Monday, May 18, 2009

Thoughts on Thoughts

Ever notice how sometimes our thoughts can make a crummy situation even more miserable? I had no idea how powerful my thoughts were until I was forced to face them. My thoughts could turn normal stress into a full blown panic attack and make me truly believe that if I left my house or attempted to step outside of my comfort zone something horrific would happen. And even though deep down I knew better, my thoughts called the shots.

There's nothing worse than feeling the first pangs of stress and anxiety. I used to feel it in the pit of my stomach. Then my entire chest would sieze up and my fingers and toes would get ice cold and ultimately become numb. Then, as if watching a movie in slow motion, I could mentally predict each thing that would happen to me as I began to launch into a panic attack. And at times, I felt there was nothing I could do about it but freak out. Initial thoughts went something like this...

OMG, I'm going to lose it and EVERYONE is going to see me have a panic attack!

Oh no, I'm going to get sick, I just know it. I'm going to get sick in front of everyone!

I gotta get outta here RIGHT NOW! I can't let anyone see this happen to me... they'll think I'm crazy!

It took me a long, long time to learn to ride it out and work on not letting my thoughts get the best of me. And like I've said many times before, anxiety never goes away... what does change is our ability to cope with it. So armed with my "anti-anxiety tool belt" (which included knowledge on breathing, stress relieving yoga poses and the confidence in positive thoughts) now I just ride anxiety out. I've been panic attack free for awhile (knock on wood) but I still get feelings of anxiousness. Instead of perpetuating it through scary thoughts and doubt, I talk myself through it and actually try to just sit with it... weird at first, but pretty cool once you get the hang of it. I go through my entire body and notice what it's feeling and how my thoughts impact what I feel. I stay connected to myself and in the moment.

Have you ever taken time to sit through an anxious episode or crappy experience? Where you ever able to change the situation and feelings by utilizing your thoughts?

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