Mindfulness

Authentically You

Avengers

All too often we get caught up in trying to be someone or something we’re not. That is why when I was watching the new Avengers movie recently, this quote really jumped out at me:

“Everyone fails at becoming who they’re suppose to be Thor. A measure of a person is how well they succeed at becoming who they are”.

There are many reasons different reasons why each of us might become caught up in someone else’s expectation of us. But take a few moments to think about your expectations for yourself. Yes-   you are going to have to quiet that inner critic for this exercise!

Take some time to ponder the following questions, as a way to truly get to know you and the driving forces in your life that originate from your own heart:

  1. What causes you to connect with joy?
  2. What are 3 values you live your life by, and where do you think these originated from in your life?
  3. What are the general themes that tend to cause your inner critic to scream out?
  4. What (or who) enables you to connect with love?
  5. Who and what are you most grateful for in your daily life?
  6. If you could plan the perfect day, what would it look like?
  7. If you could plan the perfect day to spend with just yourself, what would it look like?
  8. Are there some areas of your life that fear is stopping you from moving forward? What are they, and what would need to change for that fear to be a little less?
  9. What are 3 short-term goals you currently have in your life? What is the driving force behind these goals?
  10. What are 3 long-term goals you currently have in your life? What is the driving force behind them? If it isn’t you, who is it and why?

Living in the shadow of who you think you’re supposed to be can be a big source of stress. I hope you take the time to explore and discover and accept the wonderful person that is you. Remember, we are all works in progress, so go slow, and go with intent.

Affect Regulation

Emergency Plan for Panic

The sensations of panic can either rise-up suddenly and out of the blue, or amp up slowly until they are in full swing and derail your day. When the full force of panic hits, it can feel so incredibly frightening, that every subsequent panic attack can often be triggered by thoughts of that very first one. This article will briefly outline the nature of panic, then move into emergency strategies to settle panic when it rises up.

This article is not an alternative to counselling. If you experience panic, please seek out a mental health professional to walk alongside you as heal and build the skills you need to live panic-free. And, while these ideas are shared as strategies anyone can use to settle panic, there are times when what we need most is a person to wait out the storm with us. If you are struggling to settle the strong sensations of panic, please reach out to a support person.

The sensations we so often associate with actually panic serve an important purpose. Panic is the intense side of a response that is actually very adaptive. Low levels of anxiety mobilize us to take action, to get safe from harm, and to be adequately prepared.

Perhaps you are familiar with the sudden flash of activation that sparks up in your body when a car suddenly swerves into your lane. That sudden activation that sparks up is exactly what enables you to pull your car to safety. It may take some time, but once we are safe that activation starts to settle. When it doesn’t settle, or when no event tends to trigger it, that is when we need to seek help. Click here to learn more about anxiety and panic.

Panic is about a Faulty Switch. When the sensation of panic hits us out of nowhere, or when we awaken in a panic, we are bombarded with highly activated body sensations and emotions, and our mind is often flooded with confusion.

The sensations of panic can include:

  • racing heart,
  • sweating,
  • shaking or trembling,
  • shortness of breath,
  • chest pain,
  • chills or hot flashes,
  • upset stomach and/or nausea,
  • dizziness or lightheadedness,
  • numbness or tingling sensations.

The sensations can feel incredibly confusing, and thoughts tend to spiral around “Why is this happening to me? There is no danger, I must be going crazy. Maybe I’m dying”.

When the full force of panic hits we need to switch gears, so to speak. Check out the strategies outlined below, and give each one a practice now. Then, should you find your self in panic, please turn to one of these strategies to shift gears back into emotional safety.

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Experiencing panic doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Please use the ideas here to interrupt the escalation of panic, in order to return to the present moment. Check out the resources in your community, or access a mental health professional for help stepping out of the pattern of worry, anxiety, and panic.

Let’s all keep sharing what works. Please use the comments below to share what works for you to navigate out of panic.

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