Everyone has anxiety. Some more and some less. How could you not living in a world where for all intents and purposes you don’t have a lot of control over well, really anything. That said, for some anxiety turns more serious. Whether the result of an illness or some other life changing event, when anxiety turns into full blown panic, the need to find a solution goes to the top of the to-do list.
Margaret Finnegan shares her personal story with panic in this latest Los Angeles Times article. For her, panic attacks were the result of her daughter’s diagnosis with epilepsy. Going down the normal Western Medicine route of medicating the symptoms, Finnegan found that nothing really changed. The result? She turned to Vipassana Meditation to help her cope with life through focusing on mindfulness and the breath.
One day I thought I was having a heart attack. I wasn’t. My old friend Mr. Panic was back.
But this time I could draw upon tools, and that helped. More important, I realized that I needed to change. I couldn’t be a constant yo-yo mirroring everyone else’s health. I needed to be strong in myself.
So I did the smartest thing I ever did: I started meditating. I’ve been doing Vipassana meditation for about three years now.
In Vipassana, we focus on the breath. When we realize our minds have wandered, we go back to the breath. In that moment, we “wake up.” We practice mindfulness. And, funny enough, after a while, you start “waking up” in daily life too.
Now, when my mind starts to spin out tragedies or dwell on past dramas, I’m less likely to get stuck in them. I wake up. When the stress of parenting a chronically ill child ratchets up, I take solace in the fact that my hardships are like each breath: They evolve. They pass. Nothing lasts forever.
Read more about Finnegan’s meditation journey here.