Anxiety & Panic
How to Break Free from Its Grip
Published January 2018
Anxiety & Panic – How to Break Free From its Grip touches upon articles and many medical topics; however, no warranty is made of what the information is. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in this book touching on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. Even accurate information may not apply to you or your symptoms.
The medical information provided in this book is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). The author is not a doctor. Nothing in this book should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.
A Message from the Author
I hesitated to write this book because it meant I would have to go back and revisit those memories, recall those feelings of terror and of desperately not wanting to be in my own body. I feared that I would be triggered when having to face those years of suffering all over again.
When I did go back to revisit those memories and recall those feelings, I was surprised at what I found patiently waiting there for me. I found new depths of healing along with so much gratitude. I was able to recall all the beautiful people I had crossed paths with. I realized how digging out of what I used to call “hell” had connected me more fully to my body, taught me so many things about myself, and brought forward great courage and inner strength. I can now say that I am thankful for my old story and for the ability to write a new one.
Every technique in this book is something I practice on a regular basis. You do not have to start every practice TODAY, because you may feel overwhelmed. But every one of these practices will help guide you on your journey within. Should you decide to incorporate even one of these into a daily practice, the benefits will be great.
Remember to be gentle with yourself, love the parts of you that you feel are not loveable, and you’ll see how quickly your life changes.
An important point to remember as you read this book is that we as humans want to suppress the bad, suppress the evil, and suppress the wrong. But when we suppress something, it keeps us engaging with it. We must welcome all parts of ourselves to step into the arena, to show up in life, and allow them a voice to speak to us. We must allow all parts of ourselves to have an opportunity to express themselves. We must see all parts of ourselves as one with divine creation. When we do that, we are free.
This journey is about turning your attention and love inward. It is about the embodiment of Source Energy, whatever that is to you. Some call this Divine Energy, Source Energy, God, Higher Self, and Oversoul.
Thank you all for your interest in reading this book. Even if you have not been experiencing panic or anxiety, the methods explained in this book will assist in correcting almost any imbalance in the system. If you are looking for additional protocols, meditations and/or practices, please feel free to email me and we can further address any questions or concerns.
The first time I experienced a panic attack, I was nineteen years old and working as a barber in New York. I was cutting my last haircut for the day, a very sweet little boy. All of a sudden a wave of heat surged through my body. Tingles shot from my toes to the top of my head. My knees locked, I was extremely dizzy, my heart was racing, and my breathing nearly stopped. I was incredibly frightened. I thought I was going to pass out right there in front of everyone. Somehow I managed to finish the cut and sit down in the bathroom. When it was time to close up shop, I went straight home and tried to sleep it off. This had never happened to me before, and I had no warning it was coming. I didn’t know what had just happened, and I was hoping it was a one-time thing.
I was dead wrong.
As the days passed, I had more and more experiences like this. It seemed they always came when I felt trapped in some way—trapped in the grocery line, the drive-thru, or standing behind my barber chair giving a haircut. Then it got even worse. I would get panic attacks while I was driving, when I was alone in my house, and at random with no way of knowing when the next one was going to hit me. It wasn’t a matter of if it would happen again, but when. And those thoughts alone would set off another attack. I began to experience a continuous state of panic, without a break. I lived this way for many years. For the first two years I didn’t know what was happening to me or that I should even label it a “panic attack.” To be honest, I had never heard of such a thing!
Some days the shaking got so bad while I was cutting hair that I had to place clear tape over my straight razor blade before I shaved anyone because I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. I couldn’t wear nice clothes because every day I would sweat through them. I found that black shirts hide the sweat stains, but if I wanted to wear anything other than black I had to pin maxi pads or sew scraps from an old sweatshirt into the armpits of my all shirts. After a while, I did this even with my black shirts because stress sweat smells way worse than normal sweat and it was ruining all my clothes.
What was all this panic and where was it coming from? It was fear of the unknown, fear of my own thoughts, fear of being yelled at, fear of disappointing the people around me and those whom I didn’t even know. I had fear of making poor choices, fear of not being good enough, fear of new places, fear of people, and fear of being alone—yet the only thing I really wanted was to be alone.
As I drove to work, I would go around the block several times to mentally prepare myself and find the courage just to show up. I would then sit in the parking lot giving myself a prep talk and listen to some pumped-up music just to find the courage to walk through the door. I had to take life moment to moment without knowing how my body and mind would react in any given situation.
After dealing with this for over two years, I finally went to the doctor. I told the doctor what I was experiencing and I asked for blood tests. I thought something must be wrong inside. I must have some disease or something physically wrong. All my tests came back as normal.
Maybe I needed to see a chiropractor? I thought perhaps my neck was out of alignment causing all this dizziness, these sharp shooting tingles throughout my body, somehow causing shallow breathing and the feeling of being disconnected from my body.
I made an appointment with my local chiropractor. By what I now consider to be divine guidance, I was taken in to see the ‘new girl’ in the office. She asked me a few questions about why I was there and then diagnosed me with something called “panic attacks.” She said I needed to go back to my medical doctor and ask for Celexa, which is a drug used for depression.
I was only nineteen years old and thought she knew best and that this was my only option for relief. I started taking the pills and began doing more research about panic, anxiety and depression. But, one thing I knew for sure, I didn’t want to be taking a drug daily for the rest of my life.
One day, a thought crossed my mind that maybe what I really needed in this moment was to treat myself to a relaxing massage. I just could not relax on my own. My body was so tense and locked into the” fight or flight” mode 24/7.
By a series of synchronistic events, I was about to meet one of the most influential people on my journey, an amazing massage therapist.
I arrived at her office and we began talking about what I was experiencing in my daily life. I shared what was happening and she began to teach me a bit about how panic attacks work and how I could begin controlling them by shifting to different states of mind—shifting what I put my focus on and what I gave my attention to.
This is where my real journey to freedom began. There was finally help outside of just taking a pill every day. The results may not have been as immediate as just swallowing a pill, but they were much longer-lasting.
As I was learning to manage my state of mind, I was still experiencing intense episodes. I decided to go back to the doctor and ask if there is something I can take just when I needed it, rather than every day—something I could take at that moment when I felt a strong attack coming on. She prescribed Xanax.
When I took my first Xanax, I finally felt what it was like to have a good day. I had a good day for no reason at all! It was not Christmas or my birthday. It was just a good day.
I then realized that I could not remember ever having had a good day just for no reason at all. I also realized that during my childhood I had been absorbing all the family’s problems, worry, stress and anxiety. I was a child who had very little happiness and very little laughter. I remembered hearing my friends laugh out loud at something and I thought, “How do they do that?”
I slept a lot during this time.
I later discovered I was also experiencing depression. But I didn't recognize myself as being depressed because it had always been my normal state of being. I couldn't recall a time before this that I was not showing signs of depression, even as a child.
Throughout the next several months I developed a good working relationship with Xanax. I used it sparingly because I had so much fear that I’d become addicted or dependent, even though I was only taking one half of a pill when absolutely needed.
One prescription of 25 pills lasted me five years. I continued to suffer with the daily doom-and-gloom feelings and always feeling that I was just on the edge of a full-on panic attack. But I knew that when it got really bad I had my emergency pills close by. I never went anywhere without those pills. They became my best friend.
Over the next several years I learned as much as I could about how the mind works and its influence over the functions of the body. I studied psychology, anatomy, meditation, energy healing, health, nutrition, the adrenal and nervous systems and how they are all affected by stress, panic and anxiety.
My journey inward continued to go deeper and deeper. I began to realize that the moments of terror were there to teach me something about myself. My internal world was saying, “Hey listen, if you don’t change something, this ‘hell’ is going to continue.” I was being shown the way to connect more deeply inside my body because the pain of remaining the same and being disconnected was becoming too much for me.
I knew that if I didn't force myself out the door each day it would be more and more difficult to do anything. Through pushing myself and allowing myself to have new experiences, I began to know myself a little better. I began to develop a closer relationship within myself. I built trust and confidence by allowing myself to experience life. Even though I was terrified, I did it anyway. The panic attacks became less-frequent and I was beginning to realize I was onto something.
And then I may have taken things to the extreme.
I looked for new experiences to force me to deal with fear and anxiety. I thought, “Why not deliberately give myself something to really stress over.” Confronting fear-inducing experiences, I thought, would train me to manage my fear.
I’ve always loved racing, the smell of race fuel, the sound and rumble of a big engine, so when I was presented with an opportunity to buy a sprint car, I took it. I was terrified by my choices but I knew it was something I had to do. Every time I was sitting in the car waiting to go out on the track I was so scared. The last thing one does before going out on the track is to have someone pull your belts tight one last time. Then it’s show time and you get pushed out onto the track. The angst of waiting for this moment offered me something real to stress over.
These moments brought my anxiety to an all-time high, making me confront it face to face and push through anyway. Racing taught me how to be in the moment. Things happen very quickly out on the track and there is no time to think of anything else but what is right in front of you. There is no time to manufacture imaginary fear.
What a rush! From extreme anxiety sitting in the line-up, to a full-on rush out on the track. I began to feel true personal empowerment.
