By Aden Van Noppen

When worry, nervousness, or panic arise, explore one of these practices to slow down your nervous system and ease your busy mind.

Panic manifests itself differently in everyone. It may inflame your body like a raging inferno. You may momentarily feel disconnected from reality, dizzy, or reel with fear. To meet whatever comes up in a moment of panic, we’ve gathered three meditations to help restore awareness of breath and body and find calm.

The breath is the most common anchor used in meditation because it’s always with us. Our inhales and exhales may change in cadence or depth, but we can rest in assurance that another cycle will follow. In this meditation on impermanence, Aden Van Noppen reminds us that when the outside world feels overwhelming, we can often find inner calm by coming back to the breath.

  1. Let’s begin with a little grounding. Gently move your attention to the place where you are most rooted to the Earth. Whether that’s the bottom of your feet or where your body rests on a chair or a cushion, take a moment to just rest your attention there. Feeling the rootedness. Feeling the ground, the floor, the chair, the cushion holding you, holding your weight, grounding you. 
  2. Gently move your attention toward your breath. Take a relaxed breath, feeling the in- and out-breath like a wave. A wave of breath in and the wave as it moves out with your breath out. And just like the quality of a wave, it’s washing over you and through you. You don’t have to control it. In and out, without controlling it. 
  3. And just like a wave, no two breaths are the same. And just like every moment, no two moments are the same. Let this breath be a reminder of impermanence. As you breathe in, you can gently say to yourself, “This breath.” Each moment, each breath is a chance to begin again. “This breath.” Just like a wave. 
  4. As you take in your next breath, imagine the feeling of soaking up the nutrients of that breath, the life force of that breath, and with your out-breath, letting go. In—”Soaking up.” Out—”Letting go.” “Soaking up. Letting go.” Just as we do over and over in our lives. “Soaking up. Letting go. “ And combining them: “This breath. Letting go.” 
  5. As we transition to close this meditation, gently move your attention away from the wave of your breath and back to the rootedness of your seat, of your feet, wherever your weight is held most by the ground. 
  6. Even with the constant change, the moving in, the moving out, we always have this rootedness. It is always available to us, to remind us that we are held amid the change in our lives moment to moment. 
  7. When you’re ready, you can bring your attention back into the room and gently open your eyes. Thank you for sitting with me.  

Keywords; mindfulness, breathing, panic