Have you been struggling with anxiety? Then tell me if this sounds familiar:
- You’re on edge – and on the verge of tears – almost all the time and you don’t know why.
- Sometimes, you get really jittery and lose focus, even if you’re in the middle of a task at work
- You’ve had times where you thought you had no control over your body. You had a bubbly feeling in your stomach, and you were gasping for air with every breath. And maybe you even got so nervous, you worried you were going to die.
If you’re suffering from panic attacks, these sensations might seem incredibly familiar to you… but when you really think about it, they just don’t make any sense.
In your mind, you know you are safe – and yet you feel like your life is in danger. Your anxiety levels skyrocket and you see it coming: your next panic attack. You hope it wouldn’t be in public and that people wouldn’t notice… but they might. You panic even more, your mind racing and you’re out of breath.
I can totally relate to how you are feeling.
Having dealt with anxiety before, I know it’s not an easy feeling. But in the past two years, I’ve discovered a three-step process that has helped me bust my anxiety and get rid of panic attacks for good. Today, I’d like to share this system with you.
Step 1: Allow yourself to feel the fear
Panic attacks are a clear sign that you’ve been suppressing fearful emotions in your day-to-day life. Instead of allowing yourself to feel the fear when it hits, you try to hide it and as your mountain of fear grows, it becomes harder and harder to suppress – until it eventually triggers severe anxiety or panic attacks.
During a panic attack, you lose control of your emotions and all that built-fear is finally released. As such, you can think of panic attacks as a cleansing mechanism of your body to get rid of excess fear.
Now, of course, panic attacks are not a particularly pleasant experience – and I can imagine that you want to find less stressful, healthier ways to deal with your emotions.
That’s why, the next time you feel on edge (or have a full-blown panic attack), try to lean in to the fear.
If you’ve never let yourself feel your fear before, it can be scary. You might even start shaking or hyperventilating, and you might worry that your life is going to end. I’ve been in that mind-space before, and I can tell you: a panic attack won’t kill you.
No need to obsess about your health, just try to breathe as calmly as possible, and let whatever happens happen.
Step 2: Let your anxiety spread through your entire body
Your anxiety, no matter how bad it seems, is only a temporary state. You might feel like your panic is endless, and you might be so trapped in your emotions that you lose track of time and feel threatened in the present.
But even during a panic attack, you might be able to remember that you once felt differently, whether you were happy or angry. And to get out of your present, uncomfortable state as quickly as possible, you need to let your anxiety spread through your entire body.
You can also turn this into a game: see if you can feel your anxiety in your hands, wrists, and elbows. See if you can make it spread up all the way up to your shoulders, to your heart and chest and into your stomach. Take it from your stomach through your liver and kidneys to your pelvis. Gently shift your fear from your pelvis to your thighs and down your legs – all the way to your feet and into the ground.
Keep focusing on your breath as you relive all the thoughts that contributed to your fear, and you’ll soon notice that your panic begins to fade.
Step 3: Let go of your panic and open up to the next emotion that comes your way
It’s important to avoid staying trapped in your panic and fearful thoughts. Therefore, once you have fully felt all the negative emotions, mentally prepare to let go of your fear. You can visualise your panic dissipating, with the waves of fear gently moving on and away from your body.
Extend a warm welcome to the next sensations that come your way – whether they’re a feeling of relief, exhaustion or happiness.
You’ll feel much better afterwards – and gradually your panic attacks will become less and less frequent until they disappear altogether (at least that’s what happened for me).
This simple system has changed my life – through it, I’ve been able to overcome my anxiety without medication and I’ve been panic-free for the past six months. I am sure you can get similar results if you apply this anxiety-busting system regularly. But if you are having a rough time, or if you struggle with severe anxiety and depression, do reach out to doctors, counsellors or therapists in your area to get professional help.
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Author: Carina Troche
Carina Troche is the founder of the personal development blog: The Wellbeing Wishlist. She writes about various topics, like how to start a good career or how to balance personal growth with emotional wellbeing.