8 Steps for Coping with Feelings of Panic

1. Try to keep in mind that feelings of panic are simply exaggerated bodily responses. They are an over-reaction to perceived feelings of threat.  Your brain is trying to keep you safe.

2. The sensations themselves are neither harmful nor dangerous. Nothing worse is going to happen to you. In time the feelings will start to dissipate.

3. Do your best to stop adding to the feelings of panic by imagining all kinds of scary “what if” scenarios. Instead, try to reign in thoughts of where the panic might lead, and how much worse the situation could become.

4. Consciously work on grounding yourself in the present. Like an outside observer, do your best to notice what is happening in you, and around you. Try to be as detached and curious as possible. Describe what you are observing in simple, concrete terms (both inside your body, and in the environment).

5. Be patient. Wait it out. Allow the feelings to gradually weaken, and to slowly dissipate.

6. Notice how taking control of your thinking affects your emotions and physiology. Notice that doing this has the knock-on effect of reducing the intense and overwhelming scary feelings. It changes your emotions and your physiology, in a positive way.

7. Deliberately move your thinking from what you are feeling, to thinking about what you will do afterwards – once the feelings of panic have subsided. What is the first thing you will do? What will you do next? What will you do after that?

8. As you notice your feelings coming under control, begin to think about all the progress you have. Think about they way you are now able to take control of a panic attack. Think about the progress you have made in dealing with a trauma or a stressful situation.  As you noticed how you’ve changed, you will feel a sense of pride, and an increasing sense of bravery, courage and strength. Stay with those feelings for a while. Then, when you are ready, move on with your day.

You Get to Decide

You are the one who gets to decide.

Yes, we are wounded. We are hurt; we’re betrayed.

Awful things happen.

The sky does fall down.

This isn’t the life we’d expected to have.

It’s not what we wanted; it’s not the life we planned.

No, we don’t get a say in the cards we are dealt.

And we don’t have control over choices others make.

But we still get to choose how we’ll play what we’re dealt.

For we hold the pen. And we write the next line.

The future is yours.

You will make it.

You’ll survive.

So Much for Self-Help!

It happened unexpectedly. One moment I was standing in the sea, riding the beautiful turquoise waves. The next moment I was being pulled down and down, caught by the powerful undertow.

Never have I experienced such power.

Never have I experienced such utter helplessness.

Then, as suddenly as it happened, it was over again.

No longer was I swirling, and being tossed by the waves. Now I was bleeding on some rough-hewn rocks, surrounded by people who were offering their help.

I still don’t really know what happened that day, or how I survived that terrifying ordeal. But what I do know is I owe my life to others who there, and who came to my aid.  

Another thing I know is that self-help couldn’t save me. I was too weak and winded to do anything. I needed other-help at that moment in time. I couldn’t save myself. I couldn’t make it on my own.

And, surely, we all know this is the essence of support. Someone reaches out, and takes hold of our hand. Someone lifts us to safety when we cannot help ourselves.

And as we look back on our lives, on the toughest darkest times, we can see how we needed other people to survive.

There was someone who was there when we’d lost the will to fight, when despair had gripped our heart, and we wanted to give up.

There was someone was there, and who gently held our pain, and who held on tight to hope when we thought all hope was gone.

The Jewish Talmud asks why we cannot cure ourselves, then it gives us an answer – one which resonates with me. It says: A prisoner is unable to release himself from jail. Instead, we need another person who will turn the key for us.

I hope there is someone who is there for you.

To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.”  – Mandy Hale

Quote of the Day: For Those who are Struggling

This is for the ones who are struggling right now.

This is for the ones who have been having a rough day, or week, or year.

The ones who feel like this storm will never end.

Keep on fighting for YOU. Not for your friends, not for your family, but for YOU.

Keep fighting because deep down you hear a tiny voice that you were meant for far more than this sadness and pain you are feeling.

Keep fighting because the person you will be on the other side of all of this is cheering for you so much.

Keep fighting because you will get there.

And it will be worth it.” – Nikki Banas

Don’t give up.

You are stronger than you feel.

Breathe in deeply.

Let your mind and body rest.

Then, when you are grounded, you can stand and fight again.

You can do this.

You have got this.

You are going to survive.

Life after Trauma

What Trauma Does to You

You turn into a person you don’t recognize, acting in ways you never thought you would act, feeling things you never felt before.

You feel like you’re a foreigner in your own body. You have anxiety attacks. You wake up in a panic. You feel intense emotions at unexpected things.

You’re triggered unexpectedly, and constantly.  

Even though you may find your old self again, trauma permanently changes you.

You lose your optimism, and can’t believe you’ll ever recover and enjoy your life again.

