Helping you to have a peaceful and quiet mind.

Perhaps you or someone close to you have just experienced a frightening or life changing event, or perhaps you are coping with everyday stress and anxiety and are seeking relief. Whether you are here for spiritual or physical reasons, the resources we provide here will be helpful, because we are made of Body, Soul and Spirit.

Everett and Silvia

Silvia’s story…

“…it’s terrifying, ‘out of the blue’ I can’t breathe or think clearly.”

On that hot July morning in 1999, I pushed Dr. E’s office door open saying “you only have two months to make me well again, I am teaching in the fall!” A mustache atop his long white beard moved up and down saying simply: “let’s get to work then.”

With my heart feeling glued to my throat –as if wanting to relocate there– my mind continued to race with a mix of real and imaginary thoughts that I could not seem to catch to make sense of. My world had became a strange land inhabited by fear and the inability to clearly think. My peace was gone and I felt like I had been taken hostage by fear and strange thoughts and feelings.

“I have three children depending on me, I need to be well and healthy, it’s terrifying, ‘out of the blue’ I can’t breathe or think clearly.”

Dr. E replied:
“What you are experiencing are called “panic attacks” but they are nothing to be afraid of. A panic attack won’t kill you, and it won’t make you go crazy. This is how you are going to get well: We are going to lower your stress hormones by changing the way you think.”

I was referred to a counselor who began to show me how untrue my thinking had become, and why my mind had shifted to ‘panic mode.’

Click on the green headings below to learn more:

Panic Attacks and Relaxation Techniques

Signs of stress or panic anxiety

Your body speaks volumes of how tense or relaxed we are. Are you clenching your jaw, or grinding your teeth? Are your shoulders raised? If you can drop your shoulders, you are holding more tension in your muscles than you should. Is your brow furrowed in concentration? Or are you positioned like you are ready to attack someone? You may have felt like you were dying. Maybe you have even gone to the emergency room thinking you were having a heart attack. Or felt like you were choking –like an invisible hand was around your neck– your heart was racing and you had free floating feelings. Or perhaps thought like you were losing your mind. These are descriptions of a panic attack, and for anyone who has ever had one, you would do almost anything to never have another one. Find comfort in this: you are not alone. Many people experience this and you will get better. But first let’s understand why seemingly ‘out of the blue’ this is happening.

Dealing with Panic Attacks

When you are already at the edge and full of stress, any little thing can send you over that edge. Without a margin in your life, your “stress hormone” levels become so high that having just a cup of coffee may make you lose it. Or other drivers can make you very angry. If this happens, the very first thing you need to do is step back from that edge. Now, listen to this 8 1/2 minute relaxation session from our CD Being. Life Simply.

. Please listen it and follow the instructions – listen again as needed until you calm down… and when you are ready, come back and read on and we will explain what is happening.

Welcome back. You feel better, don’t you? I know you do because we have led thousands of people in this process with success. Cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine are your fight-or flight stress hormones, and yours are lowered now –hopefully where they belong, maybe still a ‘tad’ high but that’s ok, for now the important thing is that you have some margin to work with.

Relaxation Techniques: Why They Work

We started by relaxing our body with deep breathing There are 3 basic types of breathing:

Upper Costal breathing:

This is very shallow, rapid breathing that happens when tension levels rise and the muscles in the stomach get tight. This involves the upper third of your chest. Notice the way you are breathing; is it quick and shallow? Is it from your chest only? This type of breathing is typical when we are highly stressed.

Thoracic or middle costal breathing:

This is normal breathing involving the middle third of your chest –from the sixth rib down.

Diaphragmatic breathing:

Expands the belly and moves the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped musculofibrous tissue that separates the thoracic from the abdominal cavity. Once we learned how to deep breathe, we go into progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).

In 1905 Edmund Jacobson studied the “startled” reaction to unexpected loud noise. He learned that relaxed people had no obvious startled response to loud noises. Our entire system reacts within less than one second. Within milliseconds, our body can prepare for fight or flight. PMR involves tensing a set of muscles and then relaxing them. The technique works on the idea that once you identify the sensation of tension, you can relax it away. You find a tense spot, tense it even more, then relax it, creating a momentum that will cause your muscles to relax more deeply.

You will relax as much as you tense, like a pendulum swinging from side to side. The relaxation will be deeper because of this momentum when compared to just relaxing your muscles without tensing first. Your tense muscles send a message to your brain alerting your hormonal alarm system, and the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for your protection and survival. You may be tense because you are stressed or you may be stressed because you are tense. It doesn’t matter. Learning to loosen up your body will make a big difference. Gripping, clenching, tightening muscles may prepare you to escape or to attack, but they make you tired as well, and may cause pain.

