si dawson

experiments in self-improvement

Month: December, 2013

How To Prevent Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks are horribly disempowering events. The good news is, you don’t have to suffer from them. You can minimise their effect on you, and yes, even prevent them.

Anxiety attacks are commonly highlighted by the following symptoms:

PHYSICAL

  • shortness of breath (or hyperventilation)
  • chest pain
  • trembling
  • light headedness
  • heart palpitations
  • hot or cold flashes (or burning sensations)
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • feeling dizzy or faint

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL

  • an urge to escape (the fight-or-flight reflex)
  • fear of losing control
  • feelings of unreality
  • feeling detached from oneself
  • irritability or restlessness
  • sense of impending death

(et bloody cetera – don’t follow this link unless you want an instant case of hypochondria)

Of course if you’re prone to anxiety attacks then experiencing any of these symptoms is likely to lead to the fear of having an attack, thus resulting in a feedback loop leading to.. you guessed it, a fully fledged panic attack.

*sigh* this is, of course, not so helpful.

On an energetic level all of the above can by summed up by this: our energy system is freaking out.

Remember – everything in our system works in conjunction. It doesn’t matter what initially kicks off an anxiety attack, once it starts, EVERYTHING will go nuts – physical, mental, emotional and energetic.

The good news is, this leads us to absolutely the most efficient way of dealing with any anxiety attack.

This is something I’ve tested both on myself and many other people, and it invariably takes you from hyperventilating freak-out to completely calm and peaceful in a couple of minutes.

In a word (well ok, an acronym)? EFT.

So – a quick summary.

Here are the points:

EFTtappingpoints450x600

[point 7 is actually an inch down and an inch across to either side of that point]

First drink some water if possible (it helps when shoving energy around your body).

Then simply tap 5-10 times on each point (much like tapping on keyboard or screen). Going through all the points, from the top down is called “one round” (coz you’ve gone all the way round – really folks, this isn’t rocket science).

Generally when people are starting out with EFT, one common worry is “what do I say while I’m tapping?”

If you’re having an anxiety attack, this is the easy bit.

You don’t NEED to say anything. The energy is right near the surface (hence the freaking out), so it’s already primed to exit our system.

The feelings have come up because they want to leave (in a manner of speaking). All we have to do is stop fighting, stop resisting, and let them go.

In general, we only talk about things while tapping to keep our mind focused, or to talk through the issue. It may help us feel our way around the problem, but it’s not strictly necessary.

I’ve tested EFT on anxiety attacks a ton of times, and doing even a couple of rounds will take you from completely freaking out to calm in as little as a few minutes.

More usefully, it helps even if you’re not having a fully fledged attack.

I have moments where I get a bit grumpy or a tad upset by what’s going on around me.

A lot of the time I won’t even necessarily be able to put my finger on what exactly is bothering me so much.

My girlfriend (bless her) sees when I’m getting a bit like this, sits on me and taps me.

Pretty much every time this happens, at the start I’m all “yeah yeah, whatever. I don’t fucking care. I don’t need this” (I’ll still let her, coz she’s smarter than I am) but after even 30 seconds of tapping I’m feeling better. After a couple of minutes I’ll be right back to my usual calm, happy self.

So, if you feel things start to spiral, the single best thing you can do is lock yourself away somewhere and start tapping.

If this isn’t possible (eg you’re somewhere public), either just rubbing/tapping on the sore point (point 7 above), or finger-tapping is a good way to get 80% of the effect without getting arrested in the process.

One word of warning, if you’ve dived into a bathroom somewhere, try to be quiet, coz if anyone walks in, it’ll sound a bit like.. well.. *cough* you’re having the wrong kind of fun in there.

I’ve saved the best till last though. Unlike other methods of dealing with anxiety attacks (eg, 5-2-5 breathing – breath into your stomach, hold for 5 secs, then again for 2 secs, then for 5 secs), using EFT actually HEALS the issue.

What I mean by this is – not only does it calm you down super fast, but it also helps reduce (or removes completely) the likelihood of you freaking out in the same situation in the future.

Better yet, you can pre-empt any attacks. If you know the kind of thing that stresses you out, you can tap on it at a time when you’re feeling calm.

For example, I used this when speaking at a wedding a while back – just nicked off to the bathroom beforehand for a quick couple of rounds (ha ha, that sounds so bad). The important thing is, it drained all the excess energy away and left me super calm and cool. Worked a treat.

If all this sounds too good to be true, I don’t blame you in the slightest. I felt exactly the same way when I first found EFT (and, frankly, a lot of the stuff I discuss on here, until I tested the hell out of it all).

As always, don’t believe me. Check it for yourself.

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    How To Forgive Yourself

    As a general rule, we are our own worst enemy.

    It’s pretty easy to hear how negative and critical our inner voice is.

    What’s more interesting but unfortunately a lot more powerful is what we don’t hear. What we can’t easily hear.

