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“S.A.I.L.” | A Powerful in the Moment Anxiety-Busting Technique

Major Depressive Disorder

Powerful relief and healing techniques loom large – in-the-moment – when you’re dealing with major depressive disorder, panic attack symptoms, PTSD, and more. So often it’s about our thinking, and how we react, in kind. Here’s a nice technique to help you bust that anxiety…

Come on, say it  – “S.A.I.L.”…“S.A.I.L.”…“S.A.I.L.” And feel – visualize – the fresh and gentle breezes blowing upon your skin.

Ready to set off? Anchor up…

And as you hit pause, take several calming abdominal breaths. You can do that very discretely, as the spotlight is not on you (though you’re convinced it is). Just take your time, gaining some physical, mental, and emotional stability and perspective.

The S.A.I.L. Set-Up 

So let’s set the scene. You’re going out to dinner with a friend. Lord knows you didn’t want to; however, you – the one who can’t say “no” – caved-in.

Well, the event’s at hand; and you find yourself on the threshold of being trapped in one of your most uncomfortable and vulnerable positions – seated at a table for two, smack-dab in the middle of the main dining room of a tony restaurant. If the setting alone isn’t spooky enough, you have a history of becoming horribly anxious when eating in front of people.

Shortly after you’re seated, and have downed the first of several martinis, you begin to feel super-edgy. You’re becoming squirmy in your chair, and you’re convinced all eyes are now focused upon you. “Dang,” you say to yourself, “I can’t take just sitting here until the martinis kick-in. And going back and forth to the restroom’s gonna’ look kinda’ weird.”

And wouldn’t you just know it – after about five long minutes of this self-abuse, you begin to sense the presence of a panic attack as it approaches your table on a serving cart.

S.A.I.L | Anxiety-Busting in Action

Okay, right at this very moment – stop everything. Now, slowly take a few subtle and calming abdominal breaths and begin whispering to yourself…

“S.A.I.L.”…“S.A.I.L.”…“S.A.I.L.”

Yes, say it to yourself as you begin to feel those warm and fresh breezes of relief upon your skin – the ones you felt just a bit ago as you were saying it in a more immediately secure environment.

And here’s the magic…

  • STOP everything in your life right now: As you hit the pause button, take several abdominal breaths. You can do that very discretely, as the spotlight is not on you (though you’re convinced it is). Take your time, gaining some physical, mental, and emotional stability and perspective. Just stay cool, buying time as the correct assessment of the situation reaches the rational headquarters of your brain. There’s no hurry – you’ll be just fine.
  • ASSESS what’s going-on inside and outside of you: Calmly assess the exact nature of what’s going-on. All you need do is investigate what’s tripped the alarm. Ask yourself if you’re thinking about a panic attack you may have had the last time you were, say, in a restaurant; or do you see a server coming toward you juggling a flaming dish after being tripped by the woman at the table next to you. Just take the time to get an accurate fix as to what’s going-on.
  • INTERPRET if the situation is truly threatening and merits alarm: Is there a true threat at hand? What a great time to remind yourself of your traditional patterns of misinterpretation and overreaction. If the situation has anything to do with a past panic attack, you’re now equipped to simply tell yourself the sensations you’re experiencing need not lead to anything more than yet another confidence builder. But if the tripped server is about to present you with a flaming-hot meal, I would think some avoidance behavior may be indicated.
  • LOGIC your way to the correct response: Very deliberately logic your way to an action plan based upon accurate assessment and interpretation. Call upon past panic-defusing successes, guided imagery, breathing and relaxation techniques – anything you may have picked up that may assist you. But most of all, keep your mental and emotional edge, as you remain confident in your authority and ability to make the situation what you’d like it to be – prohibiting it from defining you.

Can you see how neat and effective this little acronym and technique can be? Now, it may take some time before it becomes second-nature; however, just knowing it exists, and is there to support you, will bring immediate comfort.

S.A.I.L on Sailor!

Managing panic attack symptoms, major depressive disorder, PTSD, and other emotional/mental woes calls for creative action. I think S.A.I.L. is a wonderfully powerful in-the-moment technique. I mean, there’s no way I could have come up with it had I not used it.

So the next time the wolf comes knocking at your door – “S.A.I.L.”…”S.A.I.L”.…”S.A.I.L.” your way to all kinds of confidence and calm. And simply – move on…

Hey, and while you’re at it, sail your way to 600+ Chipur titles! Yes?

  • Good information here, Bill to “S.A.I.L.”…”S.A.I.L”.…”S.A.I.L.” your way to all kinds of confidence and calm. I can see where it would be handy to have a shortened version of those four tips in your wallet or somewhere close if you are inclined to have panic attacks. I find it helpful to take large belly breaths. It helps me when I’m feeling restless or can’t sleep. Thanks for the information. Always helpful.

    • Hey, Ms. Cathy, thank you for your visit and contribution. Your sharing your “large belly breaths” technique is helpful here. I mean, the more input available for readers, the better. THESE TECHNIQUES WORK! They’re grounded in our anatomy and physiology – so they have to. No doubt, having the S.A.I.L. card handy in our back pocket is huge.

      Please come back…

      Bill

  • Patricia Miller

    I love it! You are right that I can”See myself using this successfully” because it is natural and simple enough I can practice and utilize in those panic moments. Thank you so much. This gives me some peace and another needed tool.

    • It’s all about those “tools,” isn’t it, Patricia?! Good point, it’s about practice, as well. So many times a client will tell me a technique didn’t work well for them the first time or two they tried it. Well, of course. The symptoms have been around for such a long time. Takes a good bit of practice to get things down. Is that surprising?

      Hey! Thank you for your faithful visits and contributions, Patricia…

      Bill

      • Patricia Miller

        I had a chance to SAIL through a panic episode today in a meeting. I felt it coming on, and had been practicing my SAIL steps in the car while driving this morning; I realized this would be at the very least a good demo opportunity. I didn’t expect brilliant success because the first time isn’t usually a home run. I am so glad to report that this worked well for me. Frankly, your image of the sailboat, and the simple acrostic, both worked well for me. So sweet to have some relief this afternoon. Thank you!

      • Well, hey hey! Glad it worked for you, and thanks for sharing with us, Patricia. Readers need to know this stuff works…

        Bill