This also taught me how to switch from one extreme state to the other. The reward of pushing through the fear barrier each time became so great, so powerful, that every time I felt myself up against the next barrier, or fighting anxiety, depression, and panic in my normal daily life, I remembered that there was something grand waiting for me on the other side if I could just allow myself to get there. It became almost addictive, this rush, this feeling.
I looked for more ways to practice pushing through the fear barrier. I started snowmobiling, off-roading with Jeep clubs, bought a Harley, then learned to ride it and received my motorcycle license, joined a beach volleyball league for a few years, went out on a few dates, white water kayaked, took a few group vacations, rode a motorcycle through the Amazon jungle with deep mud holes and mudslides, and hiked 16,000’ mountain peaks.
I did all these things scared out of my mind. Through these adventures, I found the willingness to be uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. And this gave me the courage to show up in life.
Every time I pushed myself over the threshold of anxiety and panic, I was able to experience a new version of myself through these things. In doing so I built great courage. All along the way, I felt something was guiding me, something was saying, "I've got you, and you’ve got this."
The methods described in this book will provide the same kind of breakthroughs without having to travel great distances, do anything dangerous or extreme.
In the end, I recognized panic and anxiety as having been two of my greatest life teachers. I can finally say that I am thankful for the extreme challenges, especially grateful for the people I met along the way, and for the person I am today.
Over the years, I immersed myself with many books on the subjects of panic, anxiety, depression, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and many other similar afflictions. Sometimes, just reading others’ stories actually set off a surge of fear penetrating through my body, resulting in full-blown panic attacks.
During this time of reading and studying, I also learned that nutrition is a key factor in how the body responds to stress and can assist or hinder the body’s managing system. As explained later in this book, foods to absolutely avoid are packaged or boxed food, caffeine, sugar, gluten and alcohol. I started changing my diet, and noticed immediate improvement in my mood and disposition and the frequency of panic.
Second-rate foods have a negative effect on our entire system because there has been so much processing done to them that they are no longer real food. Our bodies cannot recognize, utilize, or process these fake foods. There is much more about this later in this the book.
I was also a smoker and learned to recognize how that habit also made my panic and anxiety much worse even though the immediate effects of having a smoke seemed to stop or lessen the panic for that moment.
About 10 years of managing my own fear, anxiety and panic, I began working to become a holistic therapist to assist others through their journey. As a holistic therapist I aim to balance the Whole-- body, mind and spirit. When all three are in balance there is optimal health and panic and anxiety disappear.
Later, when I began working with shamans and medicine men and women of Peru, they emphasized just how important our emotional health is in the overall picture. I learned new ways to tune into my body and clear out the emotional clutter for better connections inside and out. These techniques completely banished panic and anxiety from my life.
There were times where my personal work went as deep as retrieving lost aspects of Self, through a process called "soul retrieval" or "shamanic journeying." These methods are used when there has been trauma or a strong emotional reaction to events in our past.
When someone has experienced an event that has created a strong emotional charge, pieces of themselves are fragmented and frozen in that moment of time. Shamanic journeying and soul retrieval are about going back to collect those lost pieces and reunite with them, becoming whole once again.
Sometimes we need to go back into past-lives as well to retrieve and heal aspects of ourselves there. This topic alone can be, and probably will be, a whole other book. In the meantime, the practices and techniques described in this book will also help to support your emotional well-being.
Can you answer YES to any of these questions?
If so, please continue reading and use the practices provided throughout this book. Dedicating just a few minutes of your time every day for at least one week will produce major shifts inside, and you will begin to reconnect to the innate wisdom of your body.
1. Have you ever freaked yourself out from imagining an unfavorable scenario, and then couldn't stop yourself from being afraid? For example, imagining failing a test, getting stuck in traffic, going to visit a friend or family member, or having to face authority, resulting in extreme fear and/or panic.
2. Do you have episodes where you are so afraid that you feel like you might have a complete mental breakdown? For example, you recognize your thoughts are completely irrational and do not make sense.
3. Do you experience uncontrollable trembling or shaking?
4. Do you have moments when you think you might pass out?
5. Do you have moments of being really afraid for no apparent reason?
6. Do you have episodes where your heart beats fast and hard, you sweat and feel weak in the knees for no apparent reason?
7. Do you have episodes of anxiety and fear that you can't seem to control? For example: racing thoughts, irrational thoughts, and thoughts of hurting yourself or even suicide?
In the days when I was having panic attacks, the first signs of an attack included my entire body becoming tense, my knees locking, extreme dizziness to the point of having blurred vision or seeing a white light, and my hands trembling out of control. The voice in my head said, “Oh no, oh no, oh no. How bad is this one going to be? How long will this last? Why is this happening? Am I going to pass out? How can I stop this?!”
Then I met a massage therapist in New York who introduced me to a method of interrupting the mental pattern and changing my state of mind. This changed everything.
She advised me to use an unusual word to interrupt the mind’s pattern. The word she suggested was “Hogwash.” The next morning at work I had five panic attacks before noon. It may have been one continuous panic attack with many peaks, who knows. But, I remembered to use this new word “Hogwash” to interrupt the usual, “oh no, oh no, oh no” pattern—and it worked!
In the afternoon when I felt the next one coming on, I found myself saying, “Hogwash, hogwash, hogwash!” But—oh no! It quit working!” I then realized I had worn out the word on the first day. The mind is tricky.
In mid-panic I glanced out the window and saw a Harley Davidson going by so I quickly repeated, “Harley Davidson, Harley Davidson, Harley Davidson!” Whew, it worked. And when that wore off, I created a new word, and then a new word after that to continue interrupting the minds pattern.
When we interrupt the mind’s pattern by changing our thoughts and perceptions, we have the opportunity to create a new operating program. My massage therapist explained to me about the conscious and subconscious mind, how they work together, and their relation to panic attacks.
She took out a piece of paper and drew a big circle with a horizontal line through the middle of it. She labeled the top the conscious mind and the bottom the unconscious or subconscious. She said that I can accept or reject anything that enters the conscious mind.
Whatever I accept into the conscious mind will get directly absorbed into the subconscious and stored there as truth. This then becomes part of my operating system.
For example, the word, “Hogwash” is being used here to interrupt the old pattern and to prevent the, “Oh no” from continuously pouring into the subconscious mind. “Hogwash” kicks the “Oh No!” pattern right out of the conscious mind and stops feeding that which is already in the subconscious so that I can get back to neutral and begin creating new associations.
Our operating system, or program, comes mostly from the subconscious so we must be very careful what we allow into our conscious mind. For example, falling asleep with the TV on, our subconscious mind is absorbing it all without the filter of the conscious mind.
Watching news that is full of war, sadness, and murder, we are absorbing all that violence into our subconscious mind. This then becomes part of the operating system in the subconscious mind that creates our reality, including fear and panic.
When we see through these filters of sadness or violence, for example, we also see or create our own suffering, discord and angst in our outer world. Our subconscious mind is literally forming how we see things in the world. If you want to shift your reality to one of health and abundance, change your outside environment by turning off your TV, violent video games, and horror movies. In doing so, panic attacks will decrease in intensity and frequency.
One day I was in the grocery line feeling panic building up inside. My whole body tensed, hands began to shake, my clothes became soaked with sweat and the tingles and dizziness took over.
I found myself getting so fucking mad within my own mind. I was furious that this had so much control over me. I was so sick of it!
I managed to stand there quietly in the check-out line and noticed my anger was actually taking control of the situation, sending the panic cowering into the back seat. I sat and observed this happening in my own mind and thought, “holy shit, how about that!” Anger had stopped the panic attack!
By acknowledging my suppressed anger, I was actually changing my state from extreme fear to a more powerful state, anger. I didn’t need to express this anger outwardly; I just had to allow myself to feel and acknowledge it.
This anger was from all the “unfair” things that had happened in my life, from all the times I never gave myself a voice, all the times I was forced to move from my home as a child, all the times I didn’t know how to process the things that had happened to me. I had never given myself permission to express my anger. I actually couldn’t access anger if I tried. I didn’t know how.
I am not saying that anger is the answer to all panic and anxiety. I am simply stating that in this moment, it was what I needed to experience a break through. It changed my state of mind. It changed my focus. Suppressed anger is very likely one of the reasons why I was experiencing so much panic and anxiety in the first place. I had always suppressed my emotions and buried them so deeply inside that I had no idea how to access them. But they were now ready to come out one way or another.
Here are a few things to practice and place inside your emergency tool box for when panic or anxiety strikes:
· Remember your word - Shift the mind by using a word like “Hogwash” (as previously explained).
· Use your physical body - Stand up straight and tall, shoulders back, head is up, eyes straight ahead. You are changing your physiology. When you change your body position, you change how you feel inside. Feel the energy rising inside yourself. Take several deep and confident belly breaths.
· Become aware of your breathing - Breathe into your belly and slowly exhale. Repeat. Focus on your breathing and if your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
· Don’t keep the panic and anxiety a secret - Release the secret by telling someone what you are experiencing. Even express your anger or frustration over it. Do not expect others to do anything, or say anything to help but just by telling someone what you are experiencing can release you from its tight grip and reduce the intensity by at least 50%.
