Coping

TEN RULES FOR COPING WITH PANIC

Remember, feelings of panic are just exaggerations of normal bodily stress reactions.

Sensations are neither harmful nor dangerous - just unpleasant. Nothing worse will happen.

Stop adding to the panic with frightening thoughts of where panic will lead.

Stay in the present. Be aware of what is happening to you rather than concern yourself with how much worse it might get.

Wait and give the fear time to pass.

Notice that when you stop adding to panic with frightening thoughts, the fear begins to fade.

Focus on coping with facing the fear rather than trying to avoid it or escape from it.

Look around you. Plan what you will do next as the panic subsides.

Think about the progress made so far, despite all the difficulties.

When you are ready to go on, do so in an easy, relaxed manner. There is no hurry.

Each time you cope with panic,
you reduce your fear!

POSITIVE SELF-TALK

Choose a few of the statements below that appeal to you and practice saying them out loud to yourself. When you get anxious, use them to stop the "stinking thinking". Once you learn to trust these new thoughts, your brain will automatically replace the negative thought process with the more positive one. Remember that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit so don't give up!

Remind yourself gently but firmly that your negative thoughts are not helping you with your recovery and that you have chosen to move forward and think more positively.

GENERAL ANXIETY STATEMENTS

1. I'm going to be all right. My feelings are not always rational. I’m just going to relax, calm down, and everything will be all right.

2. Anxiety is not dangerous -- it’s just uncomfortable. I am fine. I’ll just continue with what I’m doing or find something more active to do.

3. Right now, I have some feelings I don’t like. They are really just phantoms, however, because they are disappearing. I will be fine.

4. Right now I have feelings I don’t like. They will be over with soon and I’ll be fine. For now, I am going to focus on doing something else around me.

5. That picture (image) in my head is not a healthy or rational picture. Instead, I’m going to focus on something healthy.

6. I’ve stopped my negative thoughts before and I’m going to do it again now. I am becoming better and better at deflecting these automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) and that makes me happy.

7. So I feel a little anxiety now, SO WHAT? It’s not like it’s the first time. I am going to take some nice deep breaths and keep on going. This will help me continue to get better."

STRESSFUL SITUATION STATEMENTS

1. I’ve done this before so I know I can do it again.

2. When this is over, I’ll be glad that I did it.

3. The feeling I have about this trip doesn’t make much sense. This anxiety is like a mirage in the desert. I’ll just continue to "walk" forward until I pass right through it.

4. This may seem hard now, but it will become easier and easier over time.

5. I think I have more control over these thoughts and feelings than I once imagined. I am very gently going to turn away from my old feelings and move in a new, better direction.

FEELING OVERWHELMED STATEMENTS

1. I can be anxious and still focus on the task at hand. As I focus on the task, my anxiety will go down.

2. Anxiety is a old habit pattern that my body responds to. I am going to calmly and nicely change this old habit. I feel a little bit of peace, despite my anxiety, and this peace is going to grow and grow. As my peace and security grow, then anxiety and panic will have to shrink.

3. At first, my anxiety was powerful and scary, but as time goes by it doesn’t have the hold on me that I once thought it had. I am moving forward gently and nicely all the time.

4. I don’t need to fight my feelings. I realize that these feelings won’t be allowed to stay around very much longer. I just accept my new feelings of peace, contentment, security, and confidence.

5. All these things that are happening to me seem overwhelming. But I’ve caught myself this time and I refuse to focus on these things. Instead, I’m going to talk slowly to myself, focus away from my problem, and continue with what I have to do. In this way, my anxiety will have to shrink away and disappear.

MEASURING YOUR PANIC LEVELS

0 CALM
Most relaxed you have ever felt.

1-2 AVERAGE WORKING STATE
This would be how a person with panic would feel on an average basis

3 TENSE DAY
Having a bad day but nothing we cannot handle.

4 QUITE A BIT OF ANXIETY
Usually physical symptoms- feelings of dizziness, or being out of breath, or other symptoms would begin here as adrenaline begins to release into the body.

5-6 ANXIETY FEELS UNMANAGEABLE
"What if" thoughts are escalating.

