Are you ready for a challenge?
The exercise I am going to share with you today, you might not like at all...
but you might, knowing that it made a real difference in how I can manage my anxiety and panic attacks now.
Last year I tapered off all my medication (please don't make any changes to your medication without seeing your doctor). Ever since then, first thing in the morning when I wake up, I am all panicky (my heart rate goes up, my thoughts start to race, I get shaky...).
Every single morning between 5 and 6 am (I am early riser lol) this was happening. All in a sudden, for no reason, I have my little morning freak out ...
Every single morning!
Anxiety is just such a wicked strong feeling and it's just so uncomfortable, isn't it? You just really want this to go away immediately! And the more I tried to get rid of it, the stronger it got and longer it lasted!
The frustrating part is that this happens even on days where nothing is planed that would justify me feeling that level of anxiety. Then of course that really gives my toxic inner critic a lot of fuel...
Well, not a great way to start the day...
Every morning I have a cold shower.
I told you, you may not like it. But please let me explain why I tried it and why I think it made such a big impact on how I can manage my anxiety now - actually my anxiety attacks just about disappeared.
So there is nothing dangerous about having a cold shower. But because of all our trauma history, our brain immediately associates uncomfortable feelings with danger.
The cold shower helped me to increase my tolerance for uncomfortable feelings and sensations. I constantly have to remind myself (even say it out loud): you are ok, you are not in danger.
This exercise helped me to make room for these feelings and stay with those sensations. Initially it may only be one arm you hold under the running cold water. That is cool too.
It is important to do this exercise in a way so you can stay present and grounded and that way it will help you increase that "window of tolerance".
This can help us re-wire our brain.
Our brain will get used to uncomfortable feelings and not in a flash automatically make that association that anything uncomfortable means we are in immediate danger.
Now when I wake up in the morning, instead of fearing I am about to have another anxiety attack, I know I am ok with those sensations. If my heart rate goes up, I make "room" for that panicky feeling. I am no longer afraid of it.
Interestingly, I rarely have anxiety attacks now. If I do feel panicky it usually only lasts a couple of minutes instead of an hour or two. Because I no longer fight that emotion.
Does that make sense? Can you see the power behind this exercise?
You may find it useful too or you may not. I do hope so that you will at least try this exercise for a few weeks before you judge it.
Please let me know how you go with it :) I love hearing from you.
In the meantime, as always, lots and lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little.
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