· Clear your mind - Become aware of your thoughts and emotions in this very moment. Get to a place where you are the conscious observer of your thoughts and not the one being consumed by them. Step back mentally as if you are the observer of your own thoughts and emotions. Remain detached and watch as everything unfolds from moment to moment.
· Refocus your mind - Focus on something empowering. This can be something that you enjoy doing, a past success, the beach, an activity you love, or anything that will elevate you in this moment. Or you can find something in the room to focus on, admire, and shift your attention to.
· Reset your nervous system – After successfully changing your state, jump up and down, dance around, act silly, laugh, and move around in this peak state. You are reinforcing these new mental, emotional and physical changes within your nervous system. You are telling your nervous system this is what you want, this is who you are, it can let go of the old unhealthy patterns. Give yourself permission to move around and get silly. Movement is the final step to getting into a peak state and being able to maintain it.
In addition to the previous techniques for immediate relief, here are important practices that can be incorporated into your daily routine that will have a lasting healing effect over time.
Become Aware - Practice mindfulness throughout the day. Be in conscious control of what goes on in the mind. Being aware of your thoughts and emotions allows you to direct your focus consciously. To practice this, hold still for a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and observe your stream of thoughts and all the mind chatter that is going on inside. When you become the observer, you make room for something new to enter. The mental talk—including fearful, "oh no” thoughts—begins shifting with your intention to come from a place of positivity, love and support for yourself. When this becomes a daily practice, your mind will automatically know how to shift from one state to the next.
Use Your Physical Body to influence your state of mind. Consider how a depressed person holds their body: head hanging low, shoulders forward with shallow breathing. Try it right now. Move your body into the depressed body postures to experience how your body physiology actually does influence your state.
And then do the opposite: stand up straight, head up, shoulders back, eyes looking forward, put a big smile on your face and take some long deep belly breaths. Do you feel more empowered and more in control? This also changes your state of mind and how you feel inside. Practice this throughout the day making it your “new normal.”
Practice Breaking Your Current State - The key to shifting into a higher state of consciousness is to interrupt your current state. Referring back to the chapter on “Interrupting the Pattern,” remember we used a word like, “Hogwash” to interrupt the normal, “Oh no, oh no, oh no” pattern in your mind. To interrupt your current emotional state, you need to pull yourself out of the stream of low vibrational, fearful thoughts and emotions.
To practice shifting from one emotional state to another, think back to something that made you feel really sad or fearful. Shift your attention to those emotional memories and pause there for a moment. Feel into that memory, allowing yourself to feel what that was like. Now shift to an occasion when you felt happy and joyful. Bring those memories to your conscious mind and hold that state for a few moments.
When you get efficient at changing states, you will be in control of how you want to feel. Energy flows where attention goes. If you put your attention on the higher vibrational emotions such as joy, gratitude and happiness, you are reinforcing that into your subconscious and saying this is what you want to experience. This can be practiced anytime you have a few spare moments.
Doing this practice regularly teaches you how to effectively shift from one emotional state to another. You can use this anytime you are feeling out of control or overwhelmed, or even when you’re feeling wonderful and would just like to practice. By analogy, if you work out at the gym, practice martial arts, or you are an athlete, you know all about creating muscle memory. In the same way, you can think of this exercise as making muscle memory but you are using your emotional muscles to get strong. Use these practices whenever you want to change your current emotional state.
Being gentle with yourself - Give your inner critic a break and love the parts of yourself that may not be that loveable. Release your self-judgement.
This is a good time to introduce a Tao practice. Tao (pronounced "dao") means literally "the path" or "the way." It is a universal principle that underlies everything from the creation of galaxies to the interaction of human beings. The workings of Tao are vast and often beyond human logic.
The Taoists practice something called, “Inner Smile.” This practice is where you simply smile inwardly to each of the major organs of your body. With your smile you are activating within you the energy of loving-kindness. This practice allows you to direct healing energy from your smile to any part of your body that may need your loving attention. You can also direct this energy to your emotions, panic, and anxiety.
Sit comfortably, either on a straight-backed chair or on the floor. The important thing is for your spine to be in an upright position, and your head straight to allow your neck muscles and throat to feel relaxed.
Take a couple of deep breaths, noticing how your abdomen rises with each inhale, and then relaxes back toward your spine with each exhale.
Rest the tip of your tongue gently on the roof of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth. You'll find the spot that feels perfect.
Gently form a smile, nothing too extreme, just the kind of thing that relaxes our entire face, and makes you feel good inside.
Now bring your attention to the space between your eyebrows (the "Third Eye" center). As you rest your attention there, energy will begin to gather. Imagine that place to be like a pool of warm water, and as energy pools there, let your attention drift deeper into the pool.
Let your attention rest now right in the center of your brain. This is a place referred to in Taoism as the Crystal Palace—home to the pineal, pituitary, thalamus and hypothalamus glands. Feel the energy gathering in this powerful place.
Allow this energy to flow forward into your eyes. Feel your eyes becoming "smiling eyes."
Now, direct the energy of your smiling eyes back and down into a place in your body that would like some of this healing energy. It might be a place where you've recently had an injury or illness. It might be a place that just feels a little numb or "sleepy," or simply some place you've not recently explored. In any case, smile down into that place within your body, and feel that place opening to receive this new energy.
Continue to smile into that place within your body for as long as you'd like, letting these places soak up the energy like a sponge.
When this feels complete, direct your attention and energy into your navel center. Feel the warmth and brightness gathering now into your lower belly.
To finish, release the tip of your tongue from the roof of your mouth, and return to whatever feels natural.
The pain of staying the same for me was just too great. I had to change something. I wasn’t going to allow fear to take over my life any more than it already had. I made the choice to keep breaking through those barriers of fear, over and over again. Overtime, I built up tremendous courage from being so weak and full of fear but moving forward anyway despite the fear.
I found courage by showing up to work every day, going out with friends, and even on a few dates. I forced myself to go out because something inside me wanted it. I knew I could easily stay home, do nothing, and give into the panic and anxiety. Every time I found myself up against the wall of panic, I had to force myself to step through it.
I suppose that’s why I was eventually attracted to Firewalking. It’s very much the same feeling and has the same effect.
Firewalking is the art of walking barefoot over a bed of hot coals without getting burned. The fire is a metaphor for every fear in your life. And if you are able to step through fear and walk into the fire, you will be able to reference that experience every time you find yourself up against fear. You may begin to realize that who you thought you were was way too small and that you are capable of doing far more magnificent things than you've ever dreamed possible.
Most people feel a tremendous amount of fear as they are about to take their first steps out onto the bed of red hot coals. As you stand there facing the fire, the voice in your mind is telling you this is crazy, but you take that first step anyway because you are learning to trust something that is greater than thought.
Each and every time I decided to push through those barriers, I was saying to Fear, “Thank you for your concern but I am in charge. Please take a back seat.” And I allowed myself to receive a large dose of personal empowerment.
Once I learned to have better control over my thoughts, fear was no longer running the show. I learned how to use specific meditations, breathe properly, and create a mind/body connection. I was beginning to use my imagination in constructive ways by creating positive images in my mind versus imagining worst case scenarios.
In this chapter I will share with you a few practices to assist with healing the mind/body connection.
The body doesn’t know the difference between what is actually happening versus what the mind is creating. The body responds the same way whether it is a fantasy or whether there is something actually happening right in front of you. The body responds with panic or fight/flight because the mind is saying there is a threat, even if it is an imaginary threat. The body doesn’t know the difference, it just responds to the signals, the feelings, and the thoughts.
For example, when I was 19 and living in my own apartment, I was sitting on my couch and thinking about going to the mall which was about 30-40 minutes away. My mind began to visualize all of the things that could go wrong on my short drive. I envisioned getting a flat tire, the truck breaking down on the side of the road, or even worse, in the middle of the six-way busy intersection! Then I pictured finally getting to the mall and shopping—but when I was ready to leave, I imagined my battery was dead. My mind was creating all these different scenarios which transformed my body into a panicked mess. As I sat there on the couch, sweat had been literally dripping from my armpits and down the side of my body. My heart was racing because my mind had already placed me in those fictitious situations. My body was responding as if those things were real.
In the same way, positive visualization can produce positive effects in your mind and body. Start visualizing the life and the events that you want in your life. This is putting you in alignment with all the beautiful things that are meant for you.
I prefer to do this visualization first thing in the morning as I am waking up. I begin each day with my first thoughts on creating the morning and the day I want to have. This is very important to remember: we create our own reality. If you begin your day with thoughts of dread, fear, worry or stress as soon as you wake up, you are putting those things into motion for the day and actually creating that reality.
The Universe is always responding to our thoughts, whether they are helpful or destructive. However, it can be more difficult to manifest the good things that we really want for ourselves because many times we cannot find the emotion, vibration and the frequency inside ourselves to make it manifest into our lives. Most of us are comfortable with what we already know, therefore, it is easier to find and access the lower, denser frequencies such as fear, stress and worry—so that’s the message we communicate out to the Universe and that’s what we continue to get back. Remember, you are the Creator of your life. You are the writer of your own story. Your thoughts create your experiences, whether experiences of panic and distress or experiences of gratitude and joy.
