An Antidote to Panic is Grounding

Panic is a sudden, overwhelming feeling of fear or anxiety. It can come upon us suddenly, possibly caused by an amygdala hijack, which essentially overrides the thinking, logical functions of our brains, generating the freeze, flight, fight automatic response. There are any range of situations that can move us into panic, actual and imagined, and it isn’t “logical” or “rational” because it originates in the most primitive part of the brain, the part of the brain in charge of all of the automatic functions of the body we don’t think about, like breathing, digestion, blood circulation.

Grounding is an antidote to panic. Grounding can take any number of forms. Taking a deep breath. Counting to 10 (yes, it works). Tuning into the body, shutting out distractions. Putting feet on the floor or the ground and feeling the connection to something outside of yourself. Stepping outside, feeling the dirt, grass or trees with feet or hands.

I think sometimes we feel embarrassed when panic overtakes us. Like every emotional experience, acknowledging the panic, overwhelm and embarrassment is important. All of these reactions make us human and we are not alone in our emotional experiences. Likely, we have all been there. So, let us grant ourselves the grace we would offer to others, take another deep breath and decide on the next best step we are capable of taking.

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