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S.O.S. breathing: how to deal with panic

I got my panic moment last week in Medellin.

Last week when I got home one night, I tried to use the key to open the main gate. Accidentally, the key broke into half which half of it got stuck into the key hole. I only had weak wifi which I tried to contact my landlord and roommates yet did not received any replies.

Being stuck in front of the building in the dark, to be honest, I felt panic. Instead of encouraging this feeling, I breathe. This consciousness did not just calm me down, it brought support I need at once.

A lady who lives in the building came home and help getting me in, followed by my lovely roommate arrived on time and helped me get the ‘half’ key out and I no need to worry where to fix it at such a late night, plus my landlord came and replace me a new key in the same hour.

Why we panic and what is it?

Panic, is an emotion arises when unexpected moments suddenly attack us. We are completely shocked and do not know how to react. Physically we enter the flight or fight mode, which is an alarm stage signals by the parasympathetic nervous system telling us that we are unsafe. Our pulse, blood pressure, blood sugar increase, we start sweating, being alert and getting anxious.

panic attack, mice

We all got panic moments in life. It could be as big as someone you love got into hospital, or just a tiny moment like the printer never works before the presentation. How can we change our thoughts and deal with these panic moments and make a drastic change on the result in the same situation?

Focus on how you feel, here is the step-by-step guidance on how to do it with the effective breathing technique.

S.O.S. breathing for panic attack

sara mapelli, bees meditation

How to stay calm like Sara Mapelli when her whole body is covered up by bees? Breathe.

Step 1: get ready

Sit up tall and straight on a chair, with palm facing upwards and your feet grounding firmly on the floor.

Inhale through your nose, brings all the air towards your belly and expand it like a balloon.

Exhale slowly with your mouth, belly falls.

Repeat. (1 min)

Step 2: breathe to feel

Breathe to feel your physical body, aware of all the sensations you have in the moment.

Breathe and bring the air to ease those part which is tense, tight and blocked. Slowly, relax each part of them.

Repeat. (1 min)

Breathe to feel your panic, what is happening inside you? how do you feel?

Describe the feelings in detailed like analysis in a microscope, where is it located?

how does it look like? the form, colour, texture... as detailed as you can.

Repeat. (1 min)

feel your emotions: the form, colour, shape, texture, temperature, brightness etc

Step 3: dancing with the dragon

Continue feeling and breathing into the panic, imagine it is coming towards you like a dragon.

Inhale, visualise this dragon is flying towards you, opening the mouth and starts swallowing you.

Exhale, longer and deeper exhale, allow yourself to completely immerse in the panic, inside the dragon, be in the dark.

Knowing on the next inhalation, light is coming towards you again.

Inhale, a bright light shines the dragon away and you know you are safe even you see the dragon is coming towards you again.

Exhale, allow yourself to be swallowed again by the dragon, be with it and back to the light on the next inhale.

Continue inhale with the light and exhale to feel the darkness with more and more security.

Repeat. (2 mins or more)

To deal with panic, there is only one way out. Feel it, witness it and accept it. In the moment where we feel it with compassion, inner peace comes. Yes, mindfulness can be this easy. Only if we choose to see it consciously, this panic no longer need to project itself in the outside world for us to see it.

Next time when you feel panic again, prioritise this 5-min breathing. You would be surprised how fast you can back to calmness and the problem seems no longer a problem anymore. Share with me your experience when it is done!

Finally, I want to share with you a mantra:

“Problems are not the problem, coping is the problem”- Virgina Satir

Do you have any panic moment in life you find hard to deal with? Share with me and let’s cope with it together, you never need to walk alone.

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