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In the past 10 years, The Panic Away Program has touched over 70,+ lives in 32 countries worldwide. Everyone has used it from soccer moms to famous. PDF version of Panic Away Book PDF with Review by Barry McDonagh. Apple To read the whole book, please download the full eBook PDF. If a preview. The NOOK Book (eBook) of the Panic Away Review PDF eBook Nook Book Free Download by Barry McDonagh at Barnes & Noble.
I cannot believe how quickly it worked. I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me out with this situation in my life. Your techniques are heaven sent!!! It is truly a miracle that you promised. I amRead More. Have you ever noticed how anxiety is fueled by one simple question you keep asking yourself? That question is What if I drive my car on the highway and I have a panic attack? What if faint in public, who will help me?
What if I get sick…. Read more. John suffered with a fear of flying which was so intense, even booking the flights made him anxious, frustrated and angry.
Panic Away. Everyone has used it from soccer moms to famous celebrities. Take the 1 Minute Anxiety Test Discover your anxiety score in this simple and fast anxiety test.
Take The Test Now. The Cycle of Fear Just coping with this condition is not good enough. People need a program that teaches them how to free themselves from ever having another panic attack again. Usual Suspects Everyone has his or her own sensation or feeling that strikes terror inside. A pounding heart, dizziness, breathing, numbness, fear of losing control.
You're a lot braver I am so glad you kept searching for a solution because we are going to turn you into a your own HERO. You will be the hero of your own life where you overcome this struggle. Free Audio Get a free audio that will teach you how to end anxiety fast and panic attacks fast!
Download Audio. The bottom line is your life can be as it once was. In fact, by following and applying the techniques in this book, you will learn not only to regain the carefree life you remember once having, but will also gain new confidence in living. This book demonstrates that the panic that you have experienced will be the very key to your courage and success.
It is the fuel that will drive your new life. Make no mistake—you are now reading the very material that will be the catalyst for your recovery. The only question left is: Why had you wasted so much time living in fear? Following that, I will teach you the four tools to create a sturdy buffer zone between you and anxiety that will ensure you can rid yourself of the lingering unease and background anxiety that is so often a complaint of people who suffer from high anxiety and panic attacks.
While many of you may have read almost everything you can possibly read relating to panic and anxiety, but I would ask you to read down through the book and not skip ahead as I assure you this book offers something very effective and helpful in managing these conditions.
Anxiety is probably the most basic of all emotions. While anxiety, by its nature, is an unpleasant sensation, it is not by any means dangerous. One of the biggest myths surrounding anxiety is that it is harmful and can lead to a number of various life-threatening conditions. Anxiety is defined as a state of apprehension or fear resulting from the anticipation of real or imagined threat, event, or situation. It is one of the most common human emotions experienced by people at some point in their lives.
However, most people who have never experienced a panic attack, or extreme anxiety, fail to realize the terrifying nature of the experience. When these sensations occur and people do not understand why, they feel they have contracted an illness, or a serious mental condition. The threat of losing complete control seems very real and naturally very terrifying. Have you made the connection between this response and the unusual sensations you experience during and after a panic attack?
It is so named because all of its effects are aimed toward either fighting or fleeing from the danger. Thus, the sole purpose of anxiety is to protect the individual from harm. It was vital in the daily survival of our ancient ancestors—when faced with some danger, an automatic response would take over that propels them to take immediate action such as attack or run.
Even in today's hectic world, this is a necessary mechanism. It comes in useful when you must respond to a real threat within a split second. Anxiety is a built-in mechanism to protect us from danger. Interestingly, it is a mechanism that protects but does not harm—an important point that will be elaborated upon later.
When confronted with danger, the brain sends signals to a section of the nervous system. It is this system that is responsible for gearing the body up for action and also calms the body down and restores equilibrium. To carry out these two vital functions, the autonomic nervous system has two subsections, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
This explains why when a panic attack occurs, the individual often feels a number of different sensations throughout the body. These are small glands located just above the kidneys. When a panic attack begins, it does not switch off as easily as it is turned on. There is always a period of what would seem increased or continued anxiety, as these messengers travel throughout the body. After a period of time, the parasympathetic nervous system gets called into action.
