We all have bouts of freaky emotion and panic and inner pain, hopefully not all at the same time. With practice, you will figure out what works best for you.

Some people think that deep breathing is garbage, but it’s helped me weather some horrible states.

psyberartist on flickr
psyberartist on flickr

Actually, deep breathing is not my  primary suggestion; my primary suggestion is to remember that whatever you are feeling will pass.

It’s easy for most people to imagine being trapped in a cube of pain, but nearly all unpleasant and powerful feelings are just not sustainable. You quite literally cannot feel that awful forever.

Once you are breathing deeply and reminding yourself that “this too shall pass,” pet a dog. If you are in some dog-less hell of a place at that moment, vividly imagine that you are petting your favorite dog.

Because calming is difficult, people look for short cuts in substances or distracting activities. Sometimes taking a break chemically or through game machines is perfectly appropriate, but don’t get stuck there. You want to be skilled at herding your feelings even when the electricity is out and the bottle is empty and all the cup cakes are gone.

So now that you are deep-breathing and this-too-shall-passing and dog-petting, add stretching. Stretch your neck, wiggle your ears, shrug your shoulders and loosen up any hunching and leaning your body may be doing.

Assuming that you don’t have to escape a burning building or flee some other threat, give yourself time to work on this. Don’t rush into your first reaction. Remember that you can work out your next move when you are calm again, which will be pretty soon now.

starrynight1 on flickr
starrynight1 on flickr

If you can walk to a different place, try that too. If you can’t physically leave, imagine that you are gently opening the door to your secret garden or your hobbit hole, or maybe your ice fishing hut.

Later on, take a minute to think about your tsunami of sensation. Maybe it’s just a fluke, maybe you misunderstood something, but it’s quite possible that you have some work to do.

If that’s the case, don’t ignore it. It will be back.

Be just a bit more ready for it next time.

You can do this.



2 Replies to “How can I calm down?”

  1. Reblogged this on askyermom and commented:

    Most recently, I’ve had excellent results listening to Tara Brach when any midnight panic set in. Essentially, for her method, you greet the panic, invite it to stay for tea and have a chat with it. It certainly beats medicating an escape hatch.


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