Living Outside the Box!

Are you happy with the way your life is playing out? Have you found your purpose in this life and are you engaging in working your purpose everyday? Are you questioning whether you have found yourself living a life which could be different and perhaps more rewarding? Are you in a box with your job, your finances, your relationships, and possibly with your life’s purpose?

To be honest, most of us would have to agree that life sometimes, or maybe more often than sometimes, feels like it is going sideways. Just to complicate this discussion, consider this statement, some people define “Crazy” as repeating the same thing (Behavior) over and over again and expecting different results. (Occasionally, you may use a repeated behavior and get a different response because the environment or people involved will allow for a slightly different reaction.) Remember, if you do not like the response you get to a certain behavior then you need to take responsibility and try something different to get a more satisfying response. YOU have a choice! And, it starts by knowing that YOU are responsible and then, to break patterns where you are blaming other people or institutions for the less than desirable reaction. Yes, try an entirely new approach.

Why are you resisting change and a new approach? We do not try new behaviors because we are AFRAID. Yes, we have FEAR of new approaches because we lack confidence and do not know how these will turn out. We prefer to have reliable failure, which is comfortable and which we are familiar with, rather than move toward a more positive, yet unknown, outcome. We even have surrounded ourselves with family and friends who like us the way we are and would have difficulty supporting us if we were more successful and confident. They like the “Old” and familiar person you have been trapped within. Maybe, it is time to find new friends who love and support you on your path to becoming ever more successful and joyful.

At the end of your life, are you going to feel good about what you have accomplished and the people you have assisted? Will you weigh your legacy by how much money or how many “toys,” you have? Can you ask yourself, and honestly answer, that you have lived a full life filled with the service which has helped move consciousness forward?

It is time to take the small steps to find a better more adventurous and rewarding life. It may even be time to take the big steps toward your new life of personal responsibility and positive change. Personally, I have learned more from my failed attempts at changing my life and from confronting the challenges of trying new behaviors that lead me down an unhappy path. Take a risk. Get positive support. Break out of the confined box that has been a comfortable but unhappy experience. You will never know until you try, how good it feels to make that stretch in your life. Enjoy the adventure! No one else can do this for you, so do not wait.

The Masters of the Journey community may help to provide some support if your quest includes spiritual development (in a non-religious way.)

Meditation: The First Step to Higher Consciousness

Meditation practice regularly helps you to be more calm and present. When you release your thoughts in meditation, your body relaxes and energy is freed for you to use in other activities or to rest and heal yourself. Letting go of thoughts, fear, anxieties, and distractions allow an emotional environment where fewer mistakes are made and you save time. When you are calmed by meditation, you are less likely to be “Triggered” and you can be more available for positive decision making and better choices.

This is nothing new. Yes, it does take time and practice to learn to meditate but it saves you time and energy in the long run. I have found that people require less sleep and can focus better during their work day. Meditation also allows connection with the divine source of wisdom and unconditional love. You may not know this and even may want to argue about this, but if you quiet yourself and become more fully “present” you will find these benefits.

Or, you can continue to be caught in your emotional drama and allow fear & anger to run your life. This is perfect also. Being open and positive will help you to find more joy and contentment in the challenges of life.

Blessings to you on your path. Just remember to breathe slowly and feel the warm breath that you exhale assist you in letting go of unwanted tension and troubling emotions.

More information at:
Stress Education Center and
Masters of the Journey

Books on Meditations include:
Curt Remington’s Simple Meditation at http://curtremington.com
and
Paula Forget’s, “Guided to a Higher Realm at http://paulaforget.com/inspired/

Dying to Know

Have you ever considered what it was like to be dead? We will all end our living by dying and then the mystery of what comes next becomes an activity that we will participate in. Some people consider that at death, we stop completely and there is nothing to look forward to. Some people believe that we travel to the “Pearly Gates,” get a few moments to reflect on our lives, and then head off to the “After Life” in Heaven or…. Some believe in “Re-incarnation” where we agree to return to Earth (or somewhere) in a new body for another “learning” in being human. Whatever your belief, the thought about what happens at the time of death has probably come up for you.