Its role is to return the body to normal functioning once the perceived danger is gone. The parasympathetic system is the system we all know and love, because it returns us to a calm relaxed state. When we engage in a coping strategy that we have learned, for example, a relaxation technique, we are in fact willing the parasympathetic nervous system into action.
A good thing to remember is that this system will be brought into action at some stage whether we will it or not. The body cannot continue in an ever-increasing spiral of anxiety.
It reaches a point where it simply must kick in, relaxing the body. This is one of the many built-in protection systems our bodies have for survival. You can do your best with worrying thoughts, keeping the sympathetic nervous system going, but eventually it stops. In time, it becomes a little smarter than us, and realizes that there really is no danger. Our bodies are incredibly intelligent—modern science is always discovering amazing patterns of intelligence that run throughout the cells of our body.
Our body seems to have infinite ways of dealing with the most complicated array of functions we take for granted. Try holding your breath for as long as you can.
No matter how strong your mental will is, it can never override the will of the body. Your body will override that fear and search for a state of balance. There has never been a reported incident of someone dying from a panic attack. Remember this next time you have a panic attack.
Your mind may make the sensations continue longer than the body intended, but eventually everything will return to a state of balance. In fact, balance homeostasis is what our body continually strives for. The interference for your body is nothing more than the sensations of doing rigorous exercise.
Our body is not alarmed by these symptoms. Why should it be? It knows its own capability. We tend to fear the worst and exaggerate our own sensations. A quickened heart beat becomes a heart attack. An overactive mind seems like a close shave with schizophrenia. Is it our fault? Not really—we are simply diagnosing from poor information. Cardiovascular Effects Activity in the sympathetic nervous system increases our heartbeat rate, speeds up the blood flow throughout the body, ensures all areas are well supplied with oxygen and that waste products are removed.
This happens in order to prime the body for action. This is why many feel numbness and tingling during a panic attack, often misinterpreted as some serious health risk, such as the precursor to a heart attack. Interestingly, most people who suffer from anxiety often feel they have heart problems. If you are really worried that such is the case with your situation, visit your doctor and have it checked out. At least then you can put your mind at rest. One of the scariest effects of a panic attack is the fear of suffocating or smothering.
It is very common during a panic attack to feel tightness in the chest and throat. From personal experience, anxiety grows from the fear that your breathing itself would cease and you would be unable to recover. Can a panic attack stop our breathing? A panic attack is associated with an increase in the speed and depth of breathing. This has obvious importance for the defense of the body since the tissues need to get more oxygen to prepare for action.
The feelings produced by this increase in breathing, however, can include breathlessness, hyperventilation, sensations of choking or smothering, and even pains or tightness in the chest.
The real problem is that these sensations are alien to us, and they feel unnatural. It was only when I employed the technique I will describe for you later, did I let the body continue doing what it does best—running the whole show. Importantly, a side-effect of increased breathing, especially if no actual activity occurs is that the blood supply to the head is actually decreased.
While such a decrease is only a small amount and is not at all dangerous, it produces a variety of unpleasant but harmless symptoms that include dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, sense of unreality, and hot flushes. A number of other effects are produced by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, none of which are in any way harmful. There is a decrease in salivation, resulting in dry mouth. There is decreased activity in the digestive system, which often produces nausea, a heavy feeling in the stomach, and even constipation.
Thus, one often feels hot and flushed and, because this process takes a lot of energy, the person generally feels tired and drained. Therefore, when activated, the mental. In this state one is highly-strung, so to speak. It is very difficult to concentrate on any one activity, as the mind has been trained to seek all potential threats and not to give up until the threat has been identified. As soon as the panic hits, many people look for the quick and easiest exit from their current surroundings, such as by simply leaving the bank queue and walking outside.
Sometimes the anxiety can heighten, if we perceive that leaving will cause some sort of social embarrassment. If you have a panic attack while at the workplace but feel you must press on with whatever task it is you are doing, it is quite understandable that you would find it very hard to concentrate.
It is quite common to become agitated and generally restless in such a situation. Many individuals I have worked with who have suffered from panic attacks over the years indicated that artificial light— such as that which comes from computer monitors and televisions screens—can often trigger or worsen a panic attack, particularly if the person is feeling tired or run down. This is worth bearing in mind if you work for long periods of time on a computer.
