News, Interviews, articles and updates
News, Interviews, articles and updates
Years ago, when we were primitive men and women, our brains’ primary function was to protect us from danger, such as predators and wild animals. If we encountered such a threat, our brain’s ‘Amygdala,’ the panic alarm, kicked in. It flushed our bodies and tensed our muscles in preparation to run. This ‘flight’ mode was beneficial, and it still is useful in modern times when facing danger. It is not so helpful, however, when you suffer from long term stress and anxiety. It is not useful when there is actually no real danger to face. This prolonged hyper-alert mode can be stressful for both the body
When anxiety occurs in a situation when there is no danger, and the symptoms begin to escalate, this can lead to a panic attack. A panic attack is a very frightening experience, characterised by:
But panic attacks are actually quite common. It is estimated that one in ten of us will experience a panic attack in our lives.
If you are suffering from panic attacks, here are some ways to help reduce, limit, and, even, eradicate these symptoms once and for all.
Often, when you suffer from a panic attack, you get yourself stuck in a loop. The negativity and catastrophic feelings create physical sensations, such as difficulty breathing or chest pains. When we experience these physical sensations, it can often cause fear, terror and more catastrophic feelings that keep the cycle of panic going.
If we can change our thought patterns, we can break this cycle. For example, if you feel like you are having a heart attack, ask yourself, ‘Did I have a heart attack the last time I felt like this?’ If you feel like you are going to vomit, ask yourself, ‘Did I vomit before?’ By taking a step back from your feelings, and applying logic to the thoughts that you are having, you can quickly break the cycle and reduce the escalation of symptoms.
When you suffer from a panic attack, you can become so obsessed with anxiety that you become consumed by it. This can contribute to an escalation of the physical sensations. Rather than focus on the negative thoughts and feelings, stop for a second… look around you. Look at what is going on around you? Notice your senses. What do you see? Or smell? Or hear?
During a panic attack, your mind is in tunnel vision. Paying attention to the experience of all five senses can help remove you from that negative state and distract your anxious brain.
When suffering from a panic attack, try to sit down somewhere, calmly, and focus on your breathing. Nothing else, but your breath… in and out. Do and achieve nice, long, five-second breaths in, and then out. Place your hands on your chest and stomach to really focus your mind. Imagine your lungs and stomach filling with air. Breathing is one of the constants that we have. It centralises our bodies. It is rhythmic and calming. It is tough to panic when you are focused on something so tranquil, like your breath.
If you suffer a stressful panic attacks, it can be a natural instinct to avoid the place and situation in which it happened. You may be worried that it may happen again. Although there will now be triggers in that situation, by avoiding it altogether, you are reinforcing a belief that this situation is ‘scary.’ You strengthen the associations you have of panic and stress.
To avoid this, you can gently expose yourself to that situation again. For example, if you always suffer panic attacks in the supermarket, start by sitting outside the supermarket in your car. Use techniques 1 to 3 to reduce your anxiety. Try to stay as long as possible so that any fear symptoms gradually subside. Maybe in the next couple of days, you could try this technique again, but this time, go up to the entrance or into the coffee shop.
Over time, you are training your brain that there is, actually, nothing really to be afraid of as you become more and more accustomed to that, once, scary situation.
Hypnotherapy can be a powerful therapeutic tool that can assist in breaking the cycle of panic attacks. This is because:
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