As the world continues its slow process of recovery from two years of global pandemic, people are mindfully aware of the panic that can grip our society. During the pandemic, we experienced the darker nature of ourselves as we scrambled to survive. Many people grabbed for extra food, water, and even toilet paper as we were forced to “shelter in place”.
Recently, the phrase “shelter in place” came across the news channels as we embraced inclement weather. While in my local grocery store, I witnessed a frightfully familiar scene. The scene was that of panic, people grabbing, pushing, and rushing to fill their carts, triggered by “shelter in place”.
Definition of Triggers and Panic
Panic is characterized by a sudden and intense feeling of fear that prevents rational thinking and action. An individual experiencing panic may experience sudden feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and frantic agitation consistent with a fight-or-flight response that overwhelms reason and rational thought.
Typically, triggers are stimuli that elicit reactions. In the context of panic, triggers are typically associated with things that trigger or worsen symptoms. People with trauma histories are more likely to experience frequent triggers.
Connection to Emotional
We all have fears that can be triggered by various events. However, we must find a way to navigate during these events. We must find a way to self-calm, allowing ourselves to be aware of what is happening, and being fully present in the moment. Allowing various coping habits to bring our emotions and minds back to the center.
In this blog, we will explore from a Christian perspective the various ways in which a person experiencing panic brought on by triggers, gain a sense of calm and direction amid such times.
Strategies for dealing with panic and triggers
It's important to note that discussing panic triggers and providing advice on dealing with them requires a nuanced and individualized approach. If you or someone you know is experiencing chronic panic triggers, consider seeking professional help.
It's important to be aware of panic triggers and to develop coping mechanisms to deal with them. Here are some general tips:
Identify Your Triggers
Recognize situations, thoughts, or environments that commonly trigger panic or anxiety for you. This awareness is the first step in managing your response. Identifying your triggers creates a self-awareness that helps you to navigate during times of crisis. Panic can create a sense of loss of awareness of where you are and who you are. Awareness of what is happening is a way of locating, location brings you back to a sense of control over chaos in your mind.
Using grounding techniques helps you stay connected to the present moment. This can include focusing on your senses (sight, sound, touch). Connection to our senses creates a reassurance of a healthy reality. God gives us our senses to connect us with the real world around us and not a false reality created in our mind brought on by triggers.
Practice deep breathing exercises to help calm your nervous system. Inhale slowly, hold for a few seconds and exhale slowly. Repeat until you feel more grounded.
In addition, mindfulness-based stress reduction teaches people to observe their thoughts and situations in a nonjudgmental manner without reacting to them thoughtlessly. As a result, they develop a more automatic consciousness of their experiences which serves as an effective stress reduction tool.
Talk yourself through it
Develop a list of positive affirmations or mantras that you can repeat to yourself during moments of panic. This can help shift your mindset. Remind yourself that you have survived similar situations in the past, and while scary, the panic itself is not dangerous.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
It's important to interpret and apply these verses in a way that is personally meaningful and aligned with your faith. If you have specific concerns or questions related to your faith, consider consulting with a religious leader or counselor for guidance.
Know who to call
Seek Support, talk to friends, family, or a mental health professional about your triggers. Having a support system can make a significant difference. A trusted friend or family member can help talk you down when you feel a panic attack started. Just talking to someone about what you’re experiencing, and naming the sensations across your body, can help stabilize you in the moment.
Remember, if you're dealing with panic challenges fueled by triggers, it's essential to consult with a professional for personalized advice and support such as a Christian Counselor.
Christian Counselors can provide personalized support based on your beliefs and experiences. Christian Counselors can help assist you find balanced methods to address panic triggers that are significantly impacting your life. Christian Counseling can help with tailored support through therapeutic and theological methods.
Steven Baldwin is currently on staff as an Associate Minister of the Apostolic Faith Church in Chicago, Illinois, where he has been a member for over 28 years. He also has a passion for serving in the church under the direction of his pastor as a preaching, teaching minister, Coordinator of Small Group Ministry, Pastoral Care Coordinator, Ministerial Alliance Core Team, and Pastoral Counselor on behalf of the Senior Pastor in marital, pre-marital, grief-loss, and spiritual direction. Steven has earned his Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. He believes that theological training at McCormick will help enable him the biblical knowledge and further his development in church leadership skills. Steven is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Psychological Studies with a concentration in Trauma Counseling at Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA. He has a desire to integrate his theological training with his psychological training to function in a therapeutic gospel.