When the thoughts start spiraling out of control, there is a need for the individual to get a grip on their thoughts so that they don’t reach the panic situation. The yogic practice of Deep breathing helps to calm the mind. We have often heard people advise those who are angry or upset to take a few deep breaths. A few minutes of this would calm the tumultuous mind. A little calm will return the body to some semblance of balance and one can start thinking about where you used the phone last, what are the possibilities of misplacement and can you get someone to call the phone, so it can be located and ask the people around you if the had seen the phone. Practice of Yogic breathing long term helps to maintain a more stable and calmer frame of mind that recognizes panic and immediately sets into motion the “calming process”
Once the physiological calm is achieved by taking a few deep breaths, one could also use the principal of recognizing automatic thoughts that cause emotional states that trigger irrational thinking.
“Automatic thoughts are usually brief, and people are more aware of the emotion they feel rather than the thoughts themselves” … The emotions are connected to the automatic thought. Although these thoughts initially pop up spontaneously, they soon become a pattern if not controlled.”( Cognitive behavior therapy – Basics and beyond by Judith Beck 1995 For instance “someone has stolen my cell phone” translates into someone means me harm every time there is any problem. Automatic thoughts occur unconsciously and are usually distorted.
In order to halt the snowballing automatic thought process a few questions that are termed Socratic questions in CBT may be asked to oneself
– What’s the evidence that your thought is true, that someone has actually stolen your phone? Is there any evidence on the other side, that you may have misplaced it and it could just have been misplaced?
– Is there another way of looking at this situation?
– Even if you did lose the phone and If people are critical, how could you cope with that?
– What is the worst thing that could happen?
– What is the best thing, What’s the most realistic outcome?
– What should you do now?
Once rational thinking is accomplished, the person is able to see the situation more clearly and decide a more logical course of action. the panic state passes. Anxiety may remain but the individual is more capable of managing the situation to gain maximum benefit.
2011, Beck, J.S. Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond (2nd ed.)