A physical awareness relaxation script specifically for blind people with panic disorder. This physical awareness relaxation is to help you become more aware of how your body is feeling in order to become more comfortable and familiar with the feeling of relaxation.
This version of the physical awareness script is intended for blind people, but can be used by anyone who can more easily focus on physical sensations than visual images.
Let’s begin. These exercises help you develop an awareness of what relaxation may feel like. This can help you become more familiar with relaxation, and more comfortable with the physical sensations of relaxing. These skills you will practice can help you to more easily relax and to overcome anxiety that may be associated with the sensation of relaxation.
Take the next few moments to center yourself and bring your focus to this exercise. If there are worries on your mind, you can put them aside for a while, while you concentrate for the next few minutes.
I will count to five. With each number, let go of any concerns and worries, and allow yourself to become a little bit more focused, and a little bit more calm.
I would like to begin by talking about panic attacks and anxiety, and some of the common feelings and thoughts blind people with panic disorder may experience.
During a panic attack, it can feel like your body is failing you. You may also struggle with self-blame and feeling like your body is betraying you because you are blind. Blindness can be an added struggle that makes panic even more challenging to deal with.
You did not choose blindness. It is not your fault. It is important to be kind to your body, even though one of your senses does not function the same way as most people. You are every bit as valuable and important as any other human being. Blindness does not change that.
You are not alone in this. Many people who are blind also struggle with anxiety, just like anyone else. Anxiety is a universal experience that everyone has dealt with at one time or another. You are not alone in the feelings you have and the struggles that can come with being blind or in the struggles that come with having panic disorder. It’s okay to be frustrated. It is okay to feel however you are feeling.
You have the potential to use relaxation techniques just as effectively as anyone. Blind people can relax as well and as easily as sighted people. Like anyone, you can find relaxation techniques that work the best for you personally. Each one of us is a unique individual, and we don’t all relax the same way. It’s okay to be just the way you are. You do not need vision to be able to relax, to get rid of anxiety, or to overcome panic attacks.
It is important to be kind to yourself in regard to panic attacks, too. If you have had panic attacks in the past, or if you are in the midst of a panic attack right now, remember that you did not choose the anxiety or this reaction. Panic attacks are not your fault. It is important to be gracious and accepting toward your body, even when it is in such a panicked state.
Your body is just trying to protect you. Be kind to your body rather than upset with it. Your body is like a child who does not know any better, and is doing the best it can to handle its environment.
When you experience panic, your body is overreacting. The symptoms of intense fear you may feel are the result of an overactive stress response, which happens because your body feels threatened.
If panic or anxiety come up for you at any time, you can calmly acknowledge your body's fear and know that it will calm down.
The fear is not going to hurt you. It feels unpleasant, but fear is simply a feeling that will not last forever.
Anxiety will always pass. It is not doing any permanent damage to your body, and your body will return to its normal state. It always has in the past and will again.
Many people have anxiety and severe panic symptoms. You are not the only one. You aren't alone in this.
Your body and mind are connected. If you can reassure your mind that you are not in danger, your body will become more calm, and the panic will decrease.
Be kind and supportive to yourself as you get through anxiety whenever it arises.
Anxiety and panic will not last forever. They cannot last forever. The experience of a panic attack is not going to hurt you, so whenever you notice symptoms of anxiety, know that the symptoms are not going to damage your body and that they will go away soon. Remember that panic attacks are not your fault. Remember that blindness does not take away from your ability to relax and to overcome panic. You can become skilled at relaxing...and familiar and comfortable with the feelings of relaxation.
Now we can move on to the physical awareness exercises.
Let’s take a few moments to become more aware of the sensations of relaxation. If these sensations are new to you, it may be unsettling or uncomfortable...maybe even a bit scary to allow yourself to relax. It’s okay. All you need to do is to become briefly aware of each sensation, and then move on. You don’t need to stay there with the feeling. Just briefly observe.
Soon you will be familiar with the sensations of relaxation so they won’t be scary anymore.
Remember that relaxation can be different for everyone. You may feel different sensations than these, and that is just fine. It is nothing to worry about, even if your body responds in a completely different way than what this script describes. Maybe your hands and feet do not feel warm...but your face does instead. That’s okay. Just notice the sensations that occur. You don’t need to try to change them in any way.
There are four main sensations become aware of. They are: warm hands and feet, a slow heartbeat, slow breathing, and loose, relaxed muscles. Each of these can be associated with relaxation, but remember, when you relax, you may not feel different at the time, and that is okay.
First, warm hands and feet. Become aware of your hands and feet. They may feel warm or cool...or somewhere in between. Just notice the temperature of your hands. What would it feel like if your hands and feet were warm? Could you imagine what it would feel like if your hands and feet were immersed in warm water?
