3 Solutions to Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are NOT uncommon.

Some people experience them once or twice in a lifetime while others have them whenever they’re speaking in public or are preparing for an important phone call. In severe cases, sufferers may feel like they’re going to die.

Anxiety is defined as “fear of the unknown”, and historically, it aides in survival. It’s close relative,  fear,  prepared us to choose fight-or-flight in dangerous situations by heightening our senses and dumping the fine-tuning chemicals into our blood stream, like adrenaline and epinephrine.

Yet today, while still protecting us from genuine danger,  fear and panic somehow morphed into a bunch of barely relatable and dysfunctional afflictions:  panic disorder,  obsessive-compulsive disorder,  phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

As your rate of breathing accelerates, you begin to chest-breathe instead of belly breathing (breathing deeply). This causes hyperventilation, where you are blowing off too much carbon dioxide (CO2) . This leads to a rise in blood pH, which in lay-terms, means symptoms like dizziness, weakness, fainting, headache, and tingling in the hands and feet.

SOLUTIONS

1. Focus on deep breathing.

Hyperventilation brings on many sensations, like lightheadedness and tightness of the chest. By learning to tune into your breathing, and then consciously controlling it, you develop a coping skill that you can use to calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. If you know how to control your breathing, you are also less likely to create the very sensations that you are afraid of.

2. CO2 Normalizes blood pH.

If you are already experiencing a full-blown panic-attack, breathe into a paper bag.  It will reduce many of the extraneous symptoms of panic and help normalize your breathing by re-balancing your bloods pH.

3. Practice relaxation techniques.

The opposite of a panic-response is a relaxation-response. If you are prone to anxiety attacks,  learn and practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly activities such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation, you are strengthening the body’s relaxation response. It also helps you become aware of the difference between bodily sensations that are relaxed versus sensations that indicate dysfunctional tension. Make time for relaxation exercises every day!

**Note: If these techniques do not help, please see a therapist for a deeper evaluation of the causes for your panic. 

Source: The Neurobiology of Panic Attacks

Battling Decision-Fatigue

Worth Reading from Off the Web!

Decision-fatigue refers to the fact that our ability to make decisions throughout the day diminishes without proper recharging. 

When asking life’s biggest questions, we are often overwhelmed by smaller decisions and things that might not have registered on our radar in the past. Or conversely, we’re so bogged down by small day-to-day decisions that we don’t have the space to ask bigger questions about what we really want and what next steps would resonate most.

To refresh your mind, I recommend:

  • Don’t ask the same giant questions every day (ie: Should I quit my job?). Give yourself a period of time where you don’t have to decide at all, perhaps while you’re researching options. Revisit the decision at specific intervals of your choosing, but not on a daily monkey-mind basis.
  • Schedule as many daily routines as possible. Like morning routines, scheduling exercise for the same recurring days/times, evening wind down rituals. What recharges you? The more you can create routines around these things, the less you will find yourself debating what to do throughout the day (gobbling up precious mental bandwidth).
  • Write your questions down.
  • Go with your gut! We actually do know the answer to more than we think – on decisions large and small. If you find yourself debating unproductively, ask: what does my gut say?

originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. Answer by Jenny Blake, Author of PIVOT: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/14135802

“Life doesn’t happen to you – it happens for you”

You are not a victim of fate or circumstances.

Lessons will be repeated until learned.

PemaChodron

In my psychotherapy practice, people often present with superficial problems, as if to distract from the deeper issues. I can see it in their faces – the way they avoid eye contact. I wouldn’t even say it’s a conscious defense- mechanism.  So I ask the deeper questions: “Why?  What would that give you?”  

The answers often surprise my clients.

“Well… I want my family to respect me”. .. And what do you imagine that would give you?  “Validation”.   And what would that give you? … “A sense that my life is worth something.”

That way we are getting somewhere – the underlying, often unknown, motives that drive their actions. 

By making it conscious, we then have choices – Choices about the authenticity of the goal; the strategies employed that haven’t worked, and an opportunity to re-strategize to make the goal achievable.

“Life doesn’t happen to you – it happens for you”  ~ Jim Carey

Love and caring will always lead the way – fear gets in the way of becoming what people most desire. If I can help a person realize this, I can help them create the life they were meant to have – one with passion, with exuberance, one that feels vital and real!

Helping people to NOT suffer has become my obsession. I know it’s possible. That’s why I love my work.

We Are Always Evolving

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April Peerless

 

I love these words…

because people have a tendency to see others’ as static beings.

It’s not personal. It’s how the brain processes the environment. It observes, then compares the new information with what it already (thinks it) knows.

But people are NOT static. We evolve constantly. We are not consistent. We don’t have the same opinion about a thing tomorrow that we had yesterday. 

I think this is liberating news – for the self and our thoughts about others. Here is what Gandhi says about writing in a journal:

“At times of writing I never think what I have said before. My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at a given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth.” 

–Mahatma Gandhi

Allow yourself to be inconsistent! Allow yourself to explore, and re-explore, your views about life. And remember to offer the same compassion to others.

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Using Compassion to Cope with Anxiety

Worth Reading From Off the Web!

 

Using Compassion to Cope with AnxietyIf you struggle with anxiety, you probably have a mean streak. That is, you’re probably very mean to yourself. You probably have no problem being harsh and overly critical of your thoughts and behaviors — particularly when you’re having a tough time with anxiety.

