favorite guilty pleasures and most healthy habits.
It's really that simple, and the sooner you get started, the sooner you are new and improved self care practices will scare producing positive results in your life, whether you're in the middle that paniced right now or are simply struggling to find more ways to prevent panics in the first place.
Gratitude and joy art completely opposite experiences to anxiety and hopelessness, which is part of why they've become my go-to inner states of serenity, when my mind can't seem to calm down naturally.
With gratuity being covered in tip one, the focus in this last tip is on JOY.
Dictionary.com describes "Joy" as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. To rejoice or find delight in something. Glee, Elation, Bliss, Ecstasy, Gladness.
Joy is a truly simple yet abundantly powerful energy.
To harness it's energy to use as your own personal super power, all you need to do, is to put your hyper-focus to task, looking for at least one thing that can bring you immediate joy in the midst of your current situation. It can be something tiny or huge, and you can even use some of the concepts from your list of things to be greatful for. Though what works best is something separate on it's own. Something that takes a little more effort to find, so that the impact of the joyfulness it brings to you when you find it, is truly profound.
For me, the joy I find in each situation tends to vary, just as each situation varies. Though the most common things that I find to be truly joyful for, more often than not, are things like:
- The crazy sense of humor the universes "higher powers" must have!
- The harrowing and insanely funny story I'll be able to tell others I overcame on my own.
- The fact that I can literally never experience the experience I just went through, in exactly the same way, ever again! Whew!
- The unique new material I'll have to add to my list of stand up comedy material for whenever I finally get myself up on a stage!
- The incredible way I'm going to feel once I'm close enough for my spouse to wrap his strong arms around me while I think about just how much more ecstatic that whole experience will feel.
Find your own Joy in every moment, and before you know it your anxiety and panic will be relieved before they ever become a problem, so that you can free yourself up for more enjoyable activities.
Instant State Change
While there certainly are plenty of exceptional complexities running through our minds, bodies and spirits -- there are also a number of built in fail-safe features that we are all born with, that can instantly change both our psychological and physiological states. For the sake of simplicity, the table below has 3 categories of sense-based activities you can use to instantly change your state and break the ice that anxiety often first encases us in. Experiment with each activity in various different situations until you find what works best.
Splash Cold/Warm Water
Count Colors Around You
Feel a very Smooth Object
Count Colors Not Around You
Look at Cute Cats & Puppies
Drink Glass of Water
Crispt Outside Air
Read Old Love Letters
Touch Something Super Soft
Watch a Funny Movie
Tighten Then Release Muscles
Smell Something Unsual
When the road of life gets rough, get yourself some tougher running shoes and go running! The rougher the road gets, the better your exercise will be, especially if your in the middle of an extreme anxiety attack.
You can put to use any exercise you wish for this tip. Cardio is great for anger, rage, wrath or extreme frustration. Strength training is great for excessive worrying or implusiveness. Activities like swimming, bowling and martial arts are fantastic for general anxiety as well as existential anxieties. Dancing, hiking, improv and boxing are great for just about anything.
Thankfully, exercise can be done anywhere. If you're a homebody, get a dvd, xbox movie or youtube video to guide you along to some new groovy exercise routine. If home is the last place you wanna be when you're really anxious, than going for a run is often a great choice, especially if you've made sure to get yourself some super rewarding running gear that bring you instant gratuity whenever you slip it all on. Likewise, no matter where you may find yourself, indoor or outdoor, up on a plane or down on the ground -- there's always some way you can use exercise to calm your mind.
Have you ever experienced a Panic Attack?
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