There have been many books written by people who have experienced a Near Death Experience (NDE), or who have worked with people who have moved through the ultimate transition, or who have researched the subject by reading (or conducting) interviews with people who have had NDE’s. In the 1970’s, Raymond Moody was one of the first people to come out with a book on research conducted with interviewing people who had NDE’s. I like Ken Ring who authored a series of books on this topic after even more interviews than Moody. Survivors like Eben Alexander wrote a wonderful book, Proof of Heaven, which is a well written account (by this Neurosurgeon scientist) of his own NDE where he was “clinically dead” for 7 days. There are many books, stories, movies, and other accounts through the history of man, even back to the ancient Greeks. But what can be learned from this research???

Many, maybe most, of the survivors of NDE’s come back to life with similar stories but, more notably, these people return with a different perspective on LIVING. Many report that the “after-life” or “heaven” is not a scary place. In fact, many resisted returning to their bodies and their lives because it felt so peaceful and accepting. Survivors report the feeling of unconditional love and support, full acceptance, freedom from the limitations of the body and space and time. Many report access to divine consciousness and wisdom not known in their human form. Most importantly, many return with the fear and anxiety commonly found in living, reduced because they do not fear dying. They report a different appreciation of “living in the light” and in a state of “Grace” over the way they may have chosen to live before. These stories are compelling. Whether you believe these reports or not, you can benefit from attempting to gain the “Feeling of this Grace” as you experience these stories.

Whether you get these stories first hand by speaking with someone who has had a NDE or read the accounts in the many books on this topic, it is important to try to remember your own Divine Spiritual experience and possibly bring the knowing of the State of Grace back with you to offer you perspective as you live out your remaining days.

My parents were role models with two very different approaches. My mother lived without fear of death and dying. She had adventures in life because she was not afraid to live… most fully. My father got fearful the older he got. He disliked change or traveling or eating new foods because he feared the adventures in life. I chose to be more like my mother and love the adventures, and accept the challenges that these might bring. You have a choice in how you want to live your life. You will have to come to grips with the experience of your last transition and, for many people, some consideration regarding dying adds interesting dimensions to how you live…

Our community of consciousness seekers, Masters of the Journey, offers connection to a community where topics like these are shared and resources offered to you. You may want to consider coming in person or engaging in one of our video conferences on a topic you may know about, and can offer your wisdom, or one where you can come and experience the wisdom and experiences from other people like you. This is NOT a religion but it is a way to connect to a supportive community.

I Have No Fear

“I have no fear because everything is as the Force (Divine) wills it.” Thanks Rodger for this quote from the new Star Wars film, “Rogue One,” which will be released in December, 2016. I love it when fantasy fiction triggers deep insight… Or, at least thoughts…

The “Course in Miracles” and many other Metaphysical, New Age oracles seem to repeat that there is only “Fear” and “Love” and only “Love” wins. Some say that Fear is just a form of Love. Love is the force that drives the Divine Spirit and is at the core of all creation and consciousness. Our “human forms” with our mind’s ego do not move beyond this incarnation and so the survival of body, mind, and ego create fear as a way of creating separation and as a “survival response.” Deeper Acceptance of the Divine and its core force of Love can allow for the release of the “Meatsuit,” the mind, and certainly, the ego, as we transition into the next learning incarnation.

There is the belief that the soul/spirit never dies but moves on. If it never dies then we do not need to fear death or change. (Which is easier said than done….) We can accept the loss of the “illusion” of this life and its reality. (Again, easier said than done…) We can even find ourselves in the soul and spirit of every person we encounter and so to hate (or fear) them is to hate ourselves! (Judgement is so difficult to release…)

Fear is a great motivator. Fear energizes us to push through uncomfortable experiences. Fear can also paralyze us and keep us from moving through life. A lot has been said regarding “Over-coming Fear!” Perhaps accepting our “humanism” with weaknesses, flaws, and anxiety is an important lesson. Can we truly accept our lessons and know that whatever happens it is “Perfect” and just the way the Divine “wills it?” I am told that when Gandhi’s assassin approached him and pulled the trigger for the lethal shot, Gandhi blessed him and accepted his demise. Was this acceptance or Divine wisdom or stupid defenselessness? For me, hearing this story brings a deeper level of appreciation when it comes to being devoted to Love, non-violence, and trusting the Divine. I am not sure how I would react if I found myself in a similar situation. So, I must still be on my path to acceptance and lesson learning…

Blessings to you and Know your Fear in ways where it does NOT control you. (Again, easier said than done…)

Live in Love and Joy. Find Acceptance in your soul.

