In the first part of this mini series, “Why am I having a panic attack?“, we discussed the basic science behind why an attack takes place, and the effects that take place in your body.
In the second part “What causes the mind to jump to conclusions?“ we discussed how a person can go from having one minor panic attack, to becoming house-bound and racked with fear.
In this final part, we’ll be discussing some of the simple steps you take to get back control of your life by beating the gremlins that are causing the fear.
One of the most important things to remember, is that trying to avoid the onset of a panic attack, will only cause it to happen more frequently, or leave you with a life that is so restrictive that it isn’t really a life any more.
By trying to avoid it, your mind is constantly worrying about whether your current situation is likely to be dangerous. Rather than enjoying the fact that you’re in beautiful surroundings with people you love having a great time, your sub-conscious is constantly flicking through your memory banks, vigorously searching to make sure that this situation doesn’t compare to any situation you’ve been in previously that resulted in a panic attack, or time of likely danger.
Because you’re so keen to avoid these situations, your mind develops links to things that really, don’t have any connection, causing you to become anxious, then fearful of another attack, so you leave the area and put another item in the ‘things to avoid’ column of your existence.
The way past this, is to accept that you may be in a situation that could have proved dangerous previously, and then identify why this situation is not longer a threat to you.
One of the quickest ways to do this is to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen in this current situation?”
By trying to find the worst case scenario in a situation, it allows you to see it in a rational light, rather that one that’s clouded by unconscious fear.
If this doesn’t work as well as you expected and you begin to feel the initial symptoms of a panic attack, as I mentioned more fully in the post ‘Symptoms of an Anxiety (Panic) Attack’, there are many ways to control the symptoms;
Try to relax –
Although it almost seems impossible to relax during an attack, it’s crucial that you don’t submit yourself to your emotions. Breathe slowly and deeply. You’ll find it helps calm you down and relaxes your mind and body. It’ll also distract your attention from the attack, which helps you recover faster.
Think positively –
It’s important to stay focused and calm yourself; you have to be in control. Keep reminding yourself, speaking out-loud if it helps, that thousands, or possibly millions of people do this thing your scared of, and never come to any harm.
Negative thoughts feed the panic. The trigger only starts the attack, it’s your fear of the symptoms that help it build in strength. By positively taking control over your fear and reminding yourself that no one ever died from a panic attack, you’ll overcome it
Remember that it’ll be over soon – and it will. Anxiety attacks don’t generally last very long, so there’s no reason to feel like your world is over.
It’d be great to hear your panic beating experiences. Share your knowledge and help others be just as successful.