The Universe responds to what we put out through thought, intention, and most of all, feelings. It is important to always be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and what your intentions truly are. Pause occasionally and ask yourself, “What am I thinking about? How am I feeling in this moment?” More often than not, we are completely oblivious to what’s going on inside us from moment to moment.
Many people wonder what is meant by the term “visualize.” Some worry because they don’t actually see a mental picture when they close their eyes and try to visualize. When some people try to visualize for the first few times, they see nothing.
Usually they are just trying too hard and thereby blocking themselves. They may be feeling there is a right way to do it and that their experience is inadequate. If that is happening, this is a great lesson to let go and just be. That is where the magic always happens.
You already know how to visualize; you do it all the time through daydreams and fantasies—anytime you use your imagination. This is all visualization. But sometimes when we call on it, we have expectations and these expectations can prevent us from actually having the experience.
So how do we visualize? First thing in the morning direct your thoughts to exactly how you want your morning to go. It may look like smooth, easy, good traffic flow, close parking spot, warm greetings at work, etc. Then, to set it into motion, you have to feel it.
You are picturing how your day is going to go, but now you must feel the joy of a smooth morning, the ease of traffic, the excitement of finding a close parking spot, all the beautiful smiling faces and support of your co-workers. Give yourself a few minutes and feel into that experience you just visualized. Really feel the good emotions and sensations associated with those circumstances you just created for yourself. Feeling it is what puts it into motion.
Next is gratitude. Gratitude is one of the highest vibrational emotions we can feel. Begin to picture all the things you are grateful for, try to name at least three. As you hold these three things in your mind, allow yourself to feel the emotion of deep gratitude. Expand this energy of gratitude throughout your entire body. Be sure to keep your mind on track; if it begins to wander, gently bring it back and continue to soak in gratitude.
Then begin your day. Try this every day for at least one week and notice the difference it makes in your day’s path.
To Illustrate: Each morning I take my dog for a walk. Walking a dog on the streets of Peru is quite a challenge. Nobody uses a dog leash, females are in heat, and many street dogs are just out there looking for a fight. For a few weeks, I had been processing a lot of old emotion and it brought me into a bit of a low state of mind. I was aware of this and allowed it because I needed to recognize it and feel it so I can let I go. But in the meantime, my thoughts matched my low mental and emotional state.
I found myself waking up in the morning full of dread over having to walk my dog and come face to face with all the other dogs on the street. What I was actually doing was creating how my morning would go. Each morning when my dog and I went out, we encountered the meanest dog on the block. He would try to intimidate us and a few times he even attacked my dog. I knew I was creating these situations and that I needed to find the energy to create a new story.
I had to shift my thoughts first thing in the morning from dread (feeling) and getting attacked (visual), to happy (feeling) and trouble-free streets (visual). So each morning I began to picture and feel what it would be like to walk happily down the streets without any trouble. And the very same morning I shifted to these higher-vibrational images and feelings, the streets were happy and clear, and continue to be.
When you consciously shift your vision of reality to that of living a happier and more joy-filled life, you get it. You just have to believe it and be an active participant in creating your life. You have to know that you deserve it. Because you do!
As briefly described in the chapter, “Rescue Remedies for Immediate Relief,” focusing on your breathing can significantly lessen the severity of anxiety and panic attacks. Forming a habit of proper breathing as a daily practice will connect you deeper within your body and lessen the frequency of such attacks.
Our breath is one means through which we can access higher awareness and better connection to our body. The deeper and slower our breathing, the better we can connect and relax. Most of us never make full use of our breath. Breathing properly into your belly and allowing your belly to expand with each in-breath and fall with each out-breath is the proper way to breathe. If you are not yet breathing this way, it is strongly advised that you start now. Those who breathe only onto their chest are receiving very little of the breath they are taking in.
Most of us breathe into the upper part of our chest, rather than letting the diaphragm do its work properly. Below is an exercise for you to check whether you’re effectively using your diaphragm in breathing. Please note that all these exercises need to be done gently when you first start. If you are not used to breathing deeply, you may quickly become dizzy. This means you have built up carbon dioxide in your body too quickly and your body is asking you to breathe faster to get rid of it. Work up to all breathing exercises with care. If at any time during them you start to feel slightly light-headed or dizzy, return to your normal breathing pattern until you feel grounded again.
The Diaphragm Exercise
Position yourself in front of a mirror that shows you the top half of your body, down to your waist. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and fix your eyes on your rib cage. Now place your hands gently over the base of your ribs with your middle fingers barely touching each other. Try taking a comfortable breath in, but don’t force it. Watch your rib cage as you do so. Is it expanding outward so that your fingertips are no longer touching each other? Exhale slowly.
Do your fingertips meet again as you exhale? Try again to see if you can move your fingertips apart. Then exhale. Are your fingers moving at all? Now breathe in again but this time watch your shoulders. Are they lifting upwards as you take in your deep breath? For most people their shoulders lift but their fingertips barely move apart. This means that you are shallow-breathing and using your upper chest and not your full lung capacity. Keep practicing breathing into your belly and it will feel natural to use your diaphragm properly.
You may find it helpful to lie down sometimes and practice your diaphragm work. Lie flat on your back, rest your hands over your stomach, and practice your deep breathing. This position may help you relax and expand your diaphragm more easily. Practicing this kind of breathing can be part of your everyday routine, even if it’s only a couple of minutes each time. I prefer to do it before I get up in the morning and as I lay down at night.
BODY AND BREATH
For this exercise, you can stand up straight, sit on a chair, or lie down. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Start off with gentle, comfortable breaths and gradually increase the depth and length of time between each breath. As you breathe deeper, imagine the breath going deeper and deeper into your body. Start by imagining your lungs filling with warm, life-enriching air.
Now imagine your breath is flowing to your shoulders, down both arms and into each hand, reaching each fingertip. As you breathe out, imagine the air filtering through your fingers. Send your breath further into your body, allowing your stomach to fill with a warm sensation. Picture the air going down into each leg, through each thigh and knee, down to each shin and into each foot and allow the breath to filter out through the toes. Imagine each inhale is filling every tiny part of you. Let each exhale push out through your entire body, fingertips and toes.
Feel the energy increasing inside your body with every in-breath. This recharges and revitalizes you. If you have a pain in any area of your body, you can transfer the energy to that place by visualizing it there and focus on that place for several minutes until it feels complete. Picture the pain releasing with each exhale. You are charging with energy/breath on the in-breath, and releasing with the out-breath.
The meditations in this chapter will help you feel grounded and connected within your body, and will allow you to be in control of your body as it responds to panic and anxiety. For these guided meditations you can read through them first and then recall them from memory or use the voice recorder on your cellphone to record them and play it back. The second option allows you to relax and focus on your meditation more effectively.
I have been doing these meditations for many years and now stay in continuous connection with these two energies. Regularly doing these meditations will help you to receive life-force energy, and even download information our normal brain cannot collect. Tapping into these energies and allowing them to run through you, with the body acting as a conduit or a channel, is extraordinarily empowering and enriching.
Under normal circumstances, when we connect with a love partner, friends or family, we create energetic connections from us to them or vice versa. This can be an unhealthy way to send and receive energy. For our highest good, we need to connect directly to Source energy and allow that abundant energy to flow in and out of us. You can always recognize when people engage in this type of energy practice because they are content inside their own mind and body, you don’t feel drained after talking with them, they are not feeding off your energy, and you feel more uplifted around them because they have an abundance of energy to share with you.
Grounding Meditation (indoors) - Sit on a comfortable chair, relax and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, remembering to fill your belly first. With a loud sigh, use your voice as you exhale, ahhhhh. Repeat this at least three times. Be sure that your feet are flat on the floor. Now think about your legs and butt resting on the seat of the chair. Really concentrate on them. Is the weight distributed evenly between both buttocks? (It almost never is in anyone). Decide which buttock feels heavier or lighter than the other.
You now need to balance them both. Use your breath to do this. Visualize breathing air into the lighter one. Take a comfortable breath in and then, as you breathe out, feel your breath moving down into the lighter buttock and filling it with air. Fill it with as much air as you think necessary. Repeat this process several times until you feel perfectly balanced. It may be helpful to think of your two buttocks as two balloons that you are blowing up. It’s not uncommon to find that it takes a while to balance both halves. You don’t realize how unbalanced you are until you really focus on yourself.
Our next practice comes from the last descendants of the Inca here in Peru. They are high mountain people called Q’ero. They live at an altitude of 15,000’ or higher. The Q’ero have a word in their language—Ayni—that means Sacred Exchange: When you give, you must receive. When you receive, you must give. These next two meditations come directly from them.
Mother Earth is positive/female/yin energy. The Universal Energy is negative/male/yang. Bringing them into balance within yourself will create harmony throughout your life. Source Energy/God are both these energies combined. The positive/negative is not referring to good/bad. It is simply the positive/negative charge like you’d see on a battery. They are both needed for the battery to perform its function.