Herbert Benson, a Harvard University cardiologist and director of the mind/body medical institute, made a significant breakthrough in the 1970s. His studies revealed that we have an innate ability to reduce our heart rate, blood pressure and brain-wave activity, a process he called the “relaxation response,” a mirror image of the stress response. Relaxation engages the parasympathetic system -our rest and restore system- to reduce arousal. Our sympathetic system is concerned with the fight-flight response -the opposite of relaxation.

Our bodies are always searching for allostasis: The ongoing adaptive efforts of the body to maintain stability (homeostasis) in response to stressors. Like a thermostat in a room turning on and off when it reaches the desire temperature. Picture a car with the gas pedal pushed all the way down, while the brake is on! That is your body when you are stuck in a chronic stress response; unable to release the gas pedal, unable to experience your rest and restore response.

Relaxation as a Way of Being

Relaxing our bodies is necessary, not just a fad. Once we are relaxed, we can begin to enter the meditation part God spoke of all along: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 19:14 “May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Joshua 1:8 “Study this book of instruction continually, meditate on it word day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it, only then you will prosper and succeed in all you do.” Meditation is simply focused thinking, and we are focusing our thinking on His goodness while quieting our body and mind. We are human beings, not human doings. We are accustomed to getting ahead of ourselves by living in the future, where stress resides. We get to know the world around us by paying attention to our senses. Our future is a concept that hasn’t happened. All we really have is our “now” while our lives are unfolding. We are not just thinking, now we need to be aware of what we are thinking.

When you are in the shower, are you really there? Or are you already at work, missing the beautiful sensations, the smells, the relaxing power of warm water, the steam, and comfortable feeling of a nice smelling towel? When your two year old is trying to talk to you, are you there? Or are you at the your ‘next thing’ missing her wit, innocence, delightful squeals? “Being” is catching our brain and our body and keeping them at the same place and time -if only for a few minutes at a time. This is important: “Being” is non-judgmental. It is from moment to moment, relating to everything without thinking it. When thoughts come, we give them little legs, and let them go.

Processing Causes of Stress

Earlier I mentioned how this came “out of the blue” for me, but in reality it had been building to a breaking point, for years. But maybe for you there could be some very painful situations happening to you right now, –like a death or job loss, divorce, children problems, addictions, etc. The good news is that you are not fighting this monster alone and there are steps you can take to help you stop and reverse this stress build-up. Growing up we learned some wrong things along the way, here are some of them:

Negative self-talk

Because we think something, doesn’t make it real. Thoughts are opinions, not facts. Once an idea has been accepted by the subconscious mind, it remains there until replaced by another idea. And, the longer the idea remains, the more opposition there is to replacing it with a new idea – once an idea or thought has been accepted, it tends to stick. The longer it is held, the more it tends to become a fixed habit of thinking. This is how habits of action are formed, both good and bad; First there is the thought and then the action. We have habits of thinking as well as habits of action, but the thought or idea, always comes first. If we wish to change our actions, it begins first with our thoughts. We all have thought habits that are not correct but they are fixed in our minds anyway. There will be opposition within ourselves to replacing it with the correct idea. For example, if I think “I am stupid,” over time I am going to believe it, even though it is not true. A way to replace this thought is by counter it –“I am smart, I just made a mistake.” or “She hates me,” to “I wonder if she is having some problems.”

Mistaken beliefs

They start from our family of origin and we believe them as the whole truth and nothing but the truth; the reality is a lot of them are, well, mistaken! If you grew up in a home where you were ignored you may believe that you are not lovable; or if you were excessively criticized as a child you may believe you can’t do anything right, that something is wrong with you. If you heard “Boys don’t cry or good girls don’t get angry” you were conditioned to distort and mask your feelings. The fact is you believed a lie. Depending on your personality you may have a tendency to be a worrier, a critic, a victim, perfectionist; or any combination of these. Here are their notable characteristics of both self-talk and others talk:

  • The Worrier is anxious, expects the worst and is always vigilant to view everything as a catastrophe. They think: “What if…” thoughts with a negative outcome.
  • The Critic has low-self esteem, points out flaws and limitations, jumps on any mistake to remind you that you are a failure, compares you to others and diminishes your positive qualities. They think: “You are a disappointment, You are stupid or lazy, etc., and Can’t you do anything right?”
  • The Victim is depressive, feels helpless and hopeless, believes nothing will ever change, believes there is something inherently wrong with them. They think: “I can’t.”
  • The Perfectionist is stressed and burnt out, their self-worth depends on externals. They strive and never arrive. They think: “I should, I have To…”

Distorted Thinking

Distorted thinking examples:
This is just a sample of many more distorted thoughts:

