The Two-Minute Treatment series is for people who are too busy and need help now. As with all treatments, if you need to, please take time to research the links before just jumping in. If you don’t need lots of footnotes and “science” just go for it; this stuff works for me or I wouldn’t share it with you.
Panic is a symptom of deep unrest, anxiety, fear. Your system hits the panic button to let off some of that pressure. This two-minute treatment can turn panic attacks into a superpower.
When panic strikes
The thing you want most when panic strikes is anything else, but you can’t stop a subway train by telling it to relax. The energy in panic needs to be spent somehow, or it will continue to build up.
While it seems counter-intuitive, emotional energy won’t move until it’s spent. This is hard with the up-regulating emotions like fear and anger but, like sadness, our systems want to experience these feelings, and hanging on to them isn’t’ healthy.
So, the first step in this two-minute treatment is to get with the panic. Yes: really feel it. Even if you are in panic mode because of a life-threatening situation, the fight/flight/freeze energy is there to help you. Don’t fight it; use it. Get away, or fight, or just stay very still, but consciously allow the panic energy. It’s terrifying but won’t hurt you if you don’t resist it.
When life-threatening panic strikes get to safety or avoid physical harm. Please. That’s a wise, consistent use of the energy. But what if panic has a really good non- life-threatening reason? Throttle the panic while you mine the energy it has for you.
But first, the environment.
Even though science hasn’t yet explained how Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) works, bi-lateral stimulation is currently one of the most effective modalities for processing negative emotional energy.
You can self-administer this modality using any of the “8D music” you like on YouTube here. Wear headphones. As the music orbits around you, it will create the bilateral stimulation needed for EMDR work. That’s the environment where you’ll do your work with panic.
Make it work
Here’s how it works. For this treatment, you can use simple breath work to put a throttle on panic. (There are other ways, too, but you want simple and effective, right?)
- Grab some headphones and a way to stream YouTube. Find a comfortable chair where you won’t be disturbed for two minutes. Sit. Start the 8D music that you like. Notice your breath in and out.
- As you listen, allow the panic-triggered emotions to become fully present with you. You probably won’t have to work too hard at this! As you allow panic fully, trust that bi-lateral stimulation is at work (it is – that’s the 8D music triggering left side, then right side, etc).
- If you feel a need to intervene to dial back the emotions you’re experiencing, shift focus and count your inhale and exhale: one – two – three – four in, one – two – three – four out. If you can only make it to two that’s fine; if you can count longer in the inhale and exhale, that’s fine, too. When you feel control return, allow yourself to breathe normally.
Your objective is to become present with panic on equal terms; you recognize the emotions, and their familiarity no longer immobilizes and overwhelms you.
As you stay with the emotional energy, you may notice that it starts to shift away from fear and toward anger, sadness, or joy. You may even notice your emotional energy becomes quietly neutral – no charge either good or bad. The shift towards another emotion or towards emotional neutral means your work, for the moment, is done.
With practice, you may start to notice that the negative energy in panic dissipates in favor of a positive adrenalin rush. That’s your superpower at work. Use it!
Summary: the two-minute treatment for panic attacks
- YouTube this channel
- Let that music play while you allow the panic – on purpose!
- Allow yourself to feel deeply – use your breath to throttle the experience
- After two minutes, stop and check in with yourself: how do you feel now?
- Repeat as you like