In our next practice we will be exchanging energies with Mother Earth (Pachamama). This is the perfect time to release any worries, stress or tension into Mother Earth. She feeds off all this heavy energy, called hoocha by the Q’ero, and turns it into fertilizer. Which in turn, Mother Earth provides us with trees, plants, food, water, and air.
Earth Grounding (Part 1) - We begin by sitting or standing outside on the Earth. It is best to be barefoot for this practice and make sure your feet can be placed flat on the Earth. This will allow for the full experience of connecting with Earth for our Ayni, energy exchange. This can also be done indoors with a little imagination.
With your feet resting flat on the ground, place your attention on the soles of your feet. Rest your arms gently by your side and scan your body slowly for areas of tension—areas of unrest or stress. Maybe your head, neck or shoulders are tight. Notice any knots in your stomach or pain in your heart. Relax your arms, your hands. Relax your legs. Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes, shaking off any tension there.
Put your attention to your breathing. Take a moment to tune into your body. With your attention on your breathing, breathe in with awareness and breathe out with strength and purpose. Repeat 3 times. Remember to fill your belly with each in-breath.
Now imagine roots extending out of your feet into the Earth. These roots extend deep into the ground, deep into the core of the Earth, connecting you to all her energy and strength. Now breathe up the Earth’s energy through your roots, bring it through the soles of your feet, up your calves to your thighs, bringing the energy up to the core of your body resting at your heart.
With your out-breath, gently release all your heavy energies into Mother Earth. Release the tension in your neck, shoulders and back. Release the knots in your stomach, or any worries or fear you may be carrying. Feel all your hoocha (heavy energy) going out of your body and entering Mother Earth from your roots that have been deeply connected to her center.
With your next in-breath, bring the Earth’s energy up to your heart in one full sweep. Allow the energy to move through your whole body, expanding in your heart, moving up through your neck, clearing the throat, expand this energy into your head clearing your thoughts. Then bring the energy all the way up to the crown (top center) of your head. Hold the energy there while you exhale.
Repeat with each in-breath, drawing the Earth’s energy up to the crown (top/center) of your head in one big sweep. Feel the Earth energy move from the center of the Earth, up through the soles of your feet, up to your head and into the sky. Visualize you are the conduit, or channel. Notice all this cleansing energy coming into your body.
With each out-breath you are releasing into the Earth all tension, pain, stress, worry, panic, doubt and fear. You are releasing all your heavy hoocha energy down into the Earth.
Repeat several times until you are feeling refreshed and charged
If you get distracted just give awareness to your thoughts then let them go. Draw your attention back to the soles of your feet, your roots, feel how strong and powerful they are. Notice your breath along with all the abundant energy you are drawing in from the core of the Earth. As you breathe out, let your stress and emotions release into the Earth.
Shift your awareness back to the soles of your feet. Notice how the ground feels below your body. Notice the connection your feet have made with the Earth. Be aware of the energy the Earth has given to you. Focus on the strength and relaxation that you now embody. Bring your awareness to your roots and to the connection you have made. You are encouraged to bring this energy and peace with you throughout your day.
Once you have practiced part 1, it is equally important to practice part 2 and incorporate both into one practice.
Earth Grounding (Part 2) Begin with part 1 and then continue with part 2. When you get good at this, both parts can be completed in a matter of minutes.
Connect with Mother Earth (part 1 of this practice). Now bring her energy up through your roots and directly up to your heart center. Focus on your heart center, feeling your heartbeat, paying attention to your breathing and to the flow of life force energy moving through your body. Notice this living energy is you, filling your body and extending beyond your body and filling your energy field. Imagine feeling this if you have to. Energy flows where attention goes, so no worries if you are not feeling anything yet. What is important is that you just keep your attention focused on the practice.
Now imagine the living Universe, the Cosmos, the star-filled sky, and perceive it as living energy. Now bring your awareness to the top of your head. At this moment, imagine a stream of Cosmic energy beginning to flow down to the top of your head and pouring through your body, cleansing and invigorating every cell. Feel all this Cosmic energy refreshing and recharging you with new life force energy. Allow this energy to fill your entire body and expand outside your body into your energy field. Take a moment to enjoy this feeling.
Next, begin to offer up all your intentions, your prayers, your wishes and desires to the Cosmos, the Universe, Source, God, whichever feels right to you.
Now bring your attention back to your feet. With your intention and next in-breath, bring up the Earth’s energy one more time through your heart center, out the top of your head. With your next out-breath, continue pushing the Earth energy into the Cosmos. There’s a bit of a shift that happens when you switch your breathing from up to out. You are bringing the Earth’s energy up to the top of your head and then pushing it out into the cosmos with your out-breath. With your next in-breath, pull down the Cosmic energy into the top of your head, down to your heart where the two energies will meet.
Now you are a fully connected Heaven/Earth conduit for these energies to charge, feed, cleanse and support your wishes and desires. With your next in-breath, inhale both Earth and Cosmic energies at one time to unite in your heart center, blending them into one breath. Breathe in both the Earth and Cosmic energies at the same time to allow them to meet at your heart center. With your next exhale, breathe out and expand both energies into your energy field. Continue several times until you feel this is complete.
When you make this full connection and achieve this expanded state, you are capable of enjoying all beauty, seen and unseen, that life has to offer you. Pain, anxiety, and panic are all created when you are separate from Source, separate from Self. As you let go of that separation and allow yourself to open up to divine energy, you are able to relax, to allow the nervous system to calm down, and to experience the flow of creative energy and inspired thought. This practice also allows you to run more Source energy through your body creating more health and vitality.
It is important to practice these meditations every day. This practice allows energy to flow throughout your body clearing away tension, undesired emotions, and worry. These practices also increase your intuition and assist with connection to Self/God and All That Is. When creative energy flows through you, you are able to balance the yin/yang, male/female, positive/negative energies inside yourself that exist throughout the Universe. You are one with the Universe.
Note: For additional meditations, I recommend finding Kelly Howell on YouTube or purchasing her incredible Brain Sync downloads from her website. http://www.brainsync.com
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks is to let go of toxic people—people who suck your energy dry, people who do not respect you or your boundaries, people who thrive on drama, or manipulate. When you create enough distance from these people, you begin to see just how toxic some of these people really are.
Allowing a toxic person to stay in your life is a way of disrespecting yourself. Pay attention to how you feel around people. Do they make you feel happy, secure, and excited to see them? If not, why do you allow them to enter your personal space?
Once you identify who these people are, let them know you need personal space and ask them to respect that. You don’t have to explain yourself and your reasons to anybody. If they do not respect or understand this, you may need to break all communication with them by not answering any of their messages or calls. People who say they do not understand or respect your choices will usually use your reasons against you or try to manipulate you. Let them go. Stand in your truth.
For much of my life, I was a magnet for allowing toxic people into my life and into my personal space. I always saw people for the good and trusted that they would treat me with respect. I was wrong quite a few times although, these people taught me some of my greatest lessons.
With some, I noticed that if I gave them an inch, they’d take a mile. If I allowed them into my life through a simple, “How are you doing” text, they were full on, attempting to get their needs met in a forceful and unhealthy way.
Others were close family who stole from me and declared, “You’re dead to me!” along with criticizing every choice I made and wondering why I abandoned them (manipulation). They provided me with so much practice on letting go that I finally jumped off their roller coaster one last time and letting go became quite easy.
What I had experienced as my 'normal' was in fact, not normal. I now continue to distance myself from people who show any sign of manipulation or narcissistic behavior. Learning to trust your intuition can be your greatest gift. I know what “hell” feels like and I made the conscious choice not to live there anymore. I hope you choose to do the same.
I hope you decide that you will not accept certain behavior into your personal space or allow into your life people who disrespect your boundaries, or feed off your energy. You are in charge of who and what you allow into your space. Always remember that. Never let anyone else call the shots or tell you what is best for you.
It is important to understand that people do what they do based on how they learned how to do it. What happens when people don’t know how to love? What happens when people don’t love you back or don’t love you back in the ways you need?
One thing I learned through much trial and error is that you don’t get to tell people how to love you. You do get to choose whether or not to participate in the way they love.
If the way they love doesn’t make you want to be a better person, if the way they love doesn’t nurture you, nourish you or fulfill you… you get to choose if they stay in your life. Removing toxic people from your life will dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of anxiety and panic. There are many positive effects of “weeding your friends’ and family list.”
Healthy boundaries are essential for your mental and emotional well-being. Setting clear personal boundaries is the key to ensuring that relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem. Boundaries set the limit for acceptable behavior from those around you. Failure to set clear boundaries is a major cause of anxiety and panic.
If you are often made uncomfortable by others treat you, it may be time to readjust your boundaries. Weak boundaries leave you vulnerable and likely to be taken for granted or emotionally triggered by others. On the other hand, having healthy boundaries will tell others you deserve to be treated well. They also will protect you from getting too close to people who don’t have your best interests at heart.
Why We Fail to Set Healthy Boundaries
Fear of loss of love or abandonment – When you say “yes” when you really want to say “no” usually means that you are afraid of losing someone’s love or attention. People will do crazy things to feel loved and when they don’t get it in the way they want, they feel abandoned.