You might blame yourself and see yourself as less-than because anxiety follows you everywhere, from home to work to the grocery store.

You also might think in shoulds: I should have more control over my anxiety. I should be a better public speaker by now. I shouldnever be scared of something so silly. I should be ashamed. I should be different.

 And you might think that being harsh toward yourself will curb your anxiety and whip you into calmer and cooler shape. Or maybe you think that being self-critical is simply being realistic. That you’re realistically evaluating your shortcomings or weaknesses. Or maybe being self-critical has simply become your default, your automatic response to anxiety (or anything else in your life).

But guess what? This kind of thinking often backfires and actually can boost your anxiety.

At least according to Dennis D. Tirch, Ph.D, psychologist and author of The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Overcoming Anxiety: Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to Calm Worry, Panic and Fear

You can’t insult your way to less anxiety (or any positive change). And you know what? You deserve better. Millions of people struggle with anxiety — and there’s no shame in that.

Self-Criticism vs. Compassionate Self-Correction

In his book, Tirch distinguishes between self-criticism and compassionate self-correction. He says that “Compassionate self-correction is grounded in the desire to alleviate suffering and to help us realize our hearts’ deepest desire to be able to behave as we’d wish to.”

He explains that it’s not about denying mistakes or weaknesses. Instead it’s about radically accepting yourself: “accepting your fallibility, your frailty and your suffering, all of which are essential aspects of your common humanity.”

Tirch cites Paul Gilbert’s analogy involving two teachers with different styles: the critical teacher and the encouraging, supportive teacher. The critical teacher focuses on their students’ faults and scolds or teases them. As a result, the students become afraid and resentful, while the teacher becomes angry and anxious. The encouraging and supportive teacher, however, focuses on their student’s strengths, has clear expectations and gives constructive feedback.

Connecting to Your Compassionate Self

Tirch features several valuable activities to help readers tap into their compassionate self. One activity involves using two chairs to mimic your anxious mind and your compassionate mind. It helps you learn how to purposely activate your compassionate mind – and, over time, being empathetic will become automatic.

Take two chairs, and have them face each other. First, sit in one chair and imagine looking at yourself in the other chair. Connect to your self-anxious thoughts, and say them out loud. Talk about your worries, your criticisms, your shame.

Then, when you’re ready, sit in the other chair, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Visualize your compassionate self, and let yourself smile. Connect to your forgiving, kind and warm thoughts. You can also place your hand over your heart and think of being compassionate.

Next, open your eyes and acknowledge that you’re with your anxious self. You might say that you understand your feelings, and acknowledge the difficulty of anxiety; and that it’s OK to feel this way. Then close your eyes, again, and after a natural exhale, let go of the exercise, and give yourself credit for practicing this activity.

In the second exercise Tirch suggests readers compose a compassionate letter to themselves. Before beginning, take a few deep breaths. Then focus on your thoughts. “What conflicts, problems or self-criticisms come to mind? What’s your mind beginning to tell you? What emotions arise within you?”

Then take a few more deep breaths, and focus on being compassionate, nonjudgmental and accepting of yourself. Recognize that your feelings are valid and your struggles are a normal part of life. Find a time to read your letter – and feel free to revise it any time.

Bringing Compassion to the What-Ifs

In the same chapter, Tirch also talks about how readers can bring more compassion to worrisome thoughts (i.e., the usual litany of “what ifs”). It’s these what-ifs that, over time, our brains begin to interpret as cold, hard facts. Then our bodies act in kind, producing anxiety-riddled sensations.

As Tirch writes, “Of course, the anxious mind is very good at generating anxiety-provoking predictions of possible threats. All too often, our emotional brains then respond to these imaginary threats as if they were real, so our physical sensations, feelings, and behavior come to be dominated by our worries.”

He suggests readers explore their thoughts by asking questions such as: “What’s going through my mind when I’m anxious?” “How does my anxious self see the world, and what does it think about the current situation?” “What is my anxious self/mind telling me right now?” Write down your thoughts, and think about how your compassionate mind would respond to them. Think about how you’d talk to a friend who was in a similar situation.

Being kind to ourselves can be hard – really hard for some of us – especially if the critical thoughts are deeply ingrained. But with practice you can learn to be self-compassionate.

And remember that there’s nothing self-indulgent about being kind to yourself. (This is a common misconception.) Tirch cites research that’s actually found the opposite: People who are self-compassionate tend to be less self-indulgent.

As he writes, “To operate from the compassionate mind is to have a deep appreciation of the suffering of both others and ourselves.”

Learn more about Dennis Tirch and his work at his website.

All is meaningless

Nothing has meaning except the one we choose to give.

All is perception, all is reaction.

Everything is just the way it is.

We are the ones putting a meaning on it –

Either good or bad.

It is neither really.

But it takes on the definition we chose to put on it.

And according to that definition, we are going to respond a certain way,

Which is going to make us feel happy or not.

The situation itself doesn`t create happiness or unhappiness,

Our reaction to it does.

We need to remember that.

If we react negatively to a situation, we always have the power to change it.

We can’t change the situation, but we can change our reaction to it.

Choose a meaning that serves you.

Discard everything else.

All is meaningless.