Last week I opened up to all of you about a dark period in my life when I experienced a panic attack that led to an emergency room visit. I uncovered the mental aspect of this when I recognized the equation that led to my visit:
The attachment to the thought (”I can’t do this again”) + the resistance to the initial feeling of anxiety=a full-blown panic attack!
I received quite a few emails and messages from those of you who could relate or have experienced something similar, so I thought this week it would be helpful if we explored ways to feel grounded when these thoughts or anxiety arise. This grounding practice is aimed at inviting the feeling of safety that will help you allow intense feelings to flow through your body until they begin to lift and slowly float away.
Sometimes as our minds are spinning out of control, and our brain begins to create feelings like fear, doubt, and anxiety, this can lead to a lack of feeling safe within our own bodies and can even manifest through physical symptoms such as a panic attack. I’m sure you can imagine it would be pretty tough to engage in any sort of cognitive work while in this state, so grounding ourselves is a critical first step. I also recommend this when you can’t move your body through exercise.
When you are feeling really out of balance as a result of an intense emotion, pick a place where you normally feel good. Maybe that is in the bath, shower, or in your bedroom. Make sure this space is quiet and distraction-free. Lay down in the quiet space and begin telling your body that you are safe. Then, shut your eyes and ALLOW the intense feeling to be there. Let it strengthen if it wants to. And as scary as this may sound, let it take over.
What you will find is that when you fully surrender and allow the emotion to exist, the intense feeling will lift a bit. It sounds counterintuitive, but it really does work this away. Close your eyes, remind yourself that you are safe, and fully allow the incongruency to be there. As the feeling begins to dissipate, you can get up and start to shift your mind with different thoughts.
What we resist will persist. What we avoid, ignore, or run away from will always come back when we return to a quiet state. When our body doesn’t feel safe and we are experiencing these intense feelings without allowing them, then our self-expression is compromised, our vision is off and our relationship with ourselves is out of whack.
The next time you feel really out of balance, try this somatic practice and watch as the intensity lessens. Then you’ll be prepped to begin to do some really powerful thought work.
I hope this is helpful to you! As always, if you would like some guidance with your specific situation, don’t hesitate to schedule a connection call and I will show you how to set yourself free from these intense emotions so that you can continue to express yourself fully and have a great relationship with yourself and others.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Mind Your Strength,
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.