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Panic attacks

Response - Coping Stragegies

Calm your breathing
Quiet your thoughts - but don’t make it a demand. Adding a demand adds to an already stressful situation.
Deep Breathing - Paper bags can help
N.B. These are coping strategies not solutions.

If these coping strategies aren't working, TRY:

If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.
The way to win is to change one’s attitude to the panic and to reframe one’s thinking.
Panic attacks and general anxiety have no relationship to the level of courage an individual has. In fact it has nothing to do with the world out there, - it is a
problem born out of an internal crisis.

8 attitudes of Recovery

Healing attitudes

I am not ashamed - Feeling shame compounds the stress. There is no shame in feeling stressed. It's when I'm doing lots and often too much that I feel stressed and panicked. There's no shame in that is there? If I did nothing, there would be no stress and that's more shameful in my mind. Let go of the shame. There is nothing to be ashamed about and shame serves no purpose.
It’s ok to be anxious here
What can I learn as a student of panic
I want to face the symptoms and gain skills
I won’t guard myself against anxiety
This is practice
I can tolerate uncertainty
It’s ok if it doesn’t work.
It’s not complex, just hard
You are trying to get yourself to trust in a system/protocol that seems to counter your intuition.
Severity of symptoms or time suffering is not correlated with progress.
Experience is the greatest teacher.
In the way a vaccine works, small doses builds immunity.

Don’t fight it

Often we are anxious with good reason because a situation is stressful and causing us anxiety. It’s important to acknowledge that and accept that. Tell yourself that it’s ok that you’re anxious. Say out loud or write down:
‘It’s ok that I’m anxious’
This will reduce the anxiety.
If you try to contain panic, it grows.

Pink elephant syndrome

The harder you try not to think about it, the more upset you become. It is like telling someone
'Whatever happens do not think of a pink elephant'.
It’s all you can think about.
So it would make sense not to force the thoughts away and this has been proven to be effective.
The thoughts won’t fully go away but if you change the way you react to them it doesn’t matter if you have them or not
It’s your reaction that defines the whole experience.
If you are an outdoor person try thinking of the thoughts like clouds passing in the sky. If you are an indoor type of person you might try imagining a large cinema screen and the anxious thoughts are projected out onto the screen in front of you. Play around with this approach. Find what works for you.
Talk to panic
Give your mind simple commands. The mind can’t think about much when it is panicking. It has to be simple. It’s hard to quiet yourself in a hot moment of panic.
Say to yourself something that overrides your instinct for your brain to back off
Don’t resist
The saying "what you resist persists." Well that saying applies perfectly to fear.
If you resist a situation out of fear, the fear around that issue will persist.


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