Dealing with Panic / Anxiety attacks

Dealing with Panic / Anxiety attacks

Simple Breathing Techniques to Breathe Thru the Fear

It was happening to me this morning.

A sense of dread. Raw, uncontrolled fear.

Previously, I would have tried to make a story around it.

I’m worried because things aren’t well at work

Or I try to pretend I’m a psychic.

Something bad is about to happen. My spidey senses are tingling!

And I would spend the rest of the day looking for problems, ignoring the good things happening around me. And the funny thing is, you keep looking for shit to go wrong, it totally will.

Sometimes, this fear turns to anger.

I’m angry because the boss/wife/kid don’t listen to me. Fuckin’ morons!

Sometimes, the fear would turn to hopelessness.

Nothing good will happen. I’m going to die alone and unloved, out in the dark and cold.

Now, I know better.

The Ego Loves to make a story

The ego, the unloved inner child, loves to make a story about everything.

“I am sad because X”

“I am worried because Y”

“I am angry because Z”

And some of these stories might even be good reasons.

I’ve had problems at work while a big expense hit, emptying the bank balance, while pay date was 3 weeks away.

But the fact is, I’ve also been miserable when everything was fine.

There is a difference between suffering and short term pain.

If you cut your finger, you feel pain. If someone insults you, you feel pain. And that is fine. These are automatic reactions.

But pain does not cause suffering

Suffering is caused by self talk

You suffer when you build a story around your pain, like I did, and like Im sure YOU do as well.

Though it’s hard, when things are going to shit, the best thing to do is to remain clam and centered.

To breathe in the Fear, to FEEL the fear. It is hard. The mind wants to jump into the past, or the future.

Jump into past: Damn XYZ, they always make my life miserable. If only I had Gone to a different college / married someone else / not wasted my life, everything would have been better

Jump into the Future: Oh life is shit now, but it will only get worse when ABC happens.

OR I know it’s bad now, but when I finally get that promotion / start my business / dump my wife for that hot model lookalike, everything will turn out A-ok!

Both the past and future thinking are ways to avoid the present. Day dreaming about a better future does help temporarily. And that’s what the new age Gurus recommend, “positive thinking”, where being positive means pretending your problems don’t exist.

Or the Lalala, I can’t hear you, problems of life, so fuck off. Lalala, positive happy thoughts.

But like a bad debt collector, the problems of life, and the negative thoughts, are still waiting for us when we return.

And they add interest to the suffering.

I would like to say I have a magic solution I can sell to you for 9 easy payments of $9.99! Hurry, sale ends this weekend! Everything must go!

But I don’t.

You have to feel the fear and live through it, breathe through it.

When your life is going to shit, when you feel hopeless, and nothing makes sense: It is hard to feel centered then.

But that IS the time to trust a Higher Force. Like the Course in Miracles says, Your best thinking got you here, it won’t get you out of it.

What helps

  • Go for a walk in nature

  • Read spiritual books / watch youtube videos

  • Read spiritual forums - you realise your problems aren’t unique to you

Most of all: Keep breathing. Pranayam helps:

If possible, sit down. Breathe in slowly, count to 4. Hold breath inside for 4. Breathe out, counting to 4. Hold breath outside for 4.

If you can’t hold your breath, thats fine, just focus on in/out breath.

I find that breathing this way calms the mind down in minutes. The reason is defined in Yoga- the mind and the breath is linked, and while the mind is very wooly and hard to control, the breath is easier.

As you become calmer, increase the count to 5, 6 and so on. Do NOT force your breath at any time. The breathing must be calm and controlled. If your breathing becomes forced, guess what will happen to mind? Hint, mind and breath are linked.

Another technique is:

Breath in for 4, breath out for 8

Breathe out very slowly, this calms the mind.

A 3rd technique is:

While smiling, breathe purposefully. Take a concious breath in, out. Keep breathing with full awareness.

It maybe hard to smile when all is going to shit, but trust me, it helps.

I find it benefial to keep pracitising these breathing techqniues when driving, sitting bored at work, talking a walk etc. Its super powerful when sitting in a boring meeting, as it helps you get over feelings of irritation / boredom that all meetings entail :D

One thing you can and should do

is stop the fucking games of the mind, where it runs wild screaming Arrghhh! Im dying, the world is ending , all is doomed, haaaalllpppppp!!!!

Distract yourself. Watch something on TV, cat videos on Youtube. If you have a creative hobby like writing/drawing, get into it. If you don’t, now is the time to build one.