Panic is fueled by misuse of the imagination, so learn to use your imagination productively.
Below is a Guide to helping yourself through a Panic Attack: All you have to do is stop the emergency message from being sent to your adrenal glands. Learn these four simple steps and your panic attack will only last a few minutes.
The Four Steps:
- Stop Negative Thinking.
- Use Coping Statements.
- Accept Your Feelings.
Step 1. Relax. Relax by taking slow, deep, complete breaths. Calm yourself by remembering that you are only having a panic attack and that nothing more serious is happening to you. Continue to take slow, deep, complete breaths. Slow, deep, complete breaths will relax your body, which is the first step to reversing the release of adrenaline.
Step 2. Stop Negative Thinking. Stop negative thinking by shouting the word “STOP!!!” really loud inside your head. By shouting the word “STOP” you are interrupting the emergency message that your brain is sending to your adrenal glands. Often people having a panic attack get into an endless loop repeating the same catastrophic thoughts over and over in their head. Interrupting this endless loop gives you the opportunity to replace the scary message with a calming one.
Step 3. Use Coping Statements. A coping statement is a positive statement that is at least as strong as the catastrophic statement that you have been scaring yourself with. Replace the negative thought with a positive one. Choose a statement that addresses the negative thought.
For example, if you think that you are having a heart attack (a common fear during a panic attack) then you might be saying something in your head like, “Oh my God, I’m having a heart attack” or, “I’m gonna die!” After you shout the word “STOP!” immediately replace the fear thought with a positive statement that helps you to cope with the situation, such as “I’m only having a panic attack and it will be over in ta few minutes if I relax” or, “My fear is making my heart pound harder, my heart is fine.”
Other coping statements might be, “I’ve gotten through this situation many times before and I can get through it again” or, “I am fine, everything is fine.”
Step 4. Accept Your Feelings. Accepting your feelings is very important. Minimizing this experience usually serves to perpetuate it.
Start by identifying what emotion you are feeling. Most panic attacks are caused by the emotion of fear or some variation of fear. Identify the emotion you are feeling and find the reason that you feel it.
Fear is a positive emotion that reminds you to take care of yourself. Listen to your feelings, take good care of yourself, and keep your emotions in proportion to the situation by keeping an appropriate perspective.