Around 4am this morning, I awoke in a panic. My chest, my belly, my entire torso, was constricted and tight. Throbbing. Like a boa constrictor squeezing a mouse that was my torso. Emotional pain had now, as it always did, transformed into physical pain.
What I did to relieve the panic and anxiety:
1) I put my hand there where it was tight and taut, almost sore from the crippling panic and anxiety. And lovingly, almost in tears, I said like I was Harry Potter uttering a magic spell: I embrace you, anxiety, worry, panic, with tenderness. (Taken from Thich Nhat Hanh’s little yellow book.)
2) I still felt some constriction. So I practiced Dr Brad’s 4/6 breaths (i.e., inhale regularly out of your nose for four seconds, exhale through pursed lips for six seconds) over and over until I just felt ease. Expansion. A shimmering coolness come over my torso, chest, belly. Easy breathing 😮💨
Miraculously, I was able to fall back asleep! 💤
But I should note: this was not a one and done thing. I did have to repeat this a few times. And when I awoke for good later this morning, I felt more anxiety about all the things I said I would do, all the things on my plate. I repeated this above and like a magic incantation: it worked!
I’m parking this recipe here to help, the next time you awake in a panic in the middle of the night, or honestly anytime, for my future self (who easily forgets tools for bliss) or for anyone who happens across this page and finds it helpful.
May we all feel ease and expansion.