  • All-or-Nothing thinking: There is no middle ground. If you make a mistake you are a total failure.
    Example: The boss criticized my report so it’s time to look for another job.
  • Catastrophizing: If a negative outcome did occur it would be overwhelming and unmanageable. They expect disaster; What if I die? What if tragedy strikes?
  • Personalization: Thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. If your friend didn’t like the movie you invited him to you feel it is your fault, rather than shrug it off as “just a bad movie.”
  • Blowing things way out of proportion or shrinking their importance. If you have a cold you are not going to die of pneumonia, Conversely, if you have pneumonia you need to go see a doctor.
  • Emotional Reasoning: You reason from how you feel and believe it is true: “I feel like an idiot so I must be one.”
  • Jumping to conclusions: You conclude things are bad without any definite evidence.
    • Mind Reading: You assume people are reacting negatively to you, “She is mad at me, I can tell.”
    • Fortune Telling: You predict that things will turn out badly. “I know she is going to think I am stupid if I say hi to her, I am safe if I keep quiet.”

Taking Steps in the Right Direction

“We Are What We Think.” Here are a few new ways to help our stress go down: Replacing our thoughts with truth:

When you watch a scary or suspenseful movie, you are not in danger, but you “feel” like you are, right? Why is that? It is because your emotions are not rational. Movie producers make their living on the fact that what you see and hear will influence your emotions and your rational mind will allow it. Your “out of the blue” experience with anxiety is because you have been scaring your emotions with anxious thoughts and you have finally reached a breaking point, your emotions have bypassed your rational mind and have now convinced your body that you are actually in danger!

Replacing Negative Thoughts

I too need to catch my thoughts and learn to replace them. In many ways, our feelings tell us what we are thinking. Whenever you feel uneasy inside, or upset and can’t figure out why, ask yourself: “What was I just thinking?” Chances are you were not being very nice to yourself. So, how do I change my thoughts? I will give you some examples below; the key here is practice, you need to learn to change this “habit of the mind” until it becomes healthy again. This happens through repetition, just like when you learn anything new. Our thought may be rational or irrational.

Thought: I can’t believe I said that, it was so stupid! Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace thought: My idea was good, and I will work at making it better.
Thought: I am a bad mother. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace thought: I love my children and I do the best I can. I will try to improve on….
Thought: I can’t believe I did such a horrible job. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace thought: I did good so far, I will continue to work on it.
Thought: My husband is going to leave me, I know it. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace thought: I notice we have been distant lately; I need to talk to my husband and connect again.
Thought: I always burn dinner, I am a terrible cook. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace Thought: I guess we’ll have to go out tonight, I am a good cook most of the time.
Thought: My wife is having an affair. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace thought: I love my wife; I need to find out why she seems so sad. Thought: My child will drown if he goes to the pool party without me. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign. Replace thought: My child will have a wonderful time at the pool party with lots of adults watching him. Thought: I hate my job. Stop the thought by imagining a STOP sign.
Replace thought: I am thankful to have a job. Maybe soon I will start looking for something I like better, meanwhile I will enjoy it.

Setting Boundaries

A Boundary defines where I end and someone else begins, giving me a sense of ownership. It shows me what I need to take care of and what others need to take care of. When we lack boundaries, our lives feel out of control because we tend to take responsibility for situations that are not our responsibility, but others. Boundaries establish what we will do and what we will not do. When we communicate our needs in a healthy way and stick to it, we learn that it is safe, even peaceful to know what to expect. Boundaries teach us what is mine to worry about and what is not; how much I want to participate or not; to know it is OK to say no and still be friends; and also to accept the “No” of others. We learn to live peacefully and comfortably with most people.

By our boundaries We can determine if someone is taking advantage of us and when we need to distance ourselves from unsafe people.

Asserting Yourself

What is assertiveness? It Is an attitude and a way of behaving when you need to express your feelings, ask for what you want, or say no to something you don’t want. Attitude is an inward feeling expressed by an outward behavior. Assertiveness is the ability to communicate our own needs and wants in a healthy manner. We are allowed to communicate our thoughts, feelings, needs and desires. What we want and don’t want in a healthy confident way. When we learn the skill of assertiveness, we leave the other person feeling positive about the communication that took place, not defensive and humiliated. Assertiveness simply means to communicate our feelings in a clear, caring and loving way. Assertiveness is not aggressive; it is actually the opposite. When you communicate assertively you learn to express your wishes in a loving way.

Conclusion

All these tools above will help you lower your stress levels. Relaxation and Meditation are key to bring our stress hormones under control and will help us to think rationally and healthily. To be happy, we need to be kind and compassionate to ourselves.

