Anxiety attacks are essentially your mind going into a panic like state leaving you flustered and often breathless. Technically it is a disorder of the mind. But this does not mean that it cannot be treated by using a more somatic approach. Somatic healing is a more holistic approach that incorporates your mind, body, spirit, and emotions in the healing process.
A person who is suffering from anxiety can find a good healing process in somatic psychology. However, they need to be willing to practice how to tolerate sensations in their body and being patient with them.
Here are 5 steps that can help you use somatic psychology for addressing anxiety.
Step 1: Locate It
The thing with anxiety is that it affects different people differently. Some people will experience a clenching of their gut while some will find it hard to breath. Some patients complain that their mouths go dry all of a sudden. So, the first thing to do is to identify where anxiety affects you the most. Is it your stomach, your chest, your throat? Try to locate its area of impact so that you can then work on it.
Step 2: Describe It
Since anxiety attack is all about sensations, it again tends to be different in different people. If we go beyond the term “anxiety” itself, the sensation can be described in so many different ways. Some people may say that they experience laboured breathing. Some say they feel their pulse racing. Some would say they experience clenching or tightening of chest. So, it is important that you try to describe the sensation as accurately as possible. If you feel sensation in your stomach then is it a feeling of your gut clenching or fluttering?
Step 3: Shape & Colour
This may sound a little far-fetched but it is not. If we really apply our mind to it then we can assign colours or shapes to our sensations. This then further helps us in being more comfortable with them and even healing them. So, try to assign a particular colour or shape to the sensation that you experience in your body. If you have to make up a shape for the sensation then go ahead and do it. But try to visualize it as a tangible or physical thing.
Step 4: Assign a Scale
Next comes the intensity part. Try to define the intensity of the sensations on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being bearable and 10 being extreme. Be honest when you plot the intensity levels of the sensations here.
Step 5: Befriend the Sensation
Now you have a very real and tangible description of the sensation. You know what you feel, where you feel, at what intensity and how does it look. Now it will be easier for you to befriend it so that it dissolves easily. If you try to fight it, it will only get stronger and become worse. So instead, try to welcome it and it will dissolve faster.