Most people’s experience of panic attacks is that they are all consuming. On one level, you know that you are having one, yet you can’t stop yourself. You know that the huge emotions will pass at some stage, but it doesn’t feel like that – at the time it feels like you are completely out of control. People around you do their best to calm you down but most people have no idea how to handle someone who is in the middle of an attack. And the last thing you want to hear is anyone telling you to ‘relax’ or ‘it’s all ok’ or ‘pull yourself together’. It’s not ok –it’s horrible and they keep coming back. Until you find a proper way to deal with them.
Logically, much of what we fear isn’t real – and yet the emotions generated are very very real. No matter what is said logically, emotions come from a very different place – there is no logic there. But it’s not about logic. You can’t reason away a panic attack – it just doesn’t work. As Einstein famously said: You can’t solve a problem at the same level as the problem. So why waste you time with cognitive treatments or treatments that aren’t getting results?
Let’s look a little deeper at Panic Attacks
- If you feel a panic attack coming on, do what you can to choose a suitable environment. You may want to be around people, or you may want some space. Perhaps a comfy seat or a room with reduced lighting. Often you’ll know what works best for you and what aggravates you more. Choose your environment carefully
- Know that the emotions you are experiencing are real – very real. Don’t let anyone try and tell you that it’s all in your head. That’s not useful. Let’s see if they could cope with the emotions that you are experiencing. Emotions are largely manufactured in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, and can be measured. They are very real – enough said.
- Acceptance – Don’t fight your emotions – accept them. Feel them, honour them. You might not like what you’re feeling, but a part of your body has spent a lot of energy in creating the proteins necessary for you to feel this way. Remember: the more you try and fight it, the more it will resist and the more you will feel it. Don’t bother fighting it – accept them – (just for a little bit at least). This will allow the attack to pass much quicker than if you try and fight it.
- Know that there will come a time later on when the feelings will begin to subdue. And things will go back to normal. Don’t try and hurry that time to come quickly – just know that it will come at some stage; and yet stay within the present panic attack. So you are dong two things – knowing that the feelings will subside, AND feeling those feelings – don’t push them away, but accept them and embrace them. These may seem contradictory, but they are in fact both possible.
- Begin to become aware of your breath. As the yogi’s teach, it is difficult to control the mind directly but much easier to use your breath as an intermediary. The breath directly influences the brain, so begin to breathe slowly and steadily – slow inhalations and slow controlled exhalations. Count to 3 or 4 as you breathe in and count to 4 or 5 as you breathe out. Breath into your belly. As you breathe in, allow your belly to expand, like a balloon. As you breath out, let the navel move back towards the spine. Keep your shoulders still by not breathing into your clavicles – your focus is on your belly going slowly out and slowly in. As you steady your breath, your mind will begin to settle too. Generally, a slower breath means a calmer mind.
- Close your eyes and become aware of the space around you. An unusual request. Yet the space around you says so much. Go beyond the physical furniture and instead become aware of other things – you may find this easy or you may find it takes time to get the hang of this. What is in front of you, what’s behind you, to the sides, up, down. What do you notice? Pay attention. Don’t try to change things – just notice what is where. As you give each thing attention, you will notice that itself begins to affect and calm your breathing. I would be interested in what you notice as different clients seem to observe different things, but there is often a pattern. If you feel so inclined, do share with me – email@example.com This can often be a clue to the cause of your attack and therefore the staring point to a lasting removal of symptoms
- As your attack has subsides, become curious as to what triggered your symptoms. You may want to write these down as they may be valuable to whoever you choose to work with to tackle the root cause of your attacks. Take a note of the time of day, where you were, who was around, the circumstances just before the attack began including what you were saying or thinking about. You may begin to notice a pattern which can be hugely useful if you are serious about change.
You will want to ask yourself whether you want to tackle the root cause of your symptoms or whether you are happy with the way you are managing your condition. If you’re happy with your current treatment, then do continue. If you would like to try another way, get in touch – we guarantee to change your life.
Can your panic attack be the first step to a better life?
Although your attacks may seem like the worst thing ever, some clients have managed to see beyond that perspective. Any and every symptom is an opportunity to grow and learn. You may not see it just yet but there is energy in the panic attack and once you have transformed, this energy can be used to help you in ways far beyond what you an possibly imagine now. So its not about throwing away that symptom – its about transforming the energy within that symptom so that it supports you rather than hinders you.
Its not easy & it’s a different way of thinking, but it’s the way of thinking that will help you get the very best from your situation. Often in life, the toughest times have been the times of most transformation and this is no exception.
Panic attacks are often appear with little or no warning and can be very frightening. Many people who have panic attacks have them frequently although not regularly. Sometimes people are aware of what has triggered a panic attack and sometimes they come as a complete surprise.
Our role as an NLP Master Health Practitioner is to assume that there is some reason why your body is creating these. Having successfully worked with sufferers of panic attacks, (sometimes on the phone in mid-attack), many seem to have a common thread. Although the reason for the panic is different, the way the mind panics is similar and once this is understood and reversed, then the symptoms fade away. Although many have had these symptoms for years, they can also go very quickly.