Consider the support community of Masters of the Journey so you can share your wisdom as the Master you are.

Breathe and Be Present!

When all else fails and you find yourself emotionally spinning or anxious or angry, STOP, take a deep slow breath. Feel the cool air as you inhale and the warm air exhale as you slowly breathe out… Be present! Release the anger or resentment from the past. Let the future wait, without the fear and anxiety of the unknown. Sure this is easier said than done but with some practice, and willingness, you can learn to live more in the appreciation of the present moment.

It really is not that difficult to pay close attention to the cool air as you breathe in, then pause a moment, and then slowly release the breath while allowing the unnecessary thoughts and emotions to slowly, but freely, flow out and away. You have to breathe anyway. Why not do it consciously? And, while you slowly breathe, why not learn to take responsibility for YOUR role in creating the life drama that may be upsetting to you… Sure, there are annoying people and  incidents, but you have a choice to get sucked in to the drama or to not get sucked in. Yes, you can just watch the drama unfold and wonder what your lesson is and what you are supposed to be learning from the weird turn of events.

There are styles of meditation which are practiced for years and built around focusing on slowly breathing. It can take people years to master these styles but it does not have to take years to have important benefits for you in the present moment! In fact, if you walk out into a beautiful natural setting like by the ocean, or by a river/stream, or by the majesty of the mountains with the sky above reaching up to the heavens, you can use your slow breathing to find the beauty and appreciation of the present moment. This will change your attitude quickly, if you let it! You can let go of the fear and be present, basking in the love that accompanies the beauty of the present moment in nature. If you can not get out into nature then use a candle to focus on or maybe a beautiful photograph or painting as a natural mandala to soothe your mind and soul. Even a pleasant memory of a time basking in the beauty of nature will help to soothe you in the present moment if you find yourself slowly breathing deeply with the willingness to “let go.”

You can close your eyes and go inward to feel the cool air as you inhale, pause, and release the warm exhale, slowly. String together 8-12 slow breaths and your heart rate will begin to slow and your muscles will begin to relax. As you slow down, your mind will gently follow into a more peaceful and pleasant state. This is a great skill to share with the people you care the most about… And, also it is worth sharing with people who you do not care the most about. The calming with gently spread like a chain reaction and offer calmness to all of your environment.

The Stress Education Center has information at www.dstress.com . The Masters of the Journey has information and ways to find a spiritual tribe to support you at www.mastersofthejourney.com  Please take good care of yourself and find ways to be “Present.”

Connecting for Peace

This Summer, 2016, the world has been inundated by difficult news from around the world! Now, more than ever before it is time to come together AND to connect with the spirit of peace. To “judge” these developments as “bad” is easy for most of us who want the people of the world to get along and to work together for the common good of everyone on this planet (some think before it is too late….) Perhaps these man made disasters are not “bad” but necessary “wake up calls?” WHY do we need such “wake up calls?” My heart is troubled by the lengths people must take to be noticed! The innocent “victims” giving their lives, or their health, to the attention seeking, disenfranchised mayhem seekers.

It is NOT time to feel powerless or to wallow in the Media driven frenzy. It IS time to find the peace and the deepest seated LOVE to send out through your thoughts and prayers to all humankind. Now is the time to picture peace in the world. When enough of us focus on this highest level of unconditional love, knowing that we are all “one” with each other souls, we can begin to change the consciousness of others spirits, even the ones suffering with anger, rage, and hostility. A daily dose of blessing seems more appropriate than time spent watching the “news” on TV.

At the end of my daily meditation, I picture the golden white light of love going out from my heart to envelop the world, the solar system, the galaxy, and then the Universe. Why not? It can do no harm to focus upon LOVE and to pray for peace for ALL! I have no way of “knowing” with my mind if this helps, but I KNOW that my heart and my soul feel good to offer these positive energies…

Blessings to you, whether you work for peace or not. We are all in this together no matter what your mind tells you. We are ALL one with the Divine Spirit.

