The catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily sensations

Those lovely biological events like anxiety, panic, mania, depression and trauma come for us all eventually.

And if we don’t anticipate that suffering ahead of time when we’re in a calm, cool state, then it will be impossible for us to execute a recovery plan when the pressure is on. And we will feel like the world is slowly closing in on us like a trash compactor.

Psychiatric doctors often observe this with their patients. Through a variety of genetic and environmental triggers, someone becomes locked inside of a biological prison. Their brain’s rational understanding is overwhelmed. And what medical training tells the doctors is, don’t try to deal with the trauma until this patient is in a more solid biological state and more secure.

Think about that last sentence for a moment, because this concept is profoundly helpful for the average person.

In the same way that we use first aid kits, fire extinguishers and safe rooms to protect our houses in the event of an emergency, our mind and spirit should follow suit. Each of us should make our own plan that maps out a robust repertoire of activities guaranteed to provide us with the experience of safety and security.

Like talking to loved ones on the phone or in person, physical movement, mediation, breathing exercises, and so on.

One physician, whose books that have had a huge impact on my growth, makes a great speech to his addiction patients:

Your brain chemistry needs to settle down and return to normal, so you can begin to think more clearly and engage in the emotional experience of recovery. To contain the panicking spread of anxiety, you must be able to identity and put a comprehensible label upon your feelings. If you stay with that process and don’t panic, you will be able to pass safely through each stage of anxiety and onto the next level.

Sound like a difficult skill to learn? You’re right.

Choosing to wait instead of acting in panic and urgency is an act of faith. In fact, most people never figure out their own safety plan. Others, like myself, require a few panic attacks and depressive episodes before they get serious about it.

But when you find yourself gripped in some biological vise, there’s no room in your head for anything else. And it’s comforting to know that there are tools and rituals at your disposal to keep the walls from closing in.

Don’t wait until you start working yourself up into a state of panic and imagining the worst.

Dig your well before you’re thirsty. Create a custom process for getting out of the grip you are in. 

How will you cope with the relentless force of your biology?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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