7 ANXIETY BUILDS TO PANIC
Feeding the panic spiral... "what if" thoughts are out of control.

8 ANXIETY FEELS OVERWHELMING
Desensitization. Feeling like you are going to pass out, faint, go crazy. All of the senses are out of whack. Adrenaline is pumping through the body at tremendous speed.

9-10 FULL BLOWN PANIC ATTACK
Feeling incapacitated, need to retreat. Usually people give up and head back to safety zones. Cannot stand it one more minute- whole body shaking, dizzy and many other symptoms.

PANIC SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
Fight the Fear with Knowledge

Heart Pounding
Heart speeding up to move blood and oxygen faster
Breathing Faster
Obtaining more oxygen for the muscles
Chest Pain
Chest muscles tightening
Rubbery legs
Blood supply building up in the legs decreased
Disassociation
Less oxygen and blood to the brain
Light Sensitivity
Pupils have opened for more acute vision
Sweating
Fight or flight reflex- body is harder to hold onto
Tingling in Mouth
Result of hyperventilation
Numbness in Hands
Diversion of blood to the muscles
Choking Sensation
Muscle tension
Shaking
Muscle tension
Vision Distortion
Effect of pupils opening wider

Coping Advice

First you have to get the stop sign up..( visualize a stop sign ) to stop the fear thought process and then you have to look at the fear.. (write it down if you have to). You have to say to yourself is this a real fear, am I in any danger or is this an irrational thought that I am putting in my head. Once you decide what the fear is then you can do something to change it,, If you are in danger, what can you do to protect yourself..? If it is an irrational fear thought, what can you do to change how you are thinking and feel safe..?

We are the ones who are putting the fear thoughts in our head and we have 2 choices, to continue feeding them and let the anxiety grow or change how we are thinking.. to change how you are thinking you need to get distracted with other thoughts.. sometimes this takes doing something physical.. we have to use the tools that work for us.. and a tools is anything that will distract you mentally or physically.

We have to learn how to break things down.. once we can do that then we are not dealing with HUGE fears..and we can look at them for what they are.. irrational thoughts.. anticiapations,, what if's and nothing more.. nothing that is going to hurt us in anyway.

1. I am not in control. Quite the contrary..YOU are in control. You are the one who knows more about controlling panic than anyone and you know how to help yourself.

2. What if I panic and nobody is around? So what if you have that panic when nobody is around?? What can anyone do for you that YOU cannot do for yourself?? Can anyone else know what your panic feels like or can they abort the attack for you? NO, but YOU can do that.

3. Panic feels so bad and it might hurt me. The symptoms of panic feel bad but thats all and it wont last. The glands that produce the chemicals that cause panic DO shut off..the attack wont last and if you use the tools and good positive self talk YOU can abort it. Breathe deeply..no shallow breathing. The good oxygen alone will keep you from panic.

4. I cant manage to do things alone. You can do anything alone that you can do with others. THINK different about it..dont allow fear to stop you. YOU have the power over panic..nobody else. YOU have the power to abort it and breathe right thru it, relax and continue for you need nobody but yourself to achieve. Trust yourself to take care of you the way you take good care of others. YOU ARE SAFE WITH YOU..

5. What if I feel bad when driving? You are never trapped in any situation so dont create that trapped feeling thru stinkin thinkin. You can pull over, you can stop the car and take that break to relax. You can think positively and abort any feelings of anxiety for YOU are safe with you. You must just trust yourself enough to get out there and prove it. Whats the worst that could happen..a bit of panic and it can be aborted and brought down. Thats the worst and panic is not as big a deal as we have created it to be in our minds.

I think we all have entertained these mistaken beliefs so give yourself all positive affirmations and get out there and trust yourself. Know that YOU are in control and YOU can have the necessary power over panic to take your life back. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE..desensitise yourself every chance you get and your brain and body will reward you with "been there, done that..no need to panic". STOP.... BREATH...REGROUP YOUR THOUGHTS.. BREAK IT DOWN AND REFOCUS HOW YOU ARE THINKING.. PUT YOURSELF BACK IN CONTROL.. IF YOU CHANGE HOW YOU ARE THINKING YOUR ACTIONS WILL FOLLOW..


Learn How to Give Comfort During Panic