My experience with a solar plexus imbalance - panic attacks and anger - and how I restored balance
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
It was during a time of transition, moving from Australia to Singapore, that I started to have panic attacks on flights. This had never happened to me before and I hated the feeling of not being in control; I was not scared of flying, but every time I got on a plane it would happen, therefore I wanted to know why. Something had triggered the attacks and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life taking prescription drugs in order to get on a flight, so I spoke with a friend who suggested Reiki might be able to help me.
I booked in for the three recommended Reiki treatments, and after a discussion with my practitioner and some necessary introspection, I knew I needed to find out why this anxiety came into my life and I understood that my solar plexus would be the centre of my healing journey.
I understood that my solar plexus would be the centre of my healing journey.
I decided to join a Reiki 1 workshop, and from that point knew I had discovered a tool to help me heal. During my healing I didn’t just fix the panic attacks, I uncovered other issues relating to my solar plexus energy centre that needed my attention.
Both anatomically and energetically the solar plexus is located in a vital position.
The solar plexus starts in the centre of the belly button and extends up to the breastbone, or where your ribs connect in the centre of your chest. It is where two bundles of nerves (or ganglion) collect, they intertwine, and pass each other at a central location in the abdomen. The solar plexus gets its name from its resemblance to the sun: where the nerves meet in the centre, rays of nerves then radiate outward to other areas of the body.
Energetically the solar plexus (also known as Manipura chakra in Sanskrit - translated as “city of jewels”), is the centre of our personal power, where you can physically feel confidence and wisdom. It is connected to the digestive system and the adrenal glands. This chakra regulates our fears, sense of power, and gut feelings, and therefore when this chakra is out of balance we can experience fears, eating disorders, anxiety, and desire to control. I knew that panic attacks could be related to other chakras - namely the root and the 3rd eye - but after learning more about the Manipura energy centre, I felt this was my best starting point. I learnt that one of the most important functions of the adrenal glands is to initiate the “fight-or-flight” response: when a person is stressed or frightened, the adrenal glands release a flood of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase the heart rate, elevate blood pressure, boost energy supplies, sharpen concentration, and slow down other bodily processes so we can run or fight. When you are stuck on a plane, there is nowhere to run and no one to fight, but my adrenal glands would kick in and all my energy would be diverted away from my core and rush to my extremities, putting me in panic mode. Over time the attacks seeped into my everyday life: not just on planes, but on the way to the airport, in elevators, and I even had one in a job interview. So I took the time to do my reiki self-healing, and to bring my attention to the solar plexus. I regularly did the chakra balancing treatment (which you’ll know all about if you have completed a Reiki 1 workshop with me), and after completing a meditation course about resilience, I introduced these techniques into my practice as well, actioning the points below. During my self treatments other aspects of my solar plexus imbalance began to arise, and as you may have learnt from my other blog posts, every chakra’s position relates to a physical area of the body, and the organs around it. So as I meditated doing my Reiki, realisations would occur, and information I knew already, but chose to ignore, would push itself forth.
My cycle of behaviour
It's not an excuse - or maybe it is - but the expat lifestyle in Singapore meant there was a fair amount of socialising, therefore my patterns of behaviour since being a teenager, to working in advertising, to family gatherings (which had all involved fairly heavy drinking), resurfaced … and I never seemed to have a stop button. Over time I have managed to listen to my inner voice and significantly reduce my drinking, normally stopping after one or two. And even after a little slip-up (like our first week in isolation), I don’t beat myself up about it as I know I will not return to my old ways: as Usui would say, “just for today, I will not worry and I will not anger”. The last imbalance I realised related to this energy centre, came up when completing an exercise during my Reiki 1 training. We wrote out a “snapshot” of life right now using an “iceberg” analogy, with the “tip” being any physical manifestation of an imbalance (such as a physical ailment, emotional blockage, issue or unease), then through Reiki and other practices, we can listen deeply to discover what's lurking under the iceberg, i.e. the root cause(s). I wrote down everything that was out of balance in my life - that which I wanted to shift and change - and I always do this exercise (and share my personal example) with the students I take through Reiki 1, as I think it’s a wonderful way to dig deeper, and realise how far you can come. With that being said, what surfaced for me during this exercise, was my tendency to procrastinate and lack focus. At this time I was spinning a lot of plates: I was running my own business selling sustainable merchandise, whilst busy being a wife and a mum. I think I was permanently on edge with too much going on at once, as I never knew which task to complete or prioritise, and was never able to get one done and get on to the next. I always had (and still to this day), a never-ending list of lists. Over time, by working on my solar plexus, I worked on my panic, my anger, AND my focus. I utilised the strength of this chakra, working on my self-discipline, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect - wholly taking care of myself. The following list is a compilation of techniques I have tried, that may help solve a solar plexus imbalance and its physical manifestations:
Spend some time in the sun: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet, which are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), the less vitamin D you have in your life, the more prone you are to issues such as anxiety and depression.
Put lemon juice in your water: It helps to repair the liver, plus the gallbladder likes it too.
Wear yellow (luckily my favourite colour)
Decorate your room or office with yellow: The colour symbolises energy, intellect and also the relationship a person has with Fire and Sun.
Exercise and/or do sport: Build your personal power through aerobic exercise, which releases endorphins and dopamine, but do not push yourself to the extreme (particularly if you are older and/or live in a hot climate) - dancing, yoga, martial arts, or walking, are all great ways to get in touch with your body and help to release fear and anger.
Meditate in the presence of fire: Light a candle or stoke a fire in the fireplace, using it to connect to your inner awareness.
Twisting Yoga poses: Twisting postures help us digest food and life, squeezing the internal organs, which helps let go of stuck emotions and create room for new information.
Breathing Technique: Kapalabhati (Breath of Fire): Increases the health of the organs in the navel, and charges all the chakras by moving energy through the body.
Chanting RAM in the navel during your yoga practice and/or mediations: Chanting the Bija Mantra, RAM, you are calling upon your solar plexus chakra to open and be free... to shine like the sun.
Getting organised: The strategy that worked best for me is the “5 task rule”. Everyday I start a fresh list with my 5 - 10 priorities (some days I even allocate them a certain amount of time), and then I set to work. This has gone a long way to helping minimise my procrastination and help me remain focused.
Essential Oils: Use scents such as rosemary or lavender.
Crystals: Citrine is a crystal that can be carried with you, placed beside you at your desk, or placed on the chakra during meditation. Other yellow crystals can be used if you don’t have citrine. As we say in holistic healing, the path to getting better is not straightforward, it is unpredictable, unexpected, and individual. Along the way we can discover more “items” to add to our list, and some may shift quickly, while others take longer. It took me around 4 years to take a flight without mainstream medicinal help. One day I arrived at the airport and told myself, “go ahead, have the biggest panic attack ever - no one has ever died of a panic attack” (well not that I had read about). So I did my Reiki and on that day I flicked the switch back, and have been able to fly drug free ever since.
Go ahead, have the biggest panic attack ever - no one has ever died of a panic attack”
My anger issues have abated - of course I still have my “mummy moments”, but they are a fraction of what they used to be. And yes, I still have days when my procrastination takes over, but it’s a far cry from where I started. Now I truly understand the importance of my manipura chakra, and through harnessing its power to my benefit, I am motivated, I invest time and energy in my spiritual well-being, and most importantly, I have found joy and purpose in what I do.
Please reach out if you'd identify with my patterns and want to make some changes in your life. firstname.lastname@example.org