Please take good care of yourself and find the best way for YOU to go out and do good in the World! Be the shining beacon of hope as you role model the goodness of spirit!

No matter where you are, connect with a “Loving” community and collectively meditate on a Universe filled with Joy, Happiness, Love, and Supreme Consciousness. Mankind may be just a brief “Blip” in the history of our Universe but I wish that we can learn our “lessons” and more fully “Remember” the blessings of the Divine within our souls and spirits. YOU are NOT powerless in the face of the world’s challenges. You must fill the void with a positive thought and your positive energy! Broadcast LOVE!

Peace.

L. John Mason, Ph.D.

Founder of the Stress Education Center and Masters of the Journey, Transformational Community

Why we are more Overwhelmed Now! Stress

Why we are more stressed now. Do not be a victim to advances in technology.

Written by L. John Mason, Ph.D., Author of the Bestseller; Guide to Stress Reduction

Overwhelmed???

Why we are more stressed now than ever before!

Quality of life has suffered. Health has been affected. The rate of change has accelerated. Productivity can be jeopardized. We are “running” faster than ever and do not feel like we can ever catch up! Personal and professional support is draining away.

We are “stuck” with a “primitive” response mechanism which may never evolve fast enough to keep pace with technology. This ancient survival mechanism is built into our genetic code and has its origin billions of years ago. We still need this response on occasion, but day to day, it may be a major thorn in our side. It has been known since the 1930’s as Walter Cannon described it, the “Flight/Fight” response. This automatic reaction to fight or to flee to save our life is stilled needed, however, the normal daily reactions to less than life threatening situations, can trigger a part of this reaction in a habitual way which is slightly different for each of us.

The problem arises when we ignore the response until our systems have to over-react to get our attention. A major display by this mechanism can look like: tension headaches, tight neck and shoulders, sleeping problems, back pain, high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, stroke, heart disease, asthma attacks, panic/anxiety attacks, stomach problems, sexual dysfunction, certain skin irritations, hyper sensitivity, learning problems, memory problems, communication problems, poor decision making, emotional swings, resistance to change, lower productivity, and increased likelihood of worker’s compensation claims due to stress or on the job accidents and injury. Any of these symptoms can affect an individual employee, a team, a department, or the whole company’s bottom line. 70-90% of visits to medical doctor’s offices are for symptoms that are either caused or made worse as a reaction to this primitive stress response.

Symptoms of stress cost companies Billions of dollars annually in lost time, reduced productivity, worker’s compensation claims, replacement of key personnel, even lawsuits, and internal sabotage from overwhelmed employees. Prevention not only can enhance quality of life, it will also raise productivity, reduce sabotage, and assist retention strategies.

To make a point that we are more stressed today than ever before, consider the ever increasing rate of change based on new information. The “Information Age” was coined in the 1980’s. It has created a revolution of new information technologies. To see this point more clearly, think back to common societal changes since the mid to late 1980’s. Did you have cable TV in 1985? How many channels did you get from your cable provider? How many channels of TV do you have today, with cable or satellite dish? Probably 15+ channels in 1985 to now as many as 500 choices. In the mid-1980’s did you have a fax machine? A “pager”? A personal computer? E-mail? A Cellular telephone? You have probably experienced all of these since then. If you still do not have a “Cell phone,” you are not immune from the increased numbers of them… Just go to a movie, a restaurant, church, a meeting…. everywhere you go people are using the new technologies and probably stressing you out. A big one to consider that did not exist in the 1980’s is related to “cell phone” use while driving. Do you call when driving? Do other people behave unsafely when they are distracted by calls while driving?

Do you remember the early 1990’s? You could get new computer with software and not have to upgrade for 2-3 years. Now, if you get a new computer, it is outdated before you get it home and out of the box. Software upgrades seem to happen by the minute… Have you noticed that there are more coffee and espresso stands in the last 10 years? Is this how people cope with the increase in the pace of change and new information? Are there more cases of people going “postal” or “car rage”, or “air rage,” or whatever new anxiety we experience.

