si dawson

experiments in self-improvement

Category: self-improvement

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:


  • 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


  • 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:


[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.


    Don’t Believe A Word I Say

    We’re all on our own journeys.

    In one sense we’re all on the same journey – everyone wants approval (love). Everyone wants to be happy (at peace).

    But of course, we’re in vastly different places – in our lives; our growth; our paths; what we’re busy learning (or unlearning).

    We have enormously varying backgrounds. Past lives (if you believe in that sort of thing), upbringings, experiences, memories and traumas.

    Given all of the above, it’s hardly surprising that, as the saying goes, different strokes for different folks.

    To that end, what I’m doing here is simply sharing the fastest, deepest, most useful tools and realisations I’ve discovered on MY journey.

    Some you may find helpful. Others you may find complete hogwash. That’s ok too.

    Some of my very best tools I discovered and then simply wasn’t able to use for another couple of years.

    I wasn’t in the right place in my life where I could. I needed to grow more. Clear more. Learn more. Only once I was in a better place did those tools make perfect sense.

    On top of that, I can’t tell you what’s right for you. I can only tell you what’s worked well for me. Ultimately, you need to find your own answers. Get quiet, look inside yourself, and see what you need.

    So read around and see what resonates. Try things out to see what works for you, but keep listening inside. Always keep listening. Ultimately, only you know what’s right for you.


      Forgetting to Love Ourselves

      I recently got some new shirts. As I was ironing them for the first time I realised – these shirts (while possibly the nicest and most expensive I’ve ever owned) were going to require ironing every time I wore them.

      To which I immediately thought “Well, I guess I won’t be wearing them much then.”

      And I had a sudden realisation.

      Recently I’ve been in something of a financial lull – certainly compared to when I was working in investment banking, or managing my own investments.

      Back then, I used to iron 7 shirts a week, every week – or 14 at a go (4 mins each, it’d take about an hour) if I got lazy one weekend. That was just part of looking good and feeling good.

      So what had changed?

      Was I somehow suddenly not worth ironing shirts for?

      It turned out yes, that was exactly how I was feeling. One of those old tricks of the English language, if I was “worth less” (financially), I was (to some small degree) “worthless.”

      As my finances had taken a down turn, I’d forgotten to keep loving myself.

      Not in terms of self harm (although I’ve definitely done plenty of that in the past, if you include overdoing coffee, working too hard, late nights, and an occasionally over-enthusiastic tipple).

      It’s the little things though.

      When you’re in a relationship with someone, big things – buying you a new car, going on holiday – well, these definitely stand out. However, it’s really the little things that matter.

      Do they ask how your day went? Do they touch you? Are they forgiving and supportive? Do they let you be yourself?

      These are the things that show how deeply someone truly loves you. These are the things that become life-or-death for a relationship.

      And it’s these little things that are so easy to forget, particularly when life gets trying – which of course is when we need that love the most.

      Of course, this is complicated by the fact that it’s so much easier to love someone else than it is to love ourselves.

      We are, so often, our own worst critic.

      And yet loving ourselves is far more important than having someone else love us. We’re the only person who will be with us our entire lives.

      Learning to love ourselves. On a daily basis, practising loving ourselves. These are the single most powerful things we can do to increase our sense of well being, our happiness and thus our quality of life.

      Ironing my shirts or not is such a ridiculously small thing, and yet, so often the small things in life show us deep truths about the larger. How you do anything is how you do everything.

      When I looked deeper, I could see more ways that I’ve stopped loving myself:

      • I’ve been giving myself an inordinate amount of grief for various choices I’ve made (and this despite healing everything I’ve been conscious of – this beating myself up was more like a deep miasmic cloud, below my level of consciousness)
      • My sense of self worth and value in the world has dropped through the floor (with all the commensurate side effects this has)
      • My boundaries have shrunk in terms of the type of behaviour I’m prepared to accept from others

      …and no, I haven’t been as forgiving and supportive as I could have been. I haven’t let me be truly myself as much as I could have.

      These things are so subtle, so easy to miss when life gets a bit hurley burley.

      Look at the little things. Check, are you treating yourself as gently as you could be? Are you loving yourself as unconditionally as possible. Letting those daily upsets go? Are you really being your own best friend?

      Little steps, like this, lead to bliss.

      It’s a process, but the first step is awareness. Have we simply forgotten to love ourselves?


        Detecting and Dispersing Disapproval

        Disapproval is a subtle one.

        It’s often harder to detect than anger – its shouty, ranty cousin.

        It slips under our radar, disquised as a “but” at the end of another otherwise loving sentence.

        • “I love my girlfriend but…”
        • “We have a great life but…”

        or perhaps an “if only”:

        • “I’d love her so much more if only…”
        • “We’d be much happier if only…”

        This is disapproval.

        As I’ve been continuing to clear up a recent (now ex) relationship, I realised – I was wrong before.

        Or rather – I didn’t have the complete picture.

