A couple of days in a row, I received messages that tossed me into a bit of hyperventilation that was more than anxiety and less than a panic attack.
We all get these at times.
Something happens to someone we care about. There’s scary news. A concerning diagnosis. A collective angst. A physical threat. A near miss accident.
In the midst of some ‘need to breathe, need to breathe, need to breathe’ mantras, I thought, what else would be helpful? Here’s what I came up with:
Name it. Whatever it is. Panic, anger, grief, shock, anxiety, sadness. Name it. It loses some of its sting just by saying it out.
Acknowledge the feeling in your body. Maybe you’re shaky. Maybe you’re not breathing. Maybe your mouth is dry. Maybe you feel like you got hit in the gut.
Is there something you can do to help your body? A drink of water. A walk in the sunshine. Pausing and listening to music. Take care of yourself.
Is there someone you can reach out to? Maybe we can’t share what is happening (perhaps it is private or not ours to share) but we can always share that ‘something’ is happening, ask if they can listen to us, and then share how we are feeling.
Look for the beauty and wonder around us. Sometimes it is found in those who help or the smiles of those we encounter. Sometimes it is as simple as watching the clouds or smelling the flowers.
Finally (and this is my new favorite!), how can we imagine the best possible future for the circumstances or think about how we can create a different outcome? This is hard for me as I’m a pro at jumping to the worst-case scenario, but I have been working on shifting my mind-set to ‘what if it was better than I expected?’ Not all things have a silver lining but sometimes the phoenix really does rise from the ashes.
By the way, the energy is pretty choppy right now and I know many who are experiencing some instability in one or more areas of life. If you’re riding the waves pretty well, reach out to someone who isn’t. If you’ve fallen off your surfboard, see who can help you get back up. My guess is we’re all going to need a hand of support or encouragement at various times in the next 2-3 years. We can help each other return to our heart when the air gets knocked out of us.
Be gentle with each other.
Be gentle with yourself.