There are a great many components to panic and anxiety – it’s a jumbled-up concoction of elements. No two people are exactly the same. Therefore, I can only write about my own anxieties and experiences, tell you what I do and what works for me, and hope that you are able to use some of this in your own life.
Today I would like to talk about something known as “FLOODING.” Simply puts, flooding occurs when the mind (and body) is overwhelmed by input; and that triggers your panic. Think of it like this: what if you noticed (in detail) every car on the highway, every conversation in a crowded room, every word on every box that you saw in a store – everything? You are unable to block anything out, and you are flooded with information overload. That’s what flooding is like – and that’s what happens to me. I can’t block out anything, and it makes me panic.
I start to flood every morning. I usually awaken with lots of energy and in an upbeat mood. Then, my brain kicks into high gear. I immediately think of everything I need to do that day: all the work that needs to be done, all the chores around the house, the people I need to call, the places I need to go, the meals I need to cook for my family. Before you know it, there is a knot in my stomach, my chest tightens, I feel tension in my head, and I can feel my panic level rise. If I don’t do something to block this flood, I will soon be in panic mode.
So, then, what do I do to prevent this from becoming a panic attack? I am going to list a few simple tricks I use – there are others and I am sure you may have some of your own as well – that help me when this happens. Some may seem quite silly or embarrassing, but they can work. Just remember that the key to stopping flooding (the uncontrolled flow of input into your brain) is to block that information from reaching it.
1. CLOSE YOUR EYES – Often, this is enough to do the trick. Blocking the visual input for a few minutes has a calming effect on the mind.
2. COVER YOUR EARS – I know this may look silly, but when noise becomes too intense, you need to block it out. It may be okay to replace it with calming music or sounds, but you will have to figure out if that works for you or not.
3. GO TO A CALM PLACE – Although I do not always recommend this as it appears as if you are running away, it is okay to just move to another spot and “get a breath of fresh air” if you will. Just make sure you do not give in to the panic and run away. Calming down and returning is the goal.
4. MEDITATE – Perhaps a better way to escape is to meditate for a while (go within yourself). If you can close your eyes and visualize peace and calmness, you with notice panic retreating. This is not as “freaky” as people make it out to be. Meditation does not mean you have to wear a robe or sit cross-legged on the floor. It is a way to seek inner peace.
5. TAKE DEEP BREATHS – Again, this may sound simplistic, but taking a few cleansing breaths will slow the body down, and you will be more in tuned to what is going on inside you than outside you (the input).
6. DRINK WATER – A cool glass of water can also help to interrupt the process – and besides, your body needs lots of water to function well, so this kills two birds with one stone.
7. WASH UP – Wash your face with cool water, and be sure to get lots of water on your hands and wrists. This calms you down and inhibits panic.
8. REMOVE THE INPUT – Quite often we have control over some of the flood elements. If this is the case, take action to get rid of them: turn off the television or radio, step away from the computer or device. Unplug the things that have contributed to the amount of information reaching your brain.
9. MAKE A LIST – Make a to-do list and think of it in terms of the entire day, not just the moment. Use SELF-TALK to remind yourself that there indeed is enough time to get everything done.
Perhaps many of you are saying “duh” or “tell me something new” or “you must be joking.” I realize that these things are not earth-shattering breakthroughs. But please realize this: anything that you use in your arsenal of defense against anxiety and panic is a GOOD THING. This happens to me EVERY SINGLE DAY; and this is what I use to survive it. Do not underestimate the power of the tiniest and most simple things in life – THEY DO WORK!
Have a wonderful day – stay strong my friends – SMILE!