Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5 Things To Help Overcome Panic & Anxiety

I’m going to be flat out honest with you all. Over the past two years of my life I have struggled with panic and anxiety, most commonly in the form of panic attacks. At first they were always triggered by something in particular, such as an upcoming obligation or an existing challenge. But eventually, they no longer needed a concrete or recognizable trigger, they just needed me to remember how intense they could be.

Panic and anxiety, through my experience (and like so many other challenges in life) survive and thrive off of the power of thought and the creation of fear. When others would ask me to describe what being in a panic attack felt like, I would usually say that it was a state of rampant thought, where the mind and body have an incredibly difficult time relaxing. When engaged, focusing on anything else can at times be borderline impossible and it often feels as if this experience will last forever.

Even when the panic has subsided, life can feel as if it has less colour, because lingering beneath each experience is the feeling of a potential panic attack just waiting to happen. I’m sure that everyone’s experience of anxiety and panic are different from one another but here are 5 simple tips/ reminders that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in moving beyond panic and anxiety.

SIDE NOTE: Am I fully beyond them? No, in fact even writing about this subject tried to serve as a little trigger, but these reminders have all helped me to empower myself and prevent the mind from consistently taking me on a full-blown roller coaster ride of panic.

1. No matter how intense it can be, it always has an end.

As I mentioned earlier, when fully engaged a panic attack can often feel like it’s going to last forever. The truth is, in my experience and in the experience of talking to several others, it can’t… your body simply wouldn’t allow it. The actual panic itself is often very short lived, it’s the reaction to it that we have a tendency to let linger. Remind yourself that what you resist, persists. Why? Because you’re communicating with it that you still have something to gain and fully go through by it being there. What you accept, takes its course, finds its limit and moves on. By accepting the panic’s existence you allow it to become as big as it can (which often isn’t as big as our fear of it tends to make us feel that it will be), it sees how limited its power is -in a body emanating acceptance of the experience -and it begins to pass.

2. Make friends with your mind, rather than make it into a villain.

When most people are asked to point out where their panic originates, they are often quick to blame their mind. As a result of this, we may have a tendency to vilify our mind into something to fear and even more so into something that we are losing control over. The truth is, we are always in control, and the best way to step into that power when experiencing panic or anxiety is to make friends with your mind. Realize that it is only playing a role and creating these thoughts to help you face panic/ anxiety head on. Remind yourself that this is the same mind that has helped you be creative, get excited, problem solve and do so many other great things in the past, so why not be friends with it now to?

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