A final question, since 1985 has your genetic code “upgraded” to keep up with the pace of the Information Age? It takes thousands of years to biologically evolve! Psychologically and emotionally we must learn coping strategies to ensure our healthy survival. That is why now, more than ever before in human history, we must invest time and resources in preventing the adverse effects of our own stress response. Though it does take time and energy, prevention is worth the price. We can actually save time and get more done, by eliminating the internal distractions of stress. Also, we need to mentor, as positive role models, our children in these coping strategies that they will require to survive the ever-increasing presence of stress in our society.

There are models of companies using various prevention strategies and finding a return on investment. I know of one study with the company Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado where human resources reported a $5 return on every $1 invested in health and wellness programs. The positive return was based on reduced sick time, fewer accidents, increased morale and productivity. The more subtle cost savings due to prevention of sabotage (and resistance to change) from overwhelmed, disgruntled employees is very difficult to measure, but still a significant factor in many organizations. Often, improved communication, allowing for input from all levels of the workforce, can be a valuable stress management and prevention strategy that leadership is learning.

In house trainers, coaching and mentoring can create a tailored program that will best fit your organization. Outside consultants, coaches, and trainers can assist your organization to build the most effective programs, if your in house staff does not have the necessary training or experience. Consider the cost benefits of reduced: sabotage, health claims, accidents, sick time, turnover, and loss of productivity due lack of focus. Proactive retention strategies, which have used employee surveys, include stress management as a highly requested benefit (always in the top three requested programs.)

If you feel that you might benefit from an individualized stress management program to minimize your overwhelm and stress, consider the Stress Education Center’s audios which include a basic stress management series or specific stress management programs for: sleeping, pain management, anxiety control, and even pre-natal stress management. Check these out at www.dstress.com or http://dstress.com/products/specific-health-topics/.

Growing the Garden: a Reason to Live

Do you have a good reason to live? Is there something motivating you that may help you to live longer should you find yourself with a terminal illness? I have seen mothers with young children use their love of their children to fight off near-death experiences. When asked why they chose to come back from their near-death incident, they have answered they could not leave yet, knowing that their young children would be left to grow without them. This experience has surfaced when severe accidents and terminal illness were involved. Some people are ready to pass into the next consciousness and “let go” more easily. Some people fear death or for other reasons stubbornly hold on to living. I had a male client in his late thirties who had anger as a motivation to keep living years beyond his prognosis. His wife and younger children suffered the torment of living with this angry, frustrated husband/father. When he finally did let go, there was some relief felt by caregivers and family. In this particular case, his death-defying behaviors were actually viewed as a torture for his family. Sad, but true.

Then there are people like my late wife, Barbara. She lived beyond her prognosis. She appreciated and celebrated every day that she lived with her cancer. One of her positive motivators was her passion for growing plants in her garden. Like the Winchester Mystery House, she continued to add more garden and more plants every chance she got. She rejoiced with every blossom that developed. She celebrated every vegetable that matured. She had weeding projects and building projects that never seemed to end. When she cut her blossoming flowers and brought them inside to decorate our home, I felt her joy and saw her beaming smile. She took all of our visitors on a tour of her gardens to celebrate her creations and the sensation of life that these plants symbolized. Their appreciation bolstered her energy. This energy kept her stronger for her treatments and helped her to maintain an exercise regimen. She kept her focus on living and did not discuss her condition. She did not want to be known as a cancer patient or someone struggling with a terminal illness. She did not want sympathy but wanted to bask in joy, health, happiness and the Light. She planned future dates of positive events with family and friends. She looked to the blessings in the future and not to the gathering clouds.

If this is relevant to you or to someone you know, I encourage you to help them bask in the Light of life’s celebrations. Enjoy the happiness and joys in each new day. Focus on what is working and keep moving forward.

Thank you for your attention and your time. With my love and my challenge, please keep moving closer to the light of unconditional love and higher consciousness… Find joy!

Death and Dying: Fear and Anxiety

Can you live fully if you fear death? Can you be fully present in life if you are distracted by dying? Does there come a time in your life when you can let go of your anxiety and celebrate your life?