Maybe it is hard to imagine a feeling of warmth...and that’s okay. Rub your hands together, and allow the friction to warm your palms up a little bit. Do you feel the warmth? When you notice a bit of warmth, you can go ahead and rest your hands in your lap or at your sides. Just become aware of the warmth you created in your hands. The physical awareness of warmth in your hands shows you what it feels like when your hands become warmer. And that is similar to what you might experience with relaxation. Notice that it is a subtle feeling...very slight...just a mild warmth. It is probably quite pleasant. Take a few seconds to become fully aware of what warmth in your hands feels like, and if you want to, you can also imagine a feeling of warmth in your feet and notice what it would feel like to have warm hands and feet.
Allow yourself to be aware of the temperature of your hands and feet. Notice...experience the awareness of this sensation...the act of noticing without trying to change anything...physical awareness with acceptance.
The next physical sensation to become aware of is your heartbeat. Be still...and see if you are able to become aware of your heart beating.
Do you have any awareness of your heart rate? Are you able to detect the beating of your heart? If you are not able to clearly feel your heartbeat, try placing your hand gently on your neck, just below your jawbone. Let all four fingers rest on your neck with your index finger against the bone of your jaw...very gently. You may feel a gentle pulsing beneath your fingers...allowing you to feel your heartbeat.
Simply observe your heartbeat...noticing what it is like to be aware of your heart beating. See if you are able to still be aware of your heartbeat after you move your hand so it is no longer touching your neck. Rest with your hands at your sides, and concentrate on the steady beating of your heart.
Imagine what it feels like when your heart is beating quickly, the way it would be after going up a flight of stairs. Think about how it feels after you do a strenuous physical activity and then you rest...the way it feels when your heartbeat gradually returns to normal. Imagine how this gradual slowing of your heart rate would feel. Encourage a physical awareness with observation...free from judgement. Just noticing and being aware.
Now, turn your awareness to your breathing. Observe each breath moving in and out of your body. Take notice of the feeling of the air you are taking in and and then breathing out. Imagine how it feels when you exert yourself, and your breathing quickens. Picture the feeling of resting after exercise, and the way it feels as your breathing rate returns to normal. Imagine how this slowing of your breathing feels. You may notice your breathing becoming slower now...or you may not notice any change at all...and that is okay. Simply be aware of your breathing...and be aware of what it may feel like for your breathing to become slower and more relaxed.
Now focus on the muscles of your body. You can simulate the feeling of relaxed muscles by using progressive muscle relaxation. This is where you tense a muscle group, and then let the tension go, proceeding progressively through various muscle groups. Let’s try one arm first. Starting with your left arm, tense the muscles by holding your hand in a tight fist and bending the elbow. Your entire arm should be rigid, with all the muscles contracted. Observe what tension feels like. Then release the tension and let your arm go limp. Notice if there are any differences in how your arm feels now, when you are not contracting the muscles, compared to how it felt a moment ago when the muscles were tense.
Now do the same with the right arm, but this time, pay particular attention to the feeling in the moment immediately after releasing the tension from the muscles. Go ahead and tense the muscles of your right arm. Hold for a moment...and then release...noticing how the tension leaves when you relax. Be aware of how it feels when tension leaves a muscle. Some people find that they feel a slight sinking or softening sensation in the muscle. Others may report a subtle tingly feeling, a feeling of lightness, or a feeling of heaviness. You may find that the muscles feel different in some way...or you may not notice a difference at all. Simply be aware of how it feels for muscles to relax.
You have now completed all four physical awareness exercises. There is one more exercise for you to do. Choose a sensation that you associate with relaxation...one that you would like to become more aware of or familiar with. Perhaps it is one of the sensations we have already covered, such as warm hands. Maybe it is a different sensation, such as a cool forehead or a warm abdomen. Take a few moments now to create the sensation in a different way. For example, you may want to place a cool cloth on your forehead and notice the sensation of cool. Or maybe you could place your hands in warm water to experience the sensation of warmth. You could place a hot water bottle gently against your abdomen to experience the feeling of your core warming and relaxing. Choose whatever sensation you like. Go ahead and pause this audio if you need a moment to get ready.
Focus your attention on the physical awareness of the sensation you are experiencing. Simply be aware...without trying to change anything...just noticing. Be with the sensation for a few moments.
Okay...you did it. Go ahead now, and turn your attention to whatever you choose to think about.
Take the next few seconds to end the exercise, stretch if you want to, and ensure you are fully awake and alert. When you are ready, the physical awareness exercise is complete.