Fear of another’s anger—Some people can’t handle anyone being mad at them. Realize that if someone is mad at you for setting boundaries, they’re not respecting you. Move on.
Fear of loneliness – Nothing outside of you will end loneliness. Healing loneliness is an inside job. Look within yourself to find the reasons why you do not feel content within your own body.
Guilt – Many people feel guilty for saying “no.” They are usually triggering their own feelings of guilt which makes it more difficult for them to say no. Never feel guilty for doing what is best for you.
Paying back – In terms of generosity, favors, and kind gestures, do you feel a need to pay back all that has been given? Do you fear that you are keeping score? I still struggle with this one in my own life.
Approval – Are you still seeking approval from an outside source? Are you a people pleaser? This stems from unhealed or unrecognized emotional wounds. When you notice you are doing this, it’s a great time to check in with yourself and uncover just what emotional wound this people-pleasing is feeding inside yourself.
I continue finding fragments of myself in many of these categories. It takes constant awareness to check in with myself to know if I am making choices through any of the emotional wounds listed above. And many times I fail. But the important thing is to be aware of when you are wound-feeding. Each time we become aware and move on we are making it easier to recognize our own unhealthy patterns in the future allowing us to make a better choice the next time.
Self-worth is not tied up in anyone else. It’s not found in anyone or anything outside yourself, especially not found through your house, car, career, partners, or your children. If this is the case, you are forming unhealthy attachments and likely stressing yourself out by trying to control these things that are outside of yourself and not in your control.
Boundaries are part of self-care. When people disregard your boundaries, they’re telling you that what you want doesn’t matter. Imagine the kind of anxiety and stress that can cause in your life!
“People called me stupid, dumb, a moron, an idiot because I didn’t speak for six years. I was a mute. And momma used to tell me when she’d braid my hair, ‘sister, momma don’t care what these people say – ‘you must be an idiot, you must be a moron,’ because you can’t talk. Sister, momma don’t care. Momma knows when you and the good Lord get ready, you’re going to be a teacher. Sister, you’re going to teach all over this world.’ I used to sit there and think, this poor ignorant woman, doesn’t she know I will never speak?
“I’ve taught at the Behemoth Theater in Israel, I’ve taught in Egypt, I’ve been distinguished visiting professor at the University of Exeter in England, I’ve taught in Rome and all over the United States. And each time I have another honor, I think of my grandma.”
~ Dr. Maya Angelou
What does your self-talk sound like? Are you calling yourself stupid, a fucking idiot or something else when life doesn’t go right or you experience a setback or failure? Our self-talk usually stems from what we heard from our parents or from those around us when we were growing up.
Our brains were like little sponges and our egos were so fragile. It is important to recognize the areas where you are beating yourself up and learn to consciously shift this to something positive or even funny. We can neutralize the negative self-talk by saying, “hey whatever,” or replace ‘stupid idiot’ with a funny name. Make it funny and you will take away the power that these disempowering words have in your subconscious programming.
Many years ago, I was at a large seminar with thousands of people. One of the things we were asked to do was find a limiting belief, something disempowering that we tell ourselves, or have been told in the past that we believed. Choose something that repeats through your thoughts or has become part of your mind chatter.
One of my limiting beliefs was that I’m not worthy.
What we were told to do is, hold up our index finger high in the air so everyone can see it.
Now, take that finger, wave it around in the air so everyone can see it. Now, stick it in your nose. That’s right, up your nose!
Turn to your neighbor with your finger still up your nose, and repeat your limiting belief.
With my finger up my nose, I turned to my neighbor, a person I didn’t even know, and I said, “I am not worthy.”
We busted out laughing! Doing this took all the power away from that limiting belief. It was so damn funny!
You might want to try this in your mirror or with a trusted friend who will laugh along with you. It will take away the power of your limiting belief, see for yourself.
Do you use the words, I’ll try, I should, he/she should, what if, if only, I can’t, it’s too late, I’m not good enough, I’m not enough? These words also keep you from moving forward.
It is crucial to recognize each time these limiting words come up in your mind or are spoken aloud and then immediately override them with a positive word or phrase like: I will or I will not, I am capable of doing anything I want to, I am good enough, I am enough, I’ve always been enough.
Another very important thing to remember is to say YES when you mean yes, and say NO when you mean no. There are no maybes in life. If you don’t know your answer yet, you always have the choice to say, “Let me think about it,” or just pause for a moment. Learn to say no without explaining yourself. When you say “yes” to others, be sure that you are not saying “no” to yourself and your goals.
Where are your thoughts? Always be aware of your thoughts. Are you trapped in fantasy all the time? Do you fantasize about situations, people, the past or the future?
When we fantasize, we are actually putting out to the Universe a specific thought, energy or vibration. That thought will eventually manifest into your reality. When I was creating images of passing out from a panic attacks, feeling the fear and terror of what that would be like, I was actually reinforcing the panic into my subconscious telling it that’s what I want. And my mind kept recreating it into a habit and a pattern.
As mentioned earlier, our bodies do not know the difference between a fantasy with feeling and emotion versus something that is really happening. Our bodies will respond in the same way as if it were happening right in front of us. This is not a bad thing. This is actually very clever and can be used as a powerful tool to manifest miracles.
It is very important that we become aware of the messages and thoughts we are giving to our body. We need to be very aware of our thoughts and the pictures we hold in our mind, especially the disempowering ones. At any time we can turn these images and fantasies into something neutral or positive. It’s all just a shift in perception.
To shift these images, begin to visualize yourself feeling free of panic, anxiety, or whatever scenarios keep repeating or replaying themselves in your mind. Imagine yourself sitting in a river with the water flowing all around you and through you. The water is sweeping away any stress, unwanted images, and negativity. This practice helps to remove any heavy weight you are carrying and recharges your whole body.
Another thing to be aware of is the music you are listening to and the TV you have on for background noise or fall asleep to. We absorb it all into our subconscious and come into vibration with whatever is on at the time. It is important to be in control of your surroundings. Be sure to turn off the TV when you are ready to fall asleep because your subconscious is absorbing it all.
I don’t like to tell people what to do, but this one has made one of the biggest impacts on my mental health: stop watching the news! I haven’t seen the news in many years and I think I’m doing quite well without it—thriving actually!
If there is a lot of violence and undesirable things on your Facebook newsfeed, unfollow those people. You may still remain Facebook friends, you will just no longer see the things they are posting.
Change your music if it is feels depressing. Explore new genres on YouTube— it’s free! Music can heal and open the heart. Its therapeutic power may be underestimated. These suggestions may seem like little things of unimportance, but they all make a big difference in your day’s path.
Through my journey of seeking health and wellness, I was also able to find relief from anxiety and panic attacks through changing the food I was eating. I learned how I can heal my body, mind and emotions through nutrition, eating high-vibrational food, and detoxing all the crap food out of my body.
Food plays a very important role with anxiety, stress and panic – with all disease and disorder, actually. If you are eating primarily prepackaged or fast food to fuel your body, your body will not be operating efficiently. Think about the fuel you put into your car. You must put in the right fuel and the fuel must be clean for it to operate effectively. The same goes for the body.
Support your body, nourish your body, and offer it the right fuel. If you are feeling an adverse reaction inside your body as you read this, such as a threatening or defensive feeling, I encourage you to take a deeper look into that. Sit with that feeling for a while and ask yourself why you don’t want to listen to what your body is saying to you. The answers may surprise you.
Many of us use food as a distraction so we don’t have to feel our feelings. A more effective approach is to observe your feelings and communicate with them. Ask what they need from you. Give your body an opportunity to express itself by giving it a voice. Ask whichever emotion or feeling that comes up—anger, sadness, abandonment, frustration, anxiety—how it would like to express itself. Allow it all to have a voice. Listen. Give your heart a voice. Give your Spirit a voice. Quietly and respectfully listen.
How to begin changing your food
The first thing I did when I began to learn about nutrition was to throw out everything in my cupboards that contained high fructose corn syrup. It was pretty much everything in my cupboard. Then I rummaged through the fridge for anything that contained high fructose corn syrup and threw that in the trash.
The next day I spent a little more time in the grocery store reading food labels and buying only things that had five ingredients or less, containing no corn syrup or MSG (Monosodium glutamate). The United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has labeled MSG as ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS), although many people have reported numerous side effects after eating foods that contain MSG. Some of these reported side effects are headaches, flushing, sweating, facial pressure or tightness, numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas, rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations), chest pain, nausea, weakness throughout the body, and other feelings of discomfort, sometimes called the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” MSG can also be found in canned vegetables, soups, seasoning packets, frozen foods, condiments like ketchup, and processed meats.
Do not dismiss the harmful impact of MSG on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. It is also important to note that MSG is often disguised on our food labels. Here is a list of hidden names for MSG that should be avoided:
So what can we eat?
First, I recommend a diet of real food—which means nothing from a package. This may be something you would like to gradually work up to if it is drastically different from how you are eating now.
Or, you can jump right in and start now. I recommend eating 80/20 – 80% of your daily intake of food are raw vegetables and fruits, 20% of your daily intake consists of cooked food such as rice, beans, steamed veggies, oatmeal, and meat if you choose.