        It’s not only resentment that kills relationships. It’s disapproval too.

        Resentment is easy to see. It’s big. It’s obvious. Every argument you have – that’s resentment.

        Disapproval can easily masquerade as a background wistfulness. A quiet wish for something different, better, other. A thought ignored.

        But disapproval leads to a withholding of love.

        It’s conditional love.

        “I’d love you more if…”

        It’s trying to change the other person (which never really works). It’s trying to control them (always a bad idea). It’s judgemental.

        Only once you’ve let go of disapproval can you move into acceptance. Into a true state of lovingness.

        So, how do we do this?

        It’s actually pretty easy.

        Just say to yourself “I disapprove of [their name]…” and watch how your brain fills in the gap:

        • “I disapprove of [them] when they…”
        • “I disapprove of their…”
        • “I wish they’d…”
        • “I’d love them more if they…”

        Whatever your mind fills in, just repeat it, and let it go. Let the accompanying energy go (you’ll feel tightness or pressure – stress energy, if you will, when you say it).

        Keep doing it until you don’t care about that issue any more. Then try the starter phrase (or another) again, and see what else comes up.

        Doing this with my recent relationship, I was utterly shocked at how many things I uncovered. I think I’m finally understanding why she left. Who’d want to stick around if they could feel that much negative energy firing at them?

        And this was despite me consciously choosing and working damn hard at (ie, dropping my own crap so I could be) loving her as much as I possibly could.


        There’s a little bit of Mr Gate Closer Horse McBolterson going on here, but the way I figure it – if I’m having those thoughts about her, well, I’m sure I’m also having them about other people…

        …like myself?

        And once again, we come back to our most important relationship.

        The one we have with ourselves.

        Have a go. Get quiet, say the phrases above (but aimed at yourself) and see what your brain fills in.

        • “I disapprove when I…”
        • “I disapprove that I haven’t…”
        • “I disapprove that I…”
        • “I disapproving of my…”
        • “I disapproving of how I handled…”
        • “I disapprove that I never…”

        If it’s anything like my experience, you’ll be alternately shocked – and then relieved once it’s gone. You’ll know it’s gone when you can say the exact same phrase and feel no reaction at all.

        When you can say all of the phrases above and have your brain add nothing? That’s when you know you’re getting really clear.

        Ever wonder why you feel crappy half the time for no particular reason? Yeah. It’s internal noise like this. It doesn’t help.

        Fortunately, just bringing it into the light is really all that needs be done to get rid of it. You could use EFT if you feel like something needs a solid bash, but generally just letting it go is enough.

        What’s the advantage to dumping disapproval?

        Well, we’re all looking for approval (love). Once we let go of disapproving of ourselves, it leaves the gate open for us to unconditionally love ourselves. That self-love becomes effortless and automatic, instead of an ongoing daily battle.

        It’s also always, always a much better idea to be self-loving than be looking to others to provide this approval. After all, we’re the only ones who will be with us every second for the rest of our lives.


          The Fastest I Have Ever Been Rejected

          The other night we started drinking at about 9:30pm after a very long day at work. We didn’t finish until ridiculously late (well, early).

          Now, get enough beers in me & I get a bit crazy. A bit “everyone deserves to feel good, so why not compliment them?” crazy.

          Perhaps unsurprisingly, in a bar situation this typically goes down like a lead balloon.

          Bro & I were in a bar called Strawberry Moons (best name ever) when I saw a girl with the most fantastic empire waisted dress, dancing like a wild thing. So, when I went to the bar and she was standing right there I tapped her on the shoulder to tell her how awesome she was.

          This gorgeous creature turned, took one look at me & immediately turned back without saying a word – or even wasting the effort of a facial expression.

          Total time? About a third of a second.


          Now, there are several conclusions you could draw from such an interaction:

          • women get approached so often in bars that it’s normal to expect ulterior motives.
          • first impressions have a huge effect
          • in a big city you get used to only being approached when someone wants something
          • I’m crap at talking to chicks in these environments

          Really though, that’s all brain stuff. All the rationalisation in the world isn’t going to deeply change how you feel – particularly the next time a similar situation arises.

          We’re talking about rejection here – which comes back to wanting approval (from her), wanting control (of how she reacts), wanting safety (from emotional pain).

          The only thing for it is to welcome all those feelings up and let them go.

          In this case Not so bad definitely helped me equalise.

          Also useful has been allowing myself to feel the feelings (particularly as I remember the situation), repeating “Yes”, welcoming those feelings up and letting them go until I felt loving, calm and peaceful about it all.

          Perhaps the best news though is this: In truth, there really wasn’t much internal reaction at all.

          … which means most of it has already gone.

          … which means as crazy as I might be when drunk, I’m still present enough to let these non-loving feelings go as they arise.

          … which is ho ho, so different from how I’ve been in the past.

          … and really rather cool.

          Drunken meditation, the next big thing?