6 Ways to Pull Yourself out of a Panic
Once upon a time, I had a full-time job, the intensive kind, where almost 80 emails would ransack my inbox every single morning. One day, as I was quickly filing and sorting the pointless email messages, trying to be ‘effective’...my world fell through. My chest tightened, my feet felt like they were floating and breathing became labored. I was having a panic attack.
I quickly IMed my boss:“I think I’m having really bad anxiety.”
She replied:“Do you need to go for a walk?”
No, I thought, "I need to run out of this cubical."
What happened in the few days following my initial panic was an eye-opening experience. After returning home, luckily, only having to drive about five minutes, I sat down and cried. I ended up spending days at my house, rattled with fear.
I’d never felt so alone. Why, oh, why was this panic returning? I wondered.
After a few days, I bravely looked in my own two eyes in the mirror, something I hadn't done in quite some time. And as if blinders were thrown off my eyes, I saw it. I had gained 60 pounds. I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me.
It took months for me to correlate my lack of passion for my job with my unyielding anxiety. My body was signaling to me (loudly) I was on the WRONG path. If you’ve ever experienced this type of awakening, I want you to know, you are not alone.
Here are six things you can do right now to start to shift your experience:
1. Feel your Feelings
If you are scared to feel anxious, anxiety will grow stronger. Start to breathe into how you’re feeling. Ask yourself:
What color is this feeling?
Where does it live?
What is it trying to tell me?
Try to be as kind to your body as possible as you work through this temporary stage. (This too shall pass.)
2. Seek Help
Going through this eye-opening transition is far from easy. When I first went through the process, I worked with a therapist and life coaches. You may just need a journal, a trusted yoga teacher or a friend - but don’t be afraid to invest in a solution.
3. Get Curious
If you’re like I was and feel that your job or current status may be the source of your anxiety, it’s time to ask yourself some questions.
When am I happiest?
What did I love to do as a child?
What can I do right now to bring myself joy?
4. Commit to 20 minutes a day
As I traveled begrudgingly through my panic-filled months, it was the recall of my love for reading and writing that slowly pulled me through. As I began to get up a little earlier to read magazines or write a funny story - the light returned to my eyes.
Find just 20 minutes a day to start to bring what you love back into your life.
5. Make an Exit Strategy
If you’re in a job, a relationship, or even a home that is bringing you to a lower level of vibration - it’s time to look for your way out. When I was working at the job that provoked my panic, I took on freelance writing clients on the side. I also went through 200-hour yoga teacher training. These outlets brought me immense joy. I created a big vision board of being a yoga teacher who freelance wrote on the side - within two years, I was living that dream.
6. Look for Small Moments of Peace
You might not be healed in a day, but you can start to track your progress right now. If you slowly begin to shift your self-talk to a more joyful state - celebrate! If you’re able to sit in meditation for longer, rejoice! Start to look for your progress and relief will come sooner than you know.
No matter what, trust this is just a temporary situation.
Your body is letting you know it's time to make a change, and it's time to listen. Be patient. It's always brighter on the other side!