The deep breathing isn't working. It is making me more and more anxious. So I am going to try something else.
Visualization. Dr. X taught me this, but I used top do a similar exercise. The one he taught me became much more three dimensional because I set out an entire relaxing "deserted island" that was full of everything I needed. I planned all the smells, the sights, sounds, even the way things would feel. Below are the original "plans" for my island. It was a great exercise to think of all the things I wanted on my island. I have made it more and more perfect over time.
If you click on the images I think you can read my lists ...if you can read my writing!
My island is surrounded by warm turquoise water full of all kinds of fish and sea life. (There are no sharks, or nothing that can hurt me in the water. In fact I can breathe under water in this world. I spend hours swimming underwater and the feeling of the temperate water washing across my skin as I glide through the water is euphoric. Every hair on my body feels the smooth water as it rushes across me. The rush of water across me fills me with life and joy.
Around the perimeter of my island there is fine warm sand. The temperature outside is a constant 25 degrees C (82 degrees F), not humid; a clean warm air. There is a slight breeze and like the feeling of the water rushing over me when I am in the ocean, here, on land, the breeze floats across my body, allowing me to remain perfectly warm, yet not hot. It mostly sunny during the day, but when it rains it is a quick burst of rain, a warm downpour that clears the air and soaks me and the island in warm water.
The sound of the water hitting the ocean is intoxicating. When it rains the smell of the island's inland soil soaking up the sudden rain is heavenly. Past the sand is a forest and the rain wakes with sounds of all kinds of animals, birds and insects. There is a path into the forest, and paths throughout the forest. There is nothing for me to fear on this island, but there are thousands of types of plants, animals, amphibians, insects, and birds.
When I am not in the water I am in the forest exploring. I am always awestruck by something I see in the nature on the island. Every time I go for a walk I see something worth remembering. I am well on this island: perfectly healthy mentally and physically.
Anyways, it goes on like that. It is relaxing, rewarding and exciting, yet safe. I kayak and windsurf and surf and swim and canoe, and explore caves, swim in the lake in the middle of the island, swim in the ocean, eat all kinds of fresh fruit found on the island.
The point of this exercise is to visualize myself doing a very detailed and specific task, or a particular area of exploration on the island. I am to imagine in infinite details the smells, sounds, sights, tastes, all the sensations I come across as I go on a hike, or a swim, or kayak etc. Usually if I really focus on this my anxiety attacks dissipate. Often when I do this I fall asleep .(definitely not recommended as something to do while you are driving.)
The point is to create an environment that has no stressors, only stress relievers; to walk yourself an extremely detailed and relaxing visualization exercise.
It's also fascinating frivolous fun fantasizing about the items that create, expand and initiate your sensory experiences too.
I kept my visualization clean for you, but let your imagination go wild. Release your inner self, let go, be free. It's your island. It can be anything you want it to be.