Anxiety - would you try this exercise??Jul 14, 2018
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.
Anxiety and panic attacks are debilitating and really affect our quality of life, right? So I am keen to share with you and hope you give it a go...
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...
So here is what I did :) Are you ready lol
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.
- initially having a cold shower increases your heart rate (and if you are like me, you may even hold your breath...) - so this exercise gives you very similar body sensations as anxiety does
- athletes sit in ice water baths after a workout to help decrease inflammation
- Jim Kwik recommends cold showers in the morning to supercharge your brain
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.
Here's a video on social anxiety with complex PTSD
Do you feel disconnected from your body?
Self-awareness and feeling safe in your body are difficult concepts after Childhood trauma. People with complex PTSD often feel disconnected from their body.
This is a normal coping mechanism to survive the trauma but puts as at great risk of developing burnout and disease in adulthood. This video series is for you to become more aware of all the different ways your body is talking to you and some practices, tips and exercises. You can watch it here
In the meantime, as always, lots and lots of love and rainbows to brighten up the tough times just a little.
For more videos hop on over and check out my YouTube Channel.
Here are the recordings from FB lives where I shared tips, practices and tools that helped me on my healing journey