So, I'll admit it - I used to have a panic problem.
Something would happen that I wasn't expecting and my thoughts go straight from 0 - 60. I get hot, nervous, and can't think straight. Everything is BAD and I usually end up crying on my bedroom floor.
I didn't think my panic problem was relatable (in fact, I thought it was something I should be ashamed of), but as I started seeing more clients, I realized how common this thought pattern was!
I spent years focusing on stress management (including emotional management) because I needed it desperately. I had no stress management skills and struggled every time something unexpected happened.
Through breathing exercises and perception shifts, therapist appointments and meditation retreats, I learned how to practice stress management to help me through difficult situations.
And while it worked wonders, it took a lot of patience and work! I completely understand why people (specifically, my clients) don't want to put in the energy...
So you can imagine my intense HAPPINESS when I was listening to an audiobook for my coaching practice and fell into a fast track process to go from panicked to productive... or as outlined in the book, "going from Oh Crap to Okay."
The book, Just Listen by Mark Goulston, was written to help you develop listening skills. He is a psychiatrist with an impressive history of being able to guide people out of crisis situations and I was so excited when he gave these simple step by step instructions. When I heard it, I couldn't believe how clear it could be. I stopped the tape and listened to the chapter 3 more times and I knew - I had to share this information!
Truly, I wish I'd had this from the beginning. One clear exercise that could take me from that feeling of panic back to reality. Imagine being able to respond to stressful situations in a calm and focused manner? It would be life changing!
I've worked so hard to find that control and I'm really excited to share this technique with you!
So, are you ready to hear the mental steps of going from panicked to productive?? Here we go!
How To Go From Oh Crap to Okay
Phase 1: Oh Crap!
This is your reaction phase. Your immediate reaction to crisis situations. Essentially, it's your moment of panic. According to Goulston, he says its absolutely vital to put words to what you're feeling. Don't deny your feelings, don't say "everything is okay", just start putting your emotions to words. Does the situation make you feel afraid? Angry? Sad? Take a moment to become aware of your emotions.
Phase 2: Oh God...
This is your release phase. Once you can put words to your emotions, this is where we let it go. Close your eyes and slowly breathe through your nose until you feel yourself relax and let the feeling go.
Phase 3: Oh Jeez.
This is your recenter phase. Letting go of the emotions through breathing is key because in the "Oh Jeez" step, you go a little deeper. Once you've gone through the Oh God stage, try a multi level breathing exercise to bring you to a place of full relaxation. Goulston recommends repeating "Oh crap, oh god, oh jeez, oh well, and okay" until you are in a deep state of relaxation.
Phase 4: Oh Well!
This is your refocus phase. Now that you've put yourself into a state of relaxation, your frontal lobe can think clearly and efficiently. Take this time to figure out, what can you do to control the damage?
Phase 5: Okay.
This is your re-engage phase. Now that you've calmed down and figured out what you need to do - TAKE ACTION. Be productive and put the plan from phase 4 into action to fix the mess you're panicking about.
Just like everything else in life, this will feel awkward and difficult in the beginning, but the more you focus on it, the easier it will become. In fact, if you practice it enough, your brain will eventually learn to make these steps an automatic reaction to crisis situation.
So, there you have it. This is a great method to follow if you're just starting out and looking to manage stress quickly in the middle of difficult situations.
I'll be putting this practice to action and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it too! Comment below and let me know if you'd use this, have used it, or are going to try it out!
With love & light,