How to Deal with Panic Attacks: Star Wars Breathing Relaxation

My mood was topsy-turvy yesterday. With no ATM card I’d just lost, there was too little cash in my wallet, and it was a long weekend so the bank closed. On top of it, my boyfriend wouldn’t come to Bandung. Instead, I had to go to Jakarta if I wanted to meet him. Bummer.

I sent a harsh SMS, saying that he was a snob for showing such an apathy. I called him and started to yell at him. I didn’t really mean it, but I guess it broke my heart as much as I broke his.

When I finally pulled myself together, I realized that the situation wasn’t that bad. Solutions emerged one by one, and suddenly I felt terribly sorry for all I’d done.

Sounds familiar, huh?

Yeah, regrets always come last. During panic attacks we often do something we don’t mean to, but we do it anyway. People we actually love are so hurt that we’re left with nothing but clearer perspective: the situation might’ve been different if we’d done it differently. But that’s just too late sometimes.

Lucky for me, my boyfriend has a big heart. He forgave me within minutes, saying that me gone mad in such situation was completely understandable. Geez, after what I’d done to him…

Apologizing to him, I kept telling myself that it wouldn’t happen again. So I browsed about how to control emotions in the middle of a panic attack. Turns out a simple breathing relaxation technique can help. I tried it this morning and it worked! So lemme share it with you, yes?

Find a comfortable position
Take some time alone. In a quiet place. You may lay down or sit straight up, whichever you find comforting.

Deep breath in, blow a kiss
Take a deep breath through your nose, count up to 8. Release it really slowly through your pursed lips, like blowing a kiss. While breathing out, relax each of your muscles.
*I imagined that I was blowing a long line of gas full of negative emotions to the core of Death Star, which would be blown to pieces by Luke and Solo later.

Deep breath in, melt your body
Take a deep breath through your nose, count up to 8. Release it really slowly through your pursed lips. Relax each of your muscles. Visualize that your body is a snow figure melting on a warm, sunny day.
*I imagined that after the snow figure melted down, I saw me standing there. The healthier, happier, sexier me. And yes, with bigger boobs in yellow bikini.

Deep breath in, let the painting go
Take a deep breath through your nose, count up to 8. Release it really slowly through your pursed lips. Relax each of your muscles. Visualize whatever emotion you feel: fear, terror, anger, rage, hurt, into a painting. Imagine that you’re painting those emotions onto a canvas, and then let it go. Blow out the canvas. Blow it out of sight. Blow it out of your life.
Do this step several times till the canvas is gone.
*I added to this step a “direct message” for the painting. “Go away. Please go away. I don’t need you. You suck. Kthxbai.” It worked! I didn’t even have a chance to swing my lightsaber!

After a few minutes, I felt much better. I could see the situation from different perspective. A clearer one. With calmer mind, I could focus more on solutions, not the unwanted situation itself. Hmm, I guess that’s why meditation is taught to Padawan as one of basic learning subjects, yes?

May the force be with me. And with you.

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