These are not easy questions and yet they are surprisingly common. After your birth, the only certainty is that at some point you will die. No big deal, ’cause we all gotta do this, BUT, it is a big deal! In a metaphysical frame of reference, the fear and anxiety may come from the part of YOU that does NOT move on. Let’s back up! Many of us remember that our soul/spirit is neither created nor destroyed, it just changes form. As a spirit, we have lessons or challenges to encounter and we get into our life in a certain “Meat-suit” (body) so we can experience the lessons which we need to “move on.” Our “meat-suit” comes complete with a brain, emotions, “ego,” physical attributes, AND mortality. This body does not get to move on into the divine, it simply goes back into the Earth’s elements and is recycled.

The lack of our brain’s ability to understand death and our “ego’s” mortality, make for the fear and anxiety which many of us consider and shudder to deal with. Real scary fears surface and cause major distractions in life. My father was afraid of change and very fearful of dying. He did not know to trust the experience of “letting go” anywhere in his life. As he got older, his anxiety increased and he seemed to turn to his religion for comfort and found little peace of mind. He was scared! On the other hand, my mother’s life was filled with intuition and trust. She loved change and travel and adventure. Late in her life, she was somewhat impatient regarding letting go of the limitations of her body so she could “move on.” Two different role models for me. I chose to be a bit more like mom in these regards.

Some people are blessed with experiences which offer insight into death and dying like a “near death experience” (NDE) which allows them to visit the dying process but return for more living. There are many accounts written in books and articles which describe these documented experiences. In the accounts which I have read, death seems comfortable and not scary to the soul. Upon returning, the individual who experienced the NDE seems to live with less burdens regarding anxiety of dying. In many cases, there is a greater appreciation of life and greater enjoyment in experiencing living. Consider reading some of these accounts for yourself. I recommend, Ken Ring, Ph.D. as an author and researcher on NDE’s, but there are many popular books on this topic and first hand accounts of near death experience. If you read these and find them familiar, you may relieve some fear of death.

Spiritual development and learning to be more “present” can also offer you the insight that will give you comfort. I am currently participating in study groups reading the “Course in Miracles” and “The Way of Mastery” which challenge me to consider a way to find the “Divine Spirit” in my day to day living. Many meditation practices are also helpful and create positive insights which allow you develop your intuition and connection with your soul/spirit. There is great value in finding a loving supportive community where you can share the anxieties which may arise and the questions which surface. My only warning is to find a community where you are accepted for who you are and does not want you to conform in ways that restrict your spirit’s need for expansion and ACCEPTANCE. We are all in this together and we benefit from supporting others without the “judgements” that can separate us.

Blessing to you on your path. Find a way of supporting other pilgrims and reach around to lend a hand.

If you require resources for finding community or are looking to checkout other consciousness development processes, consider the new and evolving community called Masters of the Journey. We are building a website and have a Facebook presence to assist people who are searching… Please take good care of yourself.

If appropriate, please share this blog. Thank you.

Panic and Anxiety Control Program

Symptoms of panic and anxiety can be confused with life threatening physical disorders! Please consult your physician to determine the source of your symptoms.

Behavioral techniques for controlling panic and anxiety. Help get back in control of your life.
This is an update of specific things you can do to control the symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks. These devastating occurrences can negatively affect your day to day quality of life. But this is not news for anyone suffering from this terrible disorder. Millions of people live in fear of these “attacks.” Major transitions, trauma, and stress can lead to feelings of little or no control over one’s life! This can affect people in major ways.

A scary symptom which can develop is called Panic (or Panic Attack.”) A panic episode can come on suddenly or can awaken you from your sleep with a nasty feeling of apprehension. Some people believe that they are having a heart attack because often there is chest pain, a shortness of breath, neck or arm pain, major stomach upset, an adrenaline rush, lightheadedness, dizziness, and other unpleasant feelings of fear and apprehension. These feelings can be triggered by specific events such as: driving (getting stuck in traffic), shopping, waiting in lines at stores, banks, post offices, etc, feeling trapped in church/movies/classes, traveling distances from home (especially flying, etc.), making a presentation in front of a group of people (drawing attention toward yourself), doing new or unfamiliar activities, meeting new people, basically, doing anything new or seemingly stressful where you may fear “LOSING CONTROL.” Loss of control is the main feature that makes this so frightening for the people who suffer from panic and anxiety. We may not know a panic sufferer by looking at him or her because they can maintain such good control that unless we were to look very carefully we might not notice the nervousness below the surface.