You lose your faith in humanity. You start to think anyone could hurt and harm another … no matter who it is, or how wonderful they seem.

You lose your sense of humour – at least for a while.

Things People don’t ‘get’ about Trauma

You don’t just deal with it, and move on. Everything within you resists recovery – because your brain wants to protect you from being harmed again.

There isn’t an off switch you can use with your reactions. They come out of the blue, and it can take a while to calm down the responses, and to quieten the fears.

This is a game with no rules; you have to go with the flow. Your subconscious holds the reigns. Your conscious mind no longer has control.

You can’t act some part and pretend you’re over it. Trauma is too powerful. It dominates your life.

There is Hope

You can recover and move on, eventually. It takes a lot of work. It takes tenacity. But you can get in touch with your old self again.

There are people who can help, if you look hard enough. But be careful who you tell. Very few will understand. Be persistent, and can looking. It is worth it in the end.

Often, you find a new tribe. A tribe you never knew existed. A tribe you never, ever thought about before. And you’re very, very grateful you have found this tribe.

You develop a much deeper, new respect for yourself, and a fierceness at enforcing healthy boundaries.

Although trauma leaves it mark, there can be payoffs as well. It turns you into someone who can empathize with others. And you can hold out a bright beacon of hope to them, as well.

Each of us heals in our own way.”

– Rachel Remen

How To Quiet The Voice In Our Head After Trauma

The following is a guest post from DiosRaw.com. Please check out her website if you would like to read more of her posts.

After a traumatic experience we can feel like we are going crazy, a weight of devastation presses us down as if the pain will never stop. Trauma impacts everyone in different ways and the symptoms of this trauma can be endless.

Today I am going to offer some tips on ways to quieten the voice in your head after trauma.

What is the voice in your head?

Also referred to as “internal dialogue,” “the voice inside your head,” or an “inner voice,” your internal monologue is the result of certain brain mechanisms that cause you to “hear” yourself talk in your head without actually speaking and forming sounds.

Tips on quieting the inner voice after trauma when it gets too loud:

  • Community. Find a community of people who are going through the same experiences as you who can make you feel understood and not alone. We are primal creatures that need people to bond with. Over and over again, research has found that finding support from others can be a major factor in helping people overcome the negative effects of a traumatic event and PTSD. Having someone you trust that you can talk to can be very helpful for working through stressful situations or for emotional validation.
  • Meditation. The power of meditation thrusts survivors directly into the heart of wounds that often require more than mindful awareness to heal. Yet mindfulness is also a valuable asset for trauma survivors.
  • Yoga. Known to benefit the mind as well as the body, yoga has been proven beneficial for addressing stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction recovery, and even personal growth.
  • Validate Your Experience. What you have experienced is real and distressing. Having the name or context of traumatic stress/PTSD lets you know that how you feel is not your fault. There is nothing “wrong” with you. What you’re going through is actually a normal response to abnormal experiences. It’s important to remind yourself of this as you go through challenging symptoms because self-validation is an important part of healing.
  • Laughter. Humour is medicine, when you laugh you release endorphins which can help smother your pain with a soothing sensation. Laughter boosts your immune system and rewires your brain. Find things that make you laugh, watch a humorous youtube video or talk to the friend that always makes you smile.
  • Focusing on what gives your life meaning. Are you a writer? Write. Are you an artist? Create art. Does bringing up your child give you meaning? Do something fun with your daughter or son. Do you feel you have no meaning in life? Research into spirituality and see what insights you find.
  • Breathing techniques. It may sound unusual, but many people do not breathe properly. Natural breathing involves your diaphragm, a large muscle in your abdomen. When you breathe in, your belly should expand. When you breathe out, your belly should fall. Over time, people forget how to breathe this way and instead use their chest and shoulders. This causes short and shallow breaths, which can increase stress and anxiety. Fortunately, it is quite possible to re-learn how to breathe deeply from your diaphragm and help protect yourself from stress. Practice simple deep breathing exercises to improve your breathing and combat anxiety. I use the method of 4-8-4, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breathe for 8 seconds and then release for 4 seconds and release.
  • Knowing you are not alone. There are millions of us who have gone through traumatic experiences, I am one voice of many. Try and find support groups, like-minded souls and online support to aid you on your healing journey.
  • Nothing lasts forever. Change is the only constant, all things will pass eventually. Time is one of the biggest healers.
  • Self-monitoring. This can be a helpful way of getting a handle on your anxiety symptoms. We are all creatures of habit. We often go about our day without thinking, being unaware of much that goes on around us. This may be useful in some situations, but other times, this lack of awareness may make us feel as though our thoughts and emotions are completely unpredictable and unmanageable. We cannot really address uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety without first being aware of what situations bring up these feelings. Self-monitoring is a simple way of increasing this awareness.
  • Journaling. To cope with and express your thoughts and feelings, journaling (also called expressive writing) can be a good way of coping with anxiety. Expressive writing has been found to improve physical and psychological health. In PTSD in particular, expressive writing has been found to have a number of benefits, including improved coping, post-traumatic growth (the ability to find meaning in and have positive life changes following a traumatic event), and reduced PTSD symptoms of tension and anger. Make use of your suffering and write a masterpiece.
  • Research into spirituality. Start reading up on spirituality, find different concepts and ideas which can help put your trauma into perspective. Having trust in an intelligent universal consciousness helps tremendously.

