Anxiety Support
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Help with “floating”

Hey everyone,

So I’ve been reading Dr Weekes book self help for your nerves. I can’t get or grasp how to “float” through the panic or anxious feelings. It’s like I fee a bit of anxious and i just tense up and it passes but the feeling pops up and gets stronger the next time it comes. How do you learn to just accept the discomfort and anxious feelings

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Floating is a state of mind, it is like switching onto 'automatic pilot' and continuing to walk, talk and work by imagining yourself just drifting along unopposed. You're still going to feel panic or anxiety, that's not going to lift today, but you can live in peaceful co-existance with the bad feelings whilst you 'Let time pass' which is the last stage leading to recovery.

So just drift along like a cloud floating down the street, round the store, round the park, round where you work.

Say: "I feel panicky and anxious, so what. I'm still going to get on with stuff,why not? I can live with this bad feeling, I don't like it, but I will accept it, sure I will. I will learn to live with it for the moment because by learning to live with it I will soon be able to live without it. So come along Anxiety we're going for a walk, I've got shopping to do, work to finish, hurry up if you're coming, I don't care whether you come or not I'm floating off to the Tesco Superstore and I'm not sitting around here for you!"

If you're going to feel bad anyway, you can still make yourself useful rather than just lying around doing nothing. You can do it by Floating - the eventual cure for that sinking feeling☺

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I guess it’s just going to take time. I’m trying not to take any of my Xanax when I fee panicky. And just 15 mins away I was feeding my son and I felt a tingling sensation and kind of shocking sensation on my left side of my chest area and then it went into my bicep. First thought was oh crap it’s starting again and maybe this time it’s my heart but I said no I’m just gonna continue feeding my son he got done and it came again and then I had to run to the restroom. But I still continued taking care of my kids even though I just wanted to run to the hospital and still do. I felt like my pulse was racing but it was only 68 and my blood pressure was 122/65.

I’m just tired of this and maybe I need to use the Xanax until I master the floating but I guess I think the Xanax acts like the floating bc it takes it away

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Alicair, regarding your last line, Xanax which I think is a quick acting tranquilliser like valium/diazepam, will take away the bad feelings instantly but acceptance and floating definitely won't take them away instantly, they are longer term solutions but they have the advantage of bringing recovery not just instant relief for the short term. The fourth part of Weekes' teachings is of course 'Let time pass'.

One answer might be to practice acceptance and floating when you have the symptoms of anxiety - but in some circumstances where you feel overwhelmed to take a Xanax. Some people might say that's a cop out - but if you've got a presentation to make and your job depends on it I would think it justified. Eventually as you grow more comfortable with acceptance/floating/Letting time pass the need to take the xanax will reduce and eventually they will become redundant.

It's interesting you say you felt your pulse was racing but it was only 68 which is very healthy - I think lots of people who feel palpitations are only suddenly aware of their heart beating even though it's at quite a normal rate. And your blood pressure is classic normal.

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It’s weird bc every time I have a funny feeling in my heart my go to is to check my pulse and blood pressure bc my thinking is if either is out of the normal then there might be a problem.

But your idea of taking a Xanax but also practicing the floating and letting time pass is a good idea bc my counselor has always told me to not run from my anxiety but work through it so my body learns it’s nothing to worry about. So if practicing the floating while getting the instant relief of the Xanax helps my mind to see that the floating is working then slowly over time stop using the Xanax. It should hopefully work. Thank you !!

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I was going to recommend she talk to you Jeff. I need to read her books.

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Awesome description Jeff! I almost want to get anxious so I can try it! Anxiety is my normal. I’m so used to it that unless I’m in panic mode I don’t even pay attention to it. I guess that’s kind of like floating.

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She offered a few techniques on how to float. I find the pool method is easiest to do. Just imagine you’re footing in a pool. Floating around past all the worry, anxiety, etc. I’ve found the dare method in combination helps. Imagine waves up and down. As you float you may be in the wave or over it. You’re just always floating. Prep yourself up for it. Get some of the good tingly I can beat this feeling going. You just have to practice each time. Eventually it gets easier and easier.

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Hi Aliciar,

I found a great (rather long) explanation from Dr David Carbonell, Ph.D. @ Anxiety Coach®

anxietycoach.com/claire-wee...

"Here's how I understand it.

How Do You Swim?

It's complicated. You have to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and head to propel yourself through the water. You also have to breathe without taking in large quantities of water. And you have to keep going in the right direction, even when water gets in your eyes.

If you're like most people, it took a lot of practice to learn to swim, because there are so many things you have to make happen, and so many techniques to master.

How Do You Float?

You don't really have to learn to float. A block of wood can float, and so can a person. What you might have to learn is how to not get in your own way, how to simply let floating happen.

The block of wood doesn't have to make it happen, it just floats, as long as it's in water. People will float too, if they just lay down on the water.

But people, unlike blocks of wood, often find it hard to let go and trust in their body's natural ability to float. Their mistrust and apprehension will lead them to "do things" to try and stay afloat.

That's not floating, that's sinking! To teach someone to float, you might have to give them a few instructions - lay back, lay your head on the water, lay your arms and legs out, lie still - but the most important part of the "technique" of floating is...do nothing, let go, and let time pass.

Float versus Swim

When anxious clients come to me for help in dealing with anxiety, they usually expect that I will offer them the swimming kind of help: lots of specific ways for coping with anxiety, and many techniques to keep them "afloat".

But what they really need is more the floating kind of help. They need to learn to let go, rather than to make something happen, or prevent something from happening. That's the surest path to anxiety relief.

What did Claire Weekes Mean by "Floating"?

First and foremost, she meant to convey the opposite of fighting. The way to regain a sense of calm is to go along with the sensations of anxiety and panic, rather than oppose them.

She described floating as "masterly inactivity", and said this meant:

to stop holding tensely onto yourself, trying to control your fear, trying 'to do something about it' while subjecting yourself to constant self-analysis.

That's a tough sell! Claire Weekes knew that, of course, and wrote:

The average person, tense with battling, has an innate aversion to letting go. He vaguely thinks that were he to do this, he would lose control over the last vestige of his will power and his house of cards would tumble.

Claire Weekes Knew it was a Trick

The aversion Claire Weekes referred to is the result of the Panic Trick. It's the idea that a person is just barely holding himself together, and that if he relaxes his grip even a little, he will fall apart. In fact, it's his struggling to keep a grip that maintains the anxiety!

What I like best about the notion of floating is that it avoids two common misunderstandings about overcoming anxiety. The first one is the idea that you have to struggle against anxiety, fight it, and overcome it. And the second, related to the first, is that you have to arm yourself with all kinds of techniques and objects in order to enter the fray and confront anxiety.

In reality, you'll make much better progress when you let yourself float through the anxiety, not striving to overcome anything, not struggling to employ techniques, but simply allowing the sensations to pass over time.

The best kind of help, in my opinion, is the floating kind. It's help that assists you to rediscover your own natural abilities to cope with whatever comes, rather than arming you against potential adversity. "

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Thank you for this... I guess with anything it will just take time and practice. I have trust issues and learning that I have control issues so letting go and just allowing the anxiety to come goes against everything in me. But I’m going to start practicing floating hopefully in time that will help

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Wow. That was very good articulation. I need to try her books but feel like I want to try floating next time I get anxious. Thanks blackcat!

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