"I'm freaked out; what do I do?"
Because the same question is asked so often, here's a rundown of the techniques I have used successfully since 2003.
My No. 1 immediate go-to now is the Reverse Ratio Breathing I learned from Robert Sapolsky in his Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, and for which he credits Joseph Wolpe's work from the 1950s. Often, btw, I do RRB while I go for a walk away from the site where I was triggered.
But I also remember that The Feeling is Always Temporary, and use the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing... as well as Benson's Relaxation Response in general, and the Go Limp Drop Drill (a very fast form of progressive muscle relaxation, mostly involving the neck, shoulders, facial and jaw muscles developed from Patricia Ogden's and Stephen Porges's work) in particular.
Lately, btw, I have been using an ancient yoga pose that is strongly supported by Ogden's and Porge's discoveries: I lay on the floor on my back and slowly bring my outstretched legs up over my body until my toes touch the floor "above" my head. It stretches the back muscles that get compressed under stress, which feeds back to the brain as per Porges's "polyvagal theory."
Beyond that, I continue to stay in touch with the "distress tolerance" and "emotion regulation" skills I learned from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and the "mind-body bridging" technique I acquired from Mind-Body Bridging Therapy.
Treat Autonomic And Cognitive Conditions in Psychopathology?
References & Resources
Benson, H.: The Relaxation Response, New York: Morrow, 1975. (Early MBSR)
Block, S.; Block, C.: Come to Your Senses: Demystifying the Mind-Body Connection, New York: Atria Books / Beyond Words (Simon & Schuster) 2005, 2007. (MBBT)
Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2010. (MBBT)
Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for Stress, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2012. (MBBT)
Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for Anxiety: Effective Tools for Overcoming Panic, Fear & Worry, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2014. (MBBT)
Chapman, A.; Gratz, K.; Tull, M.: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Anxiety: Breaking Free from Worry, Panic, PTSD & Other Anxiety Symptoms, Oakland CA: New Harbinger, 2011. (DBT)
Chapman, A.; Gratz, K.; Tull, M.: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Anger: Using DBT Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Skills to Manage Anger, Oakland CA: New Harbinger, 2015. (DBT)
Knaus, W.: The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2008. (CBT)
Marra, T.: Depressed & Anxious: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Depression & Anxiety, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2004. (DBT)
McKay, M.; Wood, J.; Brantley, J.: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2007. (DBT)
McKay, M.; Fanning, P.; Ona, P. Z.: Mind and Emotions: A Universal Treatment for Emotional Disorders, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2011. (all of the above)
Ogden, P.; Fisher, J.: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment, New York: W. W. Norton, 2015. (SP4T)
Pederson, L.; Pederson, C. S.: The Expanded Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Manual, Eau Claire WI: Premier Publishing, 2012. (DBT)
Porges, S.: The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation, New York: W. W. Norton, 2011. (SP4T)
Sapolsky, R.: Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases and Coping, 3rd Ed., New York: Holt, 2004. (MBSR)
Stahl, B.; Goldstein, E.: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Oakland CA: New Harbinger, 2010. (MBSR)
Van Dijk, S.: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder: Using DBT to Regain Control of Your Emotions and Your Life, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2009. (DBT)
Van Dijk, S.: Calming the Emotional Storm, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2012. (DBT, ACT, MBCT)
Van Dijk, S.: DBT Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide to Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2013. (DBT)
Wolpe, J.: Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition, Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1958. (Early MBSR)