Heightened anxiety, better known as a panic attack, is a normal occurrence. Normal in the sense that it is accepted as a part of our daily activities.
Anxiety is not that bad though. It keeps us primed, as if it trains us to always be on our toes. It also keeps us psychologically alert. These exercises can be good but to a certain extent or limit only. Beyond that limit, things may start to get nasty.
When we are engulfed with a bout of panic, we have one of two choices. We can either face it or get away from it. This is better known as the fight/flight response. Given a choice, would you face panic and experience its full impact, or would you rather retreat or run away from it?
If we equate panic to fear (the two are similar in a lot of ways), the easy way out is to avoid it. But there is always a great chance (and you can be sure of it) that it will haunt you again and again. Whatever that fear is, literally speaking, this will keep you on the run and you will always be checking and looking behind you, cowering from it. The more you run away from it, the more it will chase you and make fun of you. It will be like a ghost running after you with a voice or sound that goes boooo………!
Given this kind of a situation, it is apparently more logical to face panic attacks. Fight it - or befriend it - whichever turns out to be a better option, and experience its full impact. There is a saying that “experience is the best teacher.” It is also true that when you are experienced in a certain situation, you get to handle this situation better the next time around because you already know how to deal with it. The more experiences you get out of it, the more confident you become. And when you are confident, what you used to fear will not make you fearful anymore. You will be immune to it. The more instances you are able to handle, the more capable you will be each time it occurs, like practice. Practice makes perfect. In the end, you will perfect the art of handling panic attacks, from fearing panic attacks to handling it remarkably in a positive way. That’s an achievement.
Now, let’s go back to the point where you still dread panic attacks with a question you might raise that goes: “Just how am I supposed to face a panic attack knowing all too well it might subdue and eat my guts out?” The answer: “You don’t do anything about it. Just let it be. Let it run its entire course and just experience it.” But then you may ask: “What if I don’t survive it?” The answer: “You will definitely survive it.”
Keep this in mind. A panic attack is a state of mind, an apprehension. It is just imagined. There is no way a person will experience a brush with something like a heart attack, a coma, or even death because a panic attack is not life threatening. There is never a recorded case of a person who has died as a result of panic attack. Rest your mind with the fact that panic attack is not a physical ailment, even with the physical manifestations like sweating, palpitations, stomach cramps, and all that. You will be able to face and experience its full impact without any life-threatening effects. “Panic attack? Bring it on.” This is the attitude you must adopt the next time you have a bout with it.
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