Thank you all for reading this post; hopefully it helped aid you and filled up your tool kit with coping mechanisms for quieting the voice in your head after trauma. Always remember, you are not alone!

“There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.” – Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” – S. Kelley Harrell, Gift of the Dreamtime – Reader’s Companion

Let me know how this post helped you below!

-Amber, diosraw.com

Soul Care

Beautiful girl, take care of yourself. No-one else knows what your soul needs.”

Do you actually know what your soul needs just now?

Really figuring that out, can be difficult at times.

First, we need to find a way to successfully detach from the never-ending list of “must’s”, “ought’s” and  “should’s”.

From being the right partner/ mother/ daughter/ sister/ friend.

From that guilt-inducing list of responsibilities.

And often that can be the hardest part of all.

But you really need to do it.

You need to detach.

You need to make it possible to listen to your heart.

And when you do, you will find that your soul starts to speak. It will start to give you hints. It will tell you what you need.

It might be something very simple. Something small and practical like relaxing on your own. Curled up snuggly with a book.

Or it might be something deeper like the need to mourn and grieve for the heartache, disappointment and the pain that you’ve been through.

Or the need to stop comparing. And the need to like yourself. To work harder on self-love, and being comfortable with you.

But whatever it is … your heart and soul already know.

And they’ll share that secret with you, if you’ll listen carefully.

It’s Good to Talk

Tell your story. Shout it. Write it. Whisper it if you have to. But tell it. Some won’t understand it. Some will outright reject it. But many will thank you for it. And then the most magical thing will happen. One by one, voices will start whispering, “Me, too. ” And your tribe will gather. And you will never feel alone again.”

-L.R. Knost 

Can you imagine how good it would be to be able to talk? To be able to share. To have your pain held – like a scared, tender thing?

Can you picture that?

Can you imagine what it would be like to be understood? To feel understood. To know that you are not the only one. To know that others have walked in your shoes, and experienced what you’ve experienced.

Of course, it can never be exactly the same – because everyone’s experience is different. But something similar enough for them to absolutely get it. Without having to defend yourself, or explain yourself to anyone.

Can you imagine how good that would feel?

Can you imagine how the weight would lift from your shoulders?

Can you imagine the relief? The sense of being able to let go – of all the pain, the heartache, the sorrow, the judgment, the deep, deep disappoint and pain.

Can you imagine what a difference that would make to you?

I hope that you are able to take that first step. To find a way to talk, and to share what you’ve been through.  You owe it to yourself. Your story really should be heard.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one!’” – C.S. Lewis  

My Wish for You …

1. My wish for you is when you wake up feeling blah, you’ll treat yourself with kindness and show yourself compassion. Yes, we know there are some hard things that we always have to do, but perhaps this is a day to slow down, and take it easy.

2. My wish for you is that you won’t just sit and daydream about the different things you could go for, and accomplish. But that you’ll find the strength and courage to step out and take risks … and you’ll set yourself large goals … and you’ll work hard to achieve them.

3. My wish for you is that when the cloud and fog encompass, or when you’re sad and lonely, or you feel you’ve lost your bearings, you’ll reach out for support … and you’ll find your tribe surrounds you.

4. My wish for you is when you feel you have regrets, you won’t let guilt and shame weigh you down, and overwhelm you. You won’t let failure haunt you. Please remember – we’re all human. This doesn’t mean it’s over. You can always start again.

5. My wish for you is when you’re pulled in all directions, you’ll find your inner compass, and you’ll know which way to turn. That you’ll listen to your heart, and be able to determine what’s meaningful for you. What will help fulfill your purpose.

6. My wish for you is that you’ll know which battles matter. That you’ll stay true to yourself in the midst of life’s hard struggles. That you won’t give up the fight, or surrender under pressure. Instead, you’ll rest, regroup, and you’ll stay centred and focused.

7. My wish for you is that you’ll look up at the stars, and be awed and inspired by the vastness all around you. That you’ll hope onto your hope, and you’ll never stop believing that life’s a precious gift, one that’s filled with  love and wonder.