Sometimes the Panic just comes. It may not matter that we’ve done the work or that we should just be past all that by now. It may even seem that the Panic should just KNOW that we are done with it. And yet, at our most vulnerable moments, it catches us, and sometimes it does so even at our strongest.
We can ride big change just like a roller coaster at the amusement park, feeling the thrills and excitement of the wild ride and allowing our screams to be those of exhilaration and joyous abandon. And even though we know that we are probably safe, every once in a while, there may be a little bump on the ride that makes our heart fall and that tumbles us into temporary terror.
And the bigger the change, the more forcefully it seems we can hit the panic button. Our egos have the very important job of trying to protect us from hurt and pain. They remember the last time we were hurt or took a risk that caused us to land flat on our faces. They remember and they keep count, just in case we forget. And so we do the work and we realize that it’s okay to make mistakes and we shift our thought patterns and we heal and then something really great comes along and we expand oh so quickly and then – whammo! Our ego clocks us one and the panic sets in.
This happened to me just the other day. There are so many wonderful transitions occurring in my life and so much growth that it really took me by surprise when one of my old behaviors cropped up. My knee jerk reaction was anxiety and I jumped right into it as if cozying up to a long lost friend. But what was different was that I am different. Because I’m doing the work to heal, I was able to see how I was reacting and then to adjust my behavior around it. I wasn’t my reactions anymore – something that I used to confuse constantly. And because it was uncomfortable, not only did I not want to stay in that energy, I didn’t want to spend any extra time in there.
So what can we do when this happens? How can we shift out of it in a way that honors the message we’re being given without compromising our growth?
Here are a few tips to help you get through the process, not necessarily in order, but more or less so:
1. Stop, drop, and breathe: One of my client’s guides shares this with her through me often and I’ve adopted it for myself and passed it on to many others. When you feel the Panic (or any other fear based emotion) come over you, pause, drop into your belly space, and start taking long, deep breaths. Let your tummy rise on the in-breath and fall on the out. Feel yourself in your body and allow yourself to enjoy the breathing process. You cannot take slow breaths from your belly and continue to be anxious. It just doesn’t work.
2. Lavender Essential Oil: Oh my goddess. This is like one of the most heavenly scents when you are anxious. I could swim in it because it just smells/feels that good. Place a few drops on your wrists or temples and if you have time, take an Epsom salt bath with four or five drops in it.
3. Dance party: Put on your favorite playlist and rock out. Sing at the top of your lungs and dance. Be crazy. Be silly. Be loud. I have one that is specifically geared to helping me feel empowered.
4. Ground yourself: Mother Nature is your friend. I hug trees because hugging trees really helps, but if that feels too weird for you, standing barefoot, sitting – or even better lying – on the grass will help you to discharge excess energy. I imagine all of the excess or ramped up energy draining out of me and I thank Mother Earth for transmuting it for me. I swear to you: This feels great.
5. Check in with it: Once you’ve released the energy and are feeling calmer, get curious about what happened. Our emotions are an important indicator of what is true to us. If panic has set in, it is because we need to take a look at something. It may not even be what triggered it, and so playing detective can help us to uncover the true cause of our unrest. From this space, we are able to create lasting shift if we are patient and kind with ourselves.
Sometimes big change can cause things to come up so that we can kick them to the curb once and for all. For me, I recognized that the trigger had more to do with taking a risk that I feel confident about now, but that in the past I would have made despite not being ready for it, which would have led to failure. By recognizing this and focusing (after doing all of the above) on my new thought patterns, I was able to acknowledge and be grateful for a reaction that used to serve me but doesn’t anymore.