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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Taming a Panic Attack

I’ve never cared for the name “panic attack,” it feels judgy; like someone is calling me a coward, or like Nelson (from the Simpsons) is pointing at me and saying “Ha Ha!”

Over the ocean of time that complex life has developed on this planet, a hair-trigger anxiety response was necessary if one was to live long enough to reproduce. Despite these facts it could feel both annoying and embarrassing for something as harmless as a heightened pollen count (and the histamine response it could invoke in my body) to trigger the symptoms of a panic attack, but it can. I’m grateful I was taught an effective technique and I’m delighted to share it now, with you.

FIRST sit in the meditation posture that feels the most sustainable for you in the moment.

SECOND gently rest your gaze upon an object at eye level.

THIRD during each inhalation close your RIGHT eye as you gaze with your left.

FOURTH during each exhalation close your LEFT eye as you gaze with your right.

This can asymmetrically stimulate your hippocampus, amygdala, and autonomic nervous system: bringing them into greater balance. Now let’s take the technique up another level:

FIFTH during each exhalation silently and mentally recite “Notice this…”

SIXTH during each exhalation silently and mentally recite “relaxing!”

Practicing all six steps simultaneously could seem daunting. So train for 16 repetitions every morning and again every evening. That way, by the time of your next the next panic attack, familiarity will have made you quite comfortable with this technique.

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