What does this look like in a day’s schedule?
Morning– Drink a full glass of water with fresh squeezed lime or lemon first thing in the morning. You can add REAL maple syrup or REAL honey, if desired. I’m not talking about the little lemon bottle you can buy at the store that is chock-full of preservatives. Real lemon or lime only. If you’ve bought maple syrup or honey from the supermarket, you are likely wasting your money, it’s not real and not to be used for this purpose.
Fresh fruit or veggie smoothie (sorry, the prepackaged ‘juice drinks’ do not count as fresh or raw.)
Snacks – Nuts, fruit, raisins, dried cranberries or other fruit
Lunch – Green smoothie or fruit smoothie (it is very easy to find excellent recipes online or on Pinterest if you search ‘Vegan Recipes’)
Large green salad with an egg, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, avocado, vinegar/oil or fresh squeezed lemon for the dressing. Skip any store bought salad-dressings; they contain soy, sugar, corn syrup, unhealthy oils, MSG, and GMOs.
Snacks – Fruit or veggie smoothie, fresh juice, chucks of fruit
Dinner – Cooked rice or quinoa, fried, steamed or fresh veggies with balsamic vinegar, eggs. If you eat meat, chicken, turkey and fish are the best choices.
Avoid all lunch meat, deli meat and packaged meat. It is best if you know a farmer who raises these animals without factory farming. If you want to eat red meat, it is best to buy your meat from a farmer who raises grass-fed beef and knows the slaughterhouse where it will be killed.
Pork is just incredibly hard on the digestive system and best to be avoided all together and is often loaded with parasites.
As your body switches from the usual SAD (Standard American Diet), you may experience strong food cravings, mood changes and feelings of hunger. This only lasts a few days. Your body is cleaning itself out, so it is important to be drinking a lot of water (see below). The recommended amount of water per day is half your body weight in ounces.
If you are looking for recipes to get you started, follow me on Pinterest;
Cooked recipes: https://www.pinterest.com/sdgriding/recipes/
Raw recipes: https://www.pinterest.com/sdgriding/raw-foods/
Informative movies and documentaries about food conditions in the USA include;
Forks over Knives.
Half of your body weight in ounces is the recommended daily intake of fresh water. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, divide that in half you get 75. It is recommended you drink 75 ounces of water daily or 9 cups of water if you weigh 150 pounds. Drinking enough water is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, nervous system, digestive system and muscles.
Signs of mild or moderate dehydration include:
Signs of severe dehydration include:
Symptoms for babies and young children can be different than for adults:
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.
Here is a list of minerals and supplements that will help support the function of your nervous system. The health of your nervous system plays a large role on your mood and your stress response. Read through the list and see which minerals resonate with you or find a natural health practitioner who can recommend which ones are specific to your needs. As always, if you are nursing or pregnant, check with your doctor before starting any of these supplements.
Magnesium is a superstar mineral. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. If you are deficient your heart rate and sympathetic nervous system will be sent into overdrive. Additionally, lack of magnesium has been shown to alter electrical activity in the brain, causing agitated sleep and frequent awakenings. Take 500 mg of magnesium malate formulation, only at night.
Potassium helps regulate the electrochemical impulses your nerve cells use to send signals throughout the cell. It is recommended that potassium be taken with magnesium or well after magnesium has been absorbed into your system. Magnesium is needed to absorb almost everything.
Calcium is present in every cell in your body, not just your bones and teeth. Its role is to help blood vessels expand and contract, to regulate nerve impulse transmission and hormone production. Without it, your muscles would not be able to contract and relax. Remember—your heart is a muscle. Keeping it beating is just one of calcium’s jobs. To control anxiety, take 500 mg with water daily. It is best to take with magnesium because magnesium is needed to absorb calcium.
The B-Vitamins are important for maintaining nervous system functions. Together, in a B-complex formula, they help turn food into energy, help create new red blood cells, and help build your brain’s chemical messengers. Individually, each B vitamin also serves its own purpose in the nervous system.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) increases the production of the chemical serotonin, which can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. It can be highly effective for conditions in which serotonin is believed to play an important role, including depression, anxiety/panic, insomnia, and obesity. To help you sleep, take 100-200 mg. For daytime anxiety, take one or two 50 mg doses.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) benefit every cell of the body, including, of course, nerve cells. They aid in the transmission of the nerve impulses that guide our daily actions. Omega-3 EFAs like DHA and EPA are especially important when taken in the proper formulation of 2.5 parts DHA to 1 part EPA. 2,000 mg recommended daily.
GABA is sometimes called “the natural Valium.” It works by blocking certain brain signals associated with anxiety, lowering anxiety and thereby improving mood. GABA is not found in fresh food, but occurs in some fermented foods, like Korea’s kim chi and Chinese Pu-Erh tea. These stimulate your body to produce more GABA. It is recommended to take 500–1,000 mg over the course of a day.
Lecithin is rich in choline, which is necessary for the proper transmission of nerve impulses from the brain through the central nervous system. Lecithin also protects and repairs nerves. EFAs like omega-3 fish oil are the “bricks” that make up a cell membrane. Phosphates like choline are the mortar that holds the bricks together. They rebuild every cell in the body.
Chamomile is known by tea lovers worldwide as an effective stress reliever and sleep aid. It’s been shown to change alpha-wave activity in the brain—the activity associated with deep relaxation. It’s widely used in Europe to soothe cranky babies, relieve menstrual cramps and stomach discomfort. You can drink as much tea as you want.
I cannot write a book about health and not mention how important it is to keep your intestines moving. Most people are constipated or irregular which means the body is not getting rid of all the waste material.
Serotonin plays a key role in our central nervous system. Over 95% of your body's serotonin is produced by the bacteria that reside in your gut! Studies have shown that those who are deficient in serotonin are more likely to be depressed and suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
Your gut is actually referred to as your second brain. A healthy gut environment is the basis of good mental health and is responsible for how well we’re able to calm down after stress has passed. Therefore, looking after your digestive system can improve your quality of life on many levels.
It has also been said that 60% of the immune system is in the gut. When you have a clean and well-functioning digestive system, cold, flu and other illness is easily dealt with by a high-functioning immune system. Constipation is found to be the precursor to all bowel diseases along with many intestinal symptoms that people experience. Sadly, the medical field largely disregards the importance of “being regular.”
Constipation needs to be taken
much more seriously than it currently is. Have you ever thought of constipation
as a serious illness? More than likely, no, yet it kills slowly and indirectly.
It doesn’t get very much attention, but the statistics are quite compelling. IBS
(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) affects one in every five people. Colon cancer is
the second leading cause of death in America and is the third most diagnosed
How do you know if you need help eliminating? By age 50, the average person eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) has 45 pounds of 'sludge' in the intestine! This is fecal material that has slowly accumulated and compacted in the colon for decades. To be eliminating properly, we should be having a bowel movement for every meal we eat. If you are not eliminating this often, you probably need to help your system.
Constipation is caused by lack of fiber in the diet, lack of exercise, or insufficient water intake. Additional causes of constipation are medications, pain pills, or genetic factors. With this new way of eating mentioned above, you will be getting what you need for the bowels to move efficiently, for your immune system to work properly, and all systems functioning well. If you need help moving the intestines, I highly suggest this product. It does not create an emergency bathroom situation; it simply cleans and gathers toxins as it moves through your system. Here is a helpful link for more information and to order online;
Fasting, as explained in this book, is an abstinence from all food for a specific period of time. If you choose to fast, it is advised that you have been following the diet described above for several weeks. Although fasting can be an indescribable blessing, it is not always easy.
Fasting is said to not only assist the body to heal itself, but to help with anxiety and panic.
In this time of discipline, self-sacrifice and self-reflection, do not be surprised if you experience mental and physical discomforts. In the beginning, you may experience inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating delicious food. And sometimes fasting may leave you feeling impatient and irritable.
During a 3-day water or juice fast, this struggle can intensify toward the end of the second day. That seems to be a favorite time for the "self" to rise up and say, "This is as far as I want to go. I have done enough."
I also found that day three is the hurdle if you are doing a ten-day fast or longer. Once you get through day three, fasting becomes much easier. My body seems to catch onto what I am asking of it and it begins to adjust beautifully.
Fasting allows for the digestive system to catch up. The enormous amount of energy that would normally be used for digesting is now directed toward healing other parts of the body.
In my first fasting experience, I went three days without eating using the Master Cleanse recipe below, and my energy was through the roof! On day three my energy was so high, I began an intense exercise program (P90x) while fasting. My mind said, “You haven’t eaten in three days, be careful.” But when I listened to my body it said, “Wow, so much freedom, so much energy, enjoy!!”
Is Fasting Safe?
As you begin your fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right, you should protect your health. But I assure you, if done properly, fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but a physical blessing, as well.
It would be wise to ask your doctor for a physical exam prior to fasting to make sure you are in good health. Also, if you are taking any type of medication, make sure you talk to your doctor before changing your regime.
What Type of Fasting Is Right for Me?
I would advise you to speak to your alternative health practitioner or email me to help you choose which method is best for you and your individual goals. There are many types of fasts to choose from.