    Our subconscious self criticism.

    That’s the stuff that rules our lives, drawing harsh boundaries around our self-defined, self-allowed quality of life.

    Even (after meditation, healing, extensive personal growth etc) when our inner voice is quietened, our subconscious thoughts can continue to hammer away at us.

    What to do, what to do.

    *heavy sigh*

    Yeah. I’ve spent forever pondering this question.

    Obviously, healing every significant life event helps. Although boy, that can take YEARS. Ha ha, trust me. *facepalm*

    Healing any repetitive thought patterns definitely helps.

    Here’s another way though, that might just be a little faster.

    Self criticism is merely a lack of forgiveness. Self criticism is self accusation.

    The trick to forgiving yourself is to truly love yourself (even if only about that specific issue). Once that love is complete, forgiveness is a natural by product. Once you’ve truly forgiven, the self criticism goes with it.

    After all, what is forgiveness but choosing to let go of the anger and pain we’re still carrying?

    You can’t hold self anger, shame or recrimination at the same time as being loving. They MUST leave to create space for the love.

    Saying something like “I love myself” isn’t powerful enough though. It doesn’t deeply connect. It’s too easy for our mind to side-step, tricksy little bugger that it is.

    However, once you accept that you are not your mind, body or emotions, it becomes easier.

    What are you, really? What is this “me”?

    Well, a multi-dimensional higher being. A soul. Part of the universe. I Am. Whatever.

    It really doesn’t matter what terminology you use, or what you feel comfortable with. Just know that you’re something “other”, and something much greater than any of the individual parts we typically thing of as “I”.

    So what’s the most powerful way I’ve found to self-love? (ha ha, your filthy mind)

    Step into that “other”, and address yourself in the third person.

    In other words, rather than, “I love myself”, say “I love you, Si”.. uhh, with your own name, obviously.

    When doing this, it may feel rather like expressing compassion to an upset child. Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is pretty close to what you’re actually doing.

    It’s easy to put your awareness into this higher part of yourself. Just move your attention slightly out, above and behind your head.

    Why here? Well, it’s said that this is the location of the soul. That sounds a little hocus pocus for my liking, but it does feel like the right place to focus, for me.

    You may find a better location for yourself to put your attention, of course. Play around with it. Find what works for you.

    All you want is to feel like it’s The Big You, loving little old physical you that stumbles around this planet every day.

    ANYWAY.

    Once your attention is there, then simply say:

    “I love you Si, even if…” (or “…even though…”)

    and let your silly old brain fill in the gaps.

    Just let your mind wander over all the shitty things in your life. Things you want to change. Things you hate about yourself or your current existence.

    Pretty soon a massive laundry list will come rushing forth. All those inner complaints will pour to the surface.

    Here’s the other part of what you’re going to do though.

    When you say any of these things, your body WILL react. You’ll feel tension, clutching, frustration or even intense energy collecting.

    Then, as always, relax that part of your body. Let the energy go. Let the tension go.

    Guess what? That’s you healing it.

    Yeah, it really is this simple. No, it doesn’t need to be any more complicated.

    [A slight caveat being – if you want to tap at the same time, particularly the sore points (near the collarbone), that’s always helpful. It helps “tune you in” to the problem.]

    I know we love to exercise our brains and make things way more complex than they need to be – but remember, that’s a choice. In this situation, if we decide that healing can be simple, it will be.

    Why? Because…

    YOU’RE THE BOSS.

    Wash, rinse, repeat until you feel super calm and yes, genuinely loving about whatever’s come up.

    It may sound ridiculous, but all the power here is in your intent.

    Even if you don’t FEEL loving when you start, by saying it, it WILL become true. You know, that whole “fake it till you make it” schtick.

    If you’re feeling particularly crappy, you might have to fake it a lot, but be persistent. It’s worth it.

    Once you start thinking about all the little things that still bug you, you’ll find yourself flying through a ton of stuff very quickly indeed.

    Here are some starter subjects:

    • Being ugly (or any part of our physical body that we disapprove of)
    • Being less successful than we’d like
    • Ongoing difficulties at home
    • Romantic issues
    • Perceived failures
    • Ways we’ve let ourselves down

    The sky’s the limit, really. God knows there’s an infinite number of ways we can beat ourselves up.

    So, to sum up:

    1. Move your awareness just above and outside yourself
    2. Say “I love you <name>, even if…”
    3. Let your brain fill in the rest
    4. Let go of whatever comes up
    5. Repeat until genuinely loving

    Have a play, follow your intuition, and just remember to keep your focus just outside your body and on loving yourself, rather than getting sucked down into the specific issue.

    This is a great little technique. It’s a super fast, super easy way to clear out a ton of junk that otherwise would go completely unnoticed – except for the continued negative effect that carrying this sort of crap around has on our lives.

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