DON'T FIGHT PANIC
Resisting or fighting initial panic symptoms is likely to make
them worse. It's important to avoid tensing up
in reaction to panic symptoms or typing to "make" them go
away by suppressing them or gritting your teeth. Although it's
important to act rather than be passive, you still
shouldn't fight your panic. Claire Weekes, in her books
Hope and Help for Your Nerves and Peace from Nervous Suffering,
describes a four-step approach for coping with panic:
Face the symptoms--don't run from them.
Attempting to suppress or run away from the early symptoms of
panic is a way of telling yourself that you can't handle a
particular situation. In most cases, this will only create
more panic. A more constructive attitude to cultivate
is one that says, "O.K., here it is again. I can
allow my body to go through its reactions and handle this.
I've done it before."
Accept what your body is doing--don't fight against it.
When you try to fight panic, you simply tense up against it,
which only makes you more anxious Adopting just the opposite
attitude, one of letting go and allowing your body to have
its reactions will enable you to move through panic much
more quickly and easily. The key is to be able to watch or
observe your body's state of physiological arousal--no matter
how unusual or uncomfortable it feels--without reacting to
it with further fear or anxiety.
Float with the "wave" of a panic attack rather than forcing
your way through it.
Claire Weekes makes a distinction between first fear and second feat.
First fear consists of the physiological reactions underlying
panic; second fear is making yourself afraid of these reactions
by saying scary things to yourself like, "I can't handle this!"
"I've got to get out of here right now!" "What if other
people see this happening to me!" While you can't do much about
first fear, you can eliminate second fear by learning to "flow
with" the rising and falling of your body's state of arousal
rather than fighting or reacting fearfully to it.
Allow time to pass
Panic is caused by a sudden surge of adrenaline.
If you can allow, and float with, the bodily reactions
caused by this surge, much of this adrenaline will metabolize
and be reabsorbed in three to five minutes. As soon as
this happens, you'll start to feel better. Panic attacks
are time limited. In most cases, panic will peak and begin
to subside within only a few minutes. It is most likely to pass
quickly if you don't aggravate it by fighting against it or reacting
to it with even more fear.