Heart problems, chest pain, and respiratory difficulties (hyperventilation and dizziness are common symptoms of panic/anxiety attacks) should be carefully examined by your physician! If no heart related problem exists, but you are still in great fear of these occurrences of panic then the following behavioral program, with practice, will greatly aid you in preventing or at least minimizing the episodes of panic. Also, remember that exciting/positive actions or events can raise your heart rate. This excitement is not bad or life threatening, but you fear of the physical symptoms of excitement can really hamper your enjoyment of life!

The keys to controlling panic and anxiety are:

• Breathe slowly/diaphragmatically
• Remain in the present… in your body, in a positive way
• Positive self-talk… not negative ruminations
• Avoid caffeine and stimulants
• Regular aerobic exercise
• Regular deep relaxation with Biofeedback Temperature monitoring
• Use relaxation tapes/CD’s regularly!
• Learn to warm your hands and feet
• Get support in confronting and then desensitizing yourself to fears/phobias
• Taper your anti-anxiety medication after you have mastered the relaxation-biofeedback

1. Learn to breathe diaphragmatically
Place a hand over your upper abdomen
Push it OUT as you inhale
Let in move IN as you exhale
Let your chest, shoulder, neck, and back relax as you breathe.
Only on a very deep breath should these parts move in the breath.
This may be the most important Panic Control Technique you can learn!

2. Use any of the Stress Management Audio’s, especially, #205 Stress Management for Controlling Panic and Anxiety, 1-3 times per day for 8-12 weeks. Check the “Products” page at the Stress Education Center’s website.
After achieving a level of controlled deep relaxation, repeat suggestions of “control,” especially control of slow, regular breathing and slow regular heart rate. Suggestions of “letting go” to help achieve hand and foot warming, along with any visualizations that can encourage this increase of peripheral blood flow, would be very useful, as well.

Try to find: StressDots or some sort of temperature training biofeedback device on your hands to learn how to warm your hands with relaxation. When you can consistently get above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (93-95 degrees is ideal) then you can begin to master warming your feet to 90 degrees.
When you can “let go” by relaxing and warming your hands and feet, you will be able to control if not prevent your panic episodes. Then you must develop the confidence in your control so the fear of panic will not control your life.

3. Regular exercise will help you to work off the effects of life’s stresses
3-5 times per week of regular exercise that can elevate your heart rate for 15-45 minutes would be best. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program if you have been inactive for a long while. Even though elevating your heart rate can be a little scary, the release of tensions and the strengthening of your cardiovascular system will have great benefits.

4. Eat regular meals.
Low fat and complex carbohydrates are better than fast foods with lots of sugar. AVOID CAFFEINE and other stimulants. Caffeine is found in coffee, black teas, cola drinks, chocolate, some over-the-counter pain medications, and other foods/drugs. Read labels. Eating as closely as you can to natural foods (lots of: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.) will benefit any one.

5. Practice positive self-talk.
Do not let your fears escalate into you losing control of your body and your mind. By breathing slowly and staying in your body, in present time, you avoid falling into the negative pattern of fear and panic.

6. Get support from your friends, doctor, and a therapist if necessary.
Check your area for panic/anxiety support or treatment groups! Regular use of anti-anxiety medications may be better than just taking your prescription only after the panic has begun. Reduce your medication in a supervised way after you have mastered the relaxation/biofeedback control techniques.

Remember you can get back in control of your body and your life! You must make this a priority so you can avoid being a victim to this set of scary symptoms.

Panic/anxiety is not always your enemy. This reaction is designed to protect you and may teach you something about the stresses and transitions you are going through. Denial of these challenges only creates a more stubborn set of symptoms that can be more debilitating.

Other Good books that can help you:David Barlow, Ph.D. and Jerome Cerny, Psychological Treatment of Panic, Guilford Press, New York. 1988.

Susan Lark, MD, Anxiety & Stress: A Self-Help Program, Westchester Publishing Company, Los Altos, CA. 1993.

For more information regarding the Stress Education Center Panic/Anxiety Control Program visit the website at www.dstress.com or call 360-593-3833.