If the emotional atmosphere of the constant COVID-19 threat is not enough to trigger panic, then the addition of the week of Tisha B'av makes it all the more acute. Today's post is therefore a practical and effective guide for warding off panic attacks.
To prevent a panic attack, it's important to remember how and why it's happening. King David, the greatest psychotherapist who ever lived, understood the human soul better than anyone else. He said, "Happy is the person whose strength is in You" (Psalm 84:6). In other words, the moment a person realizes that he or she cannot handle a situation on their own, and they turn to the Almighty for strength, then they immediately neutralize panic and negativity. Understand that panic comes from the evil inclination, to disarm and disable a person so that he or she cannot serve Hashem. Our sages in the Gemara teach that no one has the power to overcome the evil inclination on their own. We all in varying degrees are susceptible to panic, but we overcome it as soon as we completely place all our trust in Hashem and throw all our problems into His lap. In the same vein, Rabbi Chaim of Volozyn osb"m said that the spiritual ploy of overcoming any fear or anxiety is simple to remember and repeat ein od milvado, "There is nothing or no one but You, Hashem!"
Step One of preventing a panic attack is to remember Hashem,
Step Two is to repeat "ein od milvado, There is nothing or no one but You, Hashem," seven times.
Step Three is to ask the Almighty for help - call his Name out load, be vocal, even yell or scream if that helps you.
Step Four is to get the endorphins (feel-good hormones) flowing. How? Try one of these options:
a. Do as many pushups as you can;
b. Run around the block or jog in place for two minutes;
c. Do ten squats.
Step Five is to take ten deep breaths, inhaling as deep as you can and exhaling as slow as you can.
Step Six is to sniff the aroma of lavender oil, which is known for being soothing and stress-relieving. It can help your body relax. If you don't have lavender oil, these natural aromas are also effective: jasmine, rosemary, cinnamon or peppermint.
Step Seven is to call a time out, sit or walk in a quiet place, and speak to Hashem and once again, ask for His help and guidance; He'll be glad to give it to you.
Panic and the above 7 steps are mutually exclusive. But, as preparing for war, we must practice maneuvers. Don't wait for a panic attack to implement the above steps - you can do them anytime and they'll make you feel both calmer and more energized. Since panic leads to depression and depression depletes energy, the above 7 steps are a great reboot.
Once we never forget Hashem and we always remember "ein od milvado, There is nothing or no one but You, Hashem," we safeguard ourselves against any and all sorts of panic, fear and anxiety. Try it - it works and has been tested under the most extreme of challenges. Every blessing, LB
Here is the above lesson in an mp3 - download it compliments of "Emuna Beams" and listen to it over and over: