We’re now well aware that fear is the main culprit of panic attacks. It creates confusion and leads us to think physical sensations mean impending doom. Fear of being involved in certain external activities also raises our adrenaline and creates panic attacks, so people condition themselves to avoid them at all costs. The circle of panic can occur on and off for days, weeks, months and, in my case, even years. People who suffer from panic attacks have consciously and subconsciously trained themselves to react this way and general levels of anxiety are constantly high,but is it possible to recondition yourself to react a DIFFERENT way during an oncoming panic attack? Of course, let’s look at the essential steps necessary when panic strikes:
Step 1) Allow – I cannot tell you how important this step is. Once you notice a sensation due to an event that is taking place, it’s important to ALLOW your dizziness to be there. Allow your heart to pound as hard as it would like, and allow any type of sensation to just be without adding more adrenaline that takes place due to the reaction of FEAR. Allowing is done through building on the facts about panic attacks (that no one has ever died from a panic attack before) and the fact that in your own past you have been through this before, and just like in the past, all panic attacks subside eventually.
Step 2) Apply ‘Focused Distraction’ – Immediately find something that is physical and that challenges you. Remember something like darts or golf, although considered somewhat physical, don’t help you the way a brisk walk or a bike ride does in this situation. After that, set either a timed, distance, height, or speed type of challenge depending on the physical activity. At this point, you have allowed and surrendered to what you fear most. Hold that white flag up and don’t add to it! I can tell you from experience that ‘focused distraction’ is very difficult to apply the first few times, because this goes a completely opposite direction than what you are currently conditioned to do which is battle back, become stationary, and look for help! Take a medium to fast paced walk and do not stop until feelings subside, which they will (they always do don’t they?). I loved taking walks (not as much during panic attacks of course) and during feelings of panic it was my greatest relief, and of course it challenges you because you are going a different route than before!
Step 3) Let the Storm Pass – The last necessary part to the three steps to be taken during panic attacks is letting the time go by without keeping track of it. Just as a storm that passes and eventually subsides, so will your anxiety, so let it pass through you. Storms build up slowly, become big grey clouds, and eventually hit a peak and stop before the sun comes out again. Have this image in your head as you get to step three, and make these steps a routine whenever you feel things are getting out of control, apply them each time.
When these three steps are applied over and over, your mental ‘car alarm’ doesn’t go off because of a strong wind, for example. There starts to be less sensitivity in the tripwire of your ‘car’, and the panic feeling starts to go further and further down. When it comes to panic attacks, there is only one key factor that separates the sufferers who completely eliminate panic attacks, and those who continue to experience them. The key ingredient is not medication, nor is it really lifestyle changes; it is the exact point when a person no longer fears the thought of having a panic attack. Make sure that you CLEARLY understand this, and run these three steps religiously until it is automatic.
Fridays are dedicated to filling my followers with valuable information on Panic Attacks and our built in Fight Or Flight Responses. By applying this knowledge consistently you will be well on your way to overcoming your panic attacks naturally and quickly.