My personal favorites are fresh juice fasts and the "Master Cleanse." The Master Cleanse is much less costly, much easier to prepare, involves less clean-up, and is easy to plan and to prepare ahead. It is a great one to begin your fasting experience with.
Master Cleanse Recipe:
10 oz. (distilled if from a
public water system) water
1/2 lemon, fresh-squeezed, organic
1 Tbsp. Grade B maple syrup (the dark, dark stuff)
A dash of cayenne pepper
If traveling and need to make ahead:
One gallon (distilled if
from a public water system) water
1-1/2 cup fresh squeezed organic lemon
3/4-cup pure grade B maple syrup
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
Lemon is alkalizing and contains antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. Maple syrup provides energy and nutrients, and cayenne pepper acts to open small blood vessels, which helps the body cleanse itself of stored toxins and helps to get the intestines moving to clear out the system.
Everything that happens to us is intended to teach us something about ourselves. These things that happen are not good or bad, we need to see them as are our teachers. It is important to note that we have attracted these things to us by some emotional wound we carry, by some energetic resonance we haven’t cleared, by our thoughts and our emotions.
We are energetic beings, and when it comes to energy, like attracts like. If you desire to change your life, you have to change the energy with which you resonate. In doing the practices described in this book, you are changing your energetic resonance to one of a higher frequency. When we vibrate at a higher frequency, we come into balance with life.
When we do not accept our experiences as lessons and opportunities for learning, the tough lessons continue to repeat throughout our life again and again until we finally get it.
Those who always play the victim role and never take responsibility for their part in a failed relationship, or why they lost their job, or why they cannot find what they’re looking for are usually holding onto guilt and/or shame. They never learn to forgive themselves or others, and miss out on such important lessons.
By contrast, when we choose to be an active participant in our life, we accelerate into a new version of ourselves, one with fewer struggles, less emotional pain, and less physical illness. When we accept our role as a student, we begin attracting new things into our lives.
If you are seeing chaos in your outer world, it is a direct reflection of what is happening in your inner world. Your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, judgements, and how you choose to see the world are replaying themselves in what you see in the world.
We are like magnets, we attract what we are. The Universe responds to our thoughts and emotions. This is why it is important to think good thoughts and release yourself from low-vibrational emotions like shame, guilt and worry. Of course we can’t be human if we are always perfect, but my point is to be aware of what you are thinking, feeling, what you fear, and what is taking your energy in the form of thoughts and emotions.
When you find you’ve been entertaining low-vibrational thoughts, you will then be in a position to neutralize or cancel them out. You do this by simply being aware of those passing thoughts or emotions and immediately imagining a new scenario.
These thoughts are nothing to feel guilty or shameful about. It is normal to feel this way due to the society we grew up in. But the time is now to become aware and begin shifting to a New Earth. The time is now to see how we have been keeping ourselves small, and through awareness, how we can change the quality of our life.
Like attracts like. If you don’t like what you are experiencing, change your experiences by changing your thoughts. It becomes a kind of art, or a dance with life.
Identity crisis is defined as; a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person's sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a life changing event.
Who am I without this anxiety and panic?
I found myself saying “I don’t know who I am without this,” each time I released an old pattern, let go of the old ‘poor me’ story, and neutralized the old emotional pain.
It sometimes seemed easier to stay the “old me” because I knew what that felt like; it was familiar and I didn’t know what was on the other side of all this pain. I didn’t have a reference to what freedom and liberation from pain felt like. The unknown was scary.
I knew what hell felt like and I somehow had gotten comfortable living there. I was overwhelmed with so much uncertainty each time I stepped into a new version of myself, one without all this baggage. I felt so vulnerable, like a baby learning to walk.
I kept falling back to the “old me” and the old way of thinking, until one day I had enough leverage to want to change, to want something better. All of a sudden it became so easy.
“Let go” is a common phrase—but how? How do we gain the strength, or allow ourselves to surrender, and let go of all that we are carrying?
How do we let go?
I always said, “I would, if I could.” I cried and cried, falling to my knees begging myself to let go of the things that are hurting me.
I learned that it’s so hard to let go because we have so much of our identity wrapped up in all this pain. There is something in this pain that is feeding us. That’s why we keep engaging with it.
We are getting some kind of satisfaction from holding onto the pain, the misery. These fragile parts of ourselves are usually hidden in our deepest layers. We use our emotions like frustration, anger, and rage to protect these deepest layers. We also create behaviors of gaslighting, narcissism, and manipulation to protect our deepest wounds.
When we can take a good honest look at our own behavior and get to the root of these emotions, we are free. We begin to innerstand why we have created these protective layers and how they became a part of us. This gives us the strength and desire to let go.
How many of us have ever been taught how to process emotional hurts from the terrible things that have happened to us?
Nobody ever taught us how to handle the difficult situations, so we bury them all somewhere inside. We keep building more and more protective layers around our wounds and our heart every time we get triggered.
We all have different ways in which these wounds express themselves. Some become people pleasers from their emotional wounds. Some choose anger as their emotional defense, while others cheat and steal.
There are unlimited ways that your wounds express themselves. The remedy is to become aware of your intentions, your actions, what people-pleasing is feeding inside you, and what your anger is really saying.
We must learn to let go of our previous identity. In doing so, we leave room to create a life that is much more fulfilling and nourishing. This can become very threatening to the ego, however.
The ego wants us to stay small, stick with what is familiar, and remain unhealthy.
Sometimes people identify themselves through their illness because it makes them feel significant in some way. Once something makes us feel significant, it becomes very difficult to change. We will need to be very aware of what makes us feel something and why. When we choose to form new associations and find significance in healthy ways, our life begins to change for the better and health is restored.
The more we connect to our inner world, the more we can manifest in our outer world. Creativity, personal power, and sexual energy begins to flow throughout our body, healing the organs and tissues, balancing emotion, providing mental clarity, and so much more.
When our inner world is in balance, we have created a strong unshakable foundation and the ability to confront anything in our outer world. Life becomes a playground and fear takes a back seat.
We become unfuckwithable because we know who we are. We have access to our inner truth and nobody can take this away from us.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my experiences with you.
With Much Love
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
All distant sessions and virtual workshops are now offered through Skype, Facebook call/video, or Zoom. Sessions include emotion and trauma release, nutrition testing with kinesiology, ancient shamanic practices, soul retrieval, and mediumship.
Sondra also introduces specific practices, exercises, meditations and tools to assist your personal journey through healing emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
For distant healing sessions, I begin by tuning into you and your energy (with your permission) and begin to identify emotional blockages, nutritional needs, energetic or physical imbalances and everything your subconscious is willing to let me see.
During our session, I tap into waves of energy, like tuning into a radio station. I tune into your frequency and can see, sense, feel, and/or hear what is happening. As a medical intuitive, I receive information on what your body needs to assist with its own healing process. I bridge the communication between you and your subconscious which holds all the answers.
All this is possible at a distance because energy knows no space or time.
I identify blockages in energy flow, pinpoint which systems are out of balance and why. I also assist to correct the flow of energy, reset the meridians (like acupuncture but at a distance and without needles), identify the cause of each imbalance and release it or recommend a product to assist the healing process.
I am not a medical doctor but I am a medical Intuitive, which means I tune into the physical and energetic bodies to see or feel all that is happening. I identify allergic reactions to food, places, ideas, people and things (yes, it gets that interesting!). I can see energetic cording, who is sucking off your energy, I find where your energy is leaking and why, identify and correct misalignments in the structural and energetic systems, and so much more.
All sessions are offered through a donation basis, you simply offer what you feel in your heart.
If you are interested in a distant healing session with me, I can be contacted by email, through skype realisfeltnotseen, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ascendterapiasholisticas/
Or you can visit my website at www.ajourneyhome.org and fill out the contact form.
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"I’m almost certain that our most valuable gift is connected to deeply rooted pain in our life. We all have the opportunity to take the terrible things that have happened to us and turn them into gifts for offering. With that said, I now share my gifts, my passion, and my mission.
Creative Visualization by: Shakti Gawain
Thought Vibration by: William Walker Atkinson
A New Earth by: Eckhart Tolle
Daring Greatly by: Brenè Brown
A Return to Love by: Marianne Williamson
A Course in Miracles (no author)
Sondra Denise was born in New York and holds certification in the many of the healing arts, such as Usui Reiki, Medical Qi Gong, Evidential Mediumship, Intuitive Healing, Emotion Code, Body Code and Spiritual Healing (NCAS). Sondra also offers quantum remedies, TBA (total body analysis), and kinesiology.
Sondra has trained with many great medicine men/women, shamans and energy workers from around the world, such as Qi Gong master Robert Peng, Psychic/Medium Michelle Whitedove, and Dr. Bradley Nelson.
Sondra now lives in the Sacred Valley of Peru, located in the Cusco region. She is working as a holistic therapist and energy worker, specializing in trauma and emotion release. Sondra is also a Firewalk instructor, offering the opportunity for people to come face-to-face with their fear, and take their steps across the fire into personal empowerment and liberation.
Follow me on YouTube: https://youtu.be/nwhQxoOvAW0