I have often read online that Tai Chi cures and reduces anxiety. Why then did I, a person who practiced Tai Chi every day for many years, find myself suffering from panic attacks? After quite a few tragic events in my life, I found myself getting multiple panic attacks daily. I didn’t know what to do about it. I found myself searching online day and night for a natural cure. Every website I found with the so-called answer wanted some sort of payment. I would have to read pages of marketing fluff. When I got to the end of this drawn-out response, the answer always was to pay for a written ebook for the cure for anxiety. One day I fell for one and paid thirty-five US dollars for a downloadable ebook with the anxiety cure that was specific to being male or female. Although in hindsight this short anxiety cure ebook did help slightly, I wondered why everyone wanted money for the answer. Shouldn’t people want to share the answer freely?
At this time my panic attacks had gotten so bad I found myself having a difficult time with daily activities such as eating at restaurants, working or going to stores. One day on a checkout line at a local Home Depot I had my worst panic attack ever. My hands were shaking so badly and I felt dizzy like I was about to pass out while on the line. I put my items aside and left the store.
In the days to follow the panic attacks came so frequently that I decided to make an appointment with my primary care doctor. I expressed to him that I was in a bad mental state. He then told me I had a chemical imbalance and prescribed Xanax and an anti-depressant. I went home that day and asked myself, “I have been practicing Tai Chi and meditating for almost 14 years, how can I be suffering like this?"
Later that day, I had a revelation. I called my cousins with whom I am very close and said I am going to do everything in my power to cure myself naturally. This included not taking the medication, despite my doctor's recommendation. From that day on, I contacted a therapist, meditated daily, read every book I could find on anxiety, wrote down positive affirmations and said them daily, and changed my thoughts. My road to self-cure began.
It was a long road to a cure and I would not trade in that journey because I believe it made me the person I am today.
Tai Chi can teach you to learn the feeling of relaxation necessary in order to cope with anxiety symptoms. This is especially taught during fixed-step Push Hands, which is a two-person teaching tool in Tai Chi. In this practice, two people stand in a 70/30 bow stance facing each other. Through touch, they try to find each other's center of balance and uproot one another.
When a Tai Chi player tenses up, their center of balance is revealed and they are easily pushed over. To hide this center of balance, your weight is shifted over each leg to neutralize the incoming push. You neutralize the line of attack through proper alignment, relaxing, neutralizing, grounding, and returning the incoming force of energy back to your opponent. Through this practice, you begin to understand that you become more powerful through relaxation and proper body alignment.
I used the above skills to help cure myself of panic attacks. I decided to put myself in as many situations as I could that would trigger my panic attacks. I realized that I needed to change my reaction to the adrenaline release in my body. I treated those body feelings that frightened me the same way I would when someone was trying to push me over as in the game of push hands.
I realized my nerves were sensitized and I had to desensitize them. I knew I had to change my reaction to the symptoms that I felt which caused my panic attacks. I had to relax instead of tensing up. I did this as many times a day as I could. I knew that the more I practiced this exercise the more I was on my way to the cure. Dr. Weekes would describe in her books and videos on curing anxiety that the body is waiting to cure itself. I just needed to allow my body to cure itself and this was the way.
I no longer suffer from panic attacks and am happy to share some of my story with you so you may help yourself. Remember it is not easy. I did it, and you can, too!
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
– Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Three books I recommend for overcoming anxiety
You can probably find these books at your local library or buy them through the below links on amazon:
Hope and Help for your Nerves, by Dr. Claire Weekes
Peace from Nervous Suffering, by Dr. Claire Weekes
From Panic to Power, by Lucinda Bassett
“Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Dr. Harry Barry
Four Steps to Overcoming Anxiety, by Dr. Claire Weekes:
1. FACING what you fear (instead of avoiding it) – (Fighting the fear will only keep your nerves sensitized and make the problem worse by releasing more adrenalin.)
2. ACCEPTING your symptoms, the fear, the situation.
3. FLOATING – not resisting or fighting the fear.
4. LETTING TIME PASS – allowing time for a full recovery. Full recovery depends on repeated experiences of being in the situations you fear and learning that you are ok. This will begin to reduce and reverse the triggering of adrenalin.
While these Four Steps are simple, they do take persistence and patience. Your nervous system has to become conditioned to react in this sensitized, anxious way and it takes time to reverse the process.
If you practice these Four Steps you will slowly desensitize yourself. Instead of being fearful of panic symptoms, change your perception of them. Look at them as practice to implement the Four Steps to recovery.
Do you remember the movie Poltergeist? There was a scene where the eccentric medium would say, “Go into the light. There is peace and serenity in the light." To me this shows one of the key components to healing anxiety naturally. Relax and give in to your fear. Once you give in to what you fear most you will see it no longer has a hold on you. This is definitely not easily done especially when you first try it.
“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me, the danger is very real, but fear is a choice.” – Will Smith, “After Earth” (2013).
As Dr. Weekes said in her Four Steps to Overcoming Anxiety: Face, Accept, Float and Let Time Pass. If you practice this every time you experience anxious feelings, in time you will start to reverse your reaction of adrenalin release.
WHAT IF's: Lucinda Bassett wrote in her book, From Panic to Power that if you are a creative person you might be more susceptible to panic attacks. Creative people have such vivid imaginations and use their own imagination to scare themselves. We have a choice. We can think positively or negatively about our future. Start replacing your negative "What if" thoughts with positive ones. I bet that you are scaring yourself and thinking negatively about your future. This also takes practice. Catch yourself whenever you think negatively. Replace the thought with a positive one.
L-THEANINE: L-theanine is an amino acid known to promote relaxation and is derived from Green tea leaves. If you are unaware of this amino acid, you can read more about it at suntheanine.com. I did take this supplement daily for a year or so and believe it to have helped me in some way. Whether it was real or a placebo I am not sure. It may be worth looking into for yourself.
How to Overcome Anxiety
If you find yourself frantically searching online for anxiety cures, the answer is in the FREE video below, "Dr. Harry Barry: Overcoming Panic Attacks" by Dr. Harry Barry.
The best advice I could give you is to watch this free video over and over again until it makes sense. Then watch it again and again.
The more you educate yourself on the subject of anxiety the more you may find that you are no longer frightened by it.
Disclaimer: *The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.