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Turn-off switch

When I get triggered, or shocked, or run-away anxious, it would be really handy if I had a turn off switch – a fail-safe that would cut me off from that energy surge that leads to melted inner wires otherwise.

It’s sometimes a stern finger-wagging where I order myself to stop it!
It’s sometimes a much more empathetic one where I stay with my physical sensations until those sensations begin to move.

Resmaa Renakem has a process he uses and teaches in his book My Grandmother’s Hands that I have used and taught in turn. Translated into my own words:

  • Become aware of the sensations the shock or panic causes inside me; then stay with those sensations by breathing with them, long and slow;
  • Find a way of supporting that sensation while it moves through me, usually by placing a hand on that part of me – such as my chest or throat or solar plexus;
  • If it’s intense, step away, either by taking a drink of water or getting a glass of water, or going for a break or a walk. Wait for a shift inside me before even trying to engage.

The reality is that there usually is no hurry, only the need to rush inside me, and instead of succumbing to that feeling, allowing space and slowing my urge to act is what works. What turns off my panic in a supportive and satisfying way.

The panic attack that started a global health movement

Quote of the Week

I’m the vice president of panic, and the president is missing.

― Paige Lewis, Space Struck

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at .