Meditation helps us change our relationship to stress, it changes how we feel and think. Things that are legitimately exciting or “stressful in a good way” can be enjoyed when we are relaxed.

About Us

Everett and Silvia live in San Jose California and have 3 grown children. They attend a local community church. Silvia is a certified (American Association of Christian Counselors) life coach and certified mediator. She speaks to churches, women’s retreats, small groups and individuals about stress, boundaries and life issues. She also counsels individuals.
Everett composes and records these tracks and is the voice for Silvia’s writings.

Music Treatment for Panic Disorder

Music Treatment for Panic Disorder

If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Christian meditation is simply focused thinking about God’s Word, with a prayerful heart. Let us help you to learn how to relax.

David, the man after God’s heart said: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Sometimes when we are weary, we need somebody who will come along side of us and support us, carry our burdens Exodus 17:12 while we fight the good fight.

That is the heart of why these CDs exist, not to replace your reading and prayer times, but to help you at a time in life when you need some extra support.

Being In Him CD Series

Being in Him is a music therapy series dedicated to providing panic disorder treatments in the form of information and practical support. We strive to help you understand the reasons you are suddenly having panic and anxiety problems based on scientific studies and neurological science. Then, when you have the proper understanding of the root causes of panic attacks you can proceed to make the necessary life changes to restore your mind and body to proper balance. For this it is absolutely necessary to find ways to calm your body and mind by relaxation, and for that we have produced the highest quality relaxation CDs available, with a biblical world view. Through experience we have found this treatment for panic disorder will yield the quickest and most permanent result.

To begin your treatment for panic attacks we have to first understand why “all of the sudden” these panic attacks started happening. There are a number of factors that have been building over time that have now begun to present themselves in the form of panic attacks. Treatment of this form makes more sense when this is clearly understood. Review the article on Panic Attacks and Relaxation Techniques.

In addition to the simple and powerful steps mentioned there, it is equally important to learn deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and peaceful mental imagery. By doing this, you will calm your body, rest better and begin thinking clearly. These relaxation albums are especially designed for this purpose. Relaxation God’s way teaches deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, and it is recommended by professional counselors. You can begin experiencing results immediately with these relaxation CDs.

How It Works

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a reset button on your anxiety level? Even better if it didn’t involve drugs? This is what Being in Him – Christian Relaxation and Meditation on Scripture does.

Here are several reasons why they work so well.

  • First, the music is excellent and very relaxing.
  • Second, the spoken words are delivered in a pleasant manner.
  • Finally, those words are truth.

They are based on Bible scriptures and will renew your faith and help you to gain a perspective on your life.

You will feel God’s love, affirmation and peace—whenever you need it. Your day will begin calmly, you can refresh your soul anytime during the day, and you can slip into joyful sleep at the end of the day. Then do it all again!

Although these CDs will greatly help with anxiety, they will also be a huge help for new Christians. If you are a new Christian or are looking for something to help a new believer stand strong in their new faith, these CDs will be an excellent resource.

You will be blessed.

Benefits of Music Therapy

  • lowers cortisol hormone levels
  • lowers adrenaline levels
  • increases your ability to concentrate
  • increases creativity
  • aids in blood pressure reduction
  • quiets your racing thoughts
  • increases wisdom
  • decreases generalized anxiety
  • reduces panic attack
  • promotes a sense of well being
  • keeps you centered and rooted in truth
  • increases discernment
  • makes you successful at life
  • helps you to understand life
  • gives you peace of mind
  • reduces compulsive thinking
  • reduces obsessive behavior
  • integrates our being; body, mind and spirit
  • draws you closer to Christ
  • makes you more like Christ

Helping a Family Member with Panic Attacks

Helping a Family Member with Panic Attacks

How to help a family member with panic attacks? How to help a spouse with depression, panic attacks? It is important to recognize that the panic and anxiety they are feeling is real. It is absolutely useless and counter productive to say things like “It’s all in your head” or “You are just imagining it” because this is only going to add to their stress, it is perceived as disapproval. It is helpful to gently encourage them to continue their daily routine, like going out on errands, even if it means taking time to go with them, encourage them to do all the things they would normally do. There is no shame in talking to your doctor about using anti-anxiety medication, and they can be effective for helping control panic initially, but not a permanent solution.

Fortunately, you have found an excellent source, and these Christian relaxation cds will help and they are designed to help give a perspective on life that aids in your loved one’s path to a quiet mind.

Panic attacks, treatment and recovery are not quick and simple. The reality is that the thought processes that brought on panic attacks took time, probably years. Fortunately, it will not take as long to reverse the process and rarely are there treatment resistant panic attacks.

Additional Resources

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