Regular break reminders should be set up on your computer to remind you to get up from the desk and get some fresh air when possible. In other situations, when during a panic attack an outside threat cannot normally be found, the mind turns inwards and begins to contemplate the possible illness the body or mind could be suffering from. This ranges from thinking it might have been something you ate at lunch, to the possibility of an oncoming cardiac arrest. The burning question is: Upon closer examination, it would appear that what we are afraid of are the sensations themselves—we are afraid of the body losing control.
These unexpected physical symptoms create the fear or panic that something is. There are many ways these symptoms can manifest themselves, not just through fear. For example, it may be that you have become generally stressed for some reason in your life, and this stress results in an increase in the production of adrenaline and other chemicals, which from time to time, would produce symptoms.
This increased adrenaline can be maintained chemically in the body, even after the stress has long gone. Another possibility is diet, which directly affects our level of stress. Excess caffeine, alcohol, or sugar is known for causing stress in the body Chapter 5 gives a full discussion on diet and its importance.
Unresolved emotions are often pointed to as possible trigger of panic attacks, but it is important to point out that eliminating panic attacks from your life does not necessarily mean analyzing your psyche and digging into your subconscious. It is understandable for anyone to fear they may be going crazy when they suffer from initial panic attacks. There is so little real public awareness of mental disease, so people often jump to extreme conclusions. These conclusions are usually based on misinformation and an overactive imagination.
The most commonly known mental health issue is schizophrenia—even the word itself strikes terror within the average person. Schizophrenia is a major disorder characterized by such severe symptoms as disjointed thoughts and speech, babbling, having delusions or strange beliefs for example, sufferers often claim they are receiving messages from an inner voice , and hallucinations.
Furthermore, schizophrenia appears to be largely a genetic disorder and run strongly in families. Schizophrenia generally begins very gradually, and not suddenly such as during a panic attack. Additionally, because it runs in families, only a certain proportion of people can become schizophrenic, and in other people, no amount of stress will cause the disorder. A third important point is that people who become schizophrenic will usually show some mild symptoms for most of their lives such as unusual thoughts, flowery speech, etc.
Thus, if this has not been noticed in you yet, then chances are you will not become schizophrenic. This is especially true if you are over 25, since schizophrenia generally first appears in the late teens to early 20's. During a panic attack, some people are prone to believe they are going to "lose control. Often, it is those who hate being socially embarrassed suffer from this fear the most. Put your mind at rest! As scary as those thoughts may be, you are not going to commit any of these acts.
The reason you are experiencing them is because your body feels out of control. Your mind feels that if your body is out of control, it is next on the list. You are not going to lose it. In fact, I am sure that with all the panic attacks you may have experienced in public places, nobody even noticed you looked uncomfortable. We are, by nature, social animals and dread to be seen in some kind of an embarrassing situation.
Jumping up from your chair in a business meeting and screaming for an ambulance may go through your mind, but it is unlikely to happen. In the end, even if we do embarrass ourselves socially, does it really matter?
We have to learn to be kind to ourselves. So what if we were to cause a scene and great embarrassment? Life is too short to keep up with appearances all the time. In fact, the more honest you are with your fears, the less pressure you are subjecting yourself under.
The core fear of passing out in public is that we suddenly become so vulnerable, especially if we are alone. Who will look after us as we lie strewn across the. We also dread the thought of passing out for fear that we may never wake but fall into a coma. Passing out is caused by a lack of blood to the brain. When we faint, the body falls to the ground and allows blood to be easily supplied to the brain—which is, again, another of the clever safety mechanisms of the body.
Quite simply, fainting during a panic attack is highly uncommon due to the amount of blood that is being circulated. Your heart is usually beating fast and there is little worry that the brain would be short of fresh supply. The dizziness often felt during a panic attack is caused by increased respiration, and while it may be confusing for the individual, it is harmless and does not lead to fainting.
This really is a minefield and almost anyone who has suffered from panic attacks at some point will fear for the health of their heart.
Let us look at the facts of heart disease and see how this differs from panic attacks. The major symptoms of heart disease are breathlessness and chest pain, as well as occasional palpitations and fainting.
Such symptoms are generally related to the amount of physical effort exerted. That is, the harder you exercise, the worse the symptoms, and the less you exercise, the better.
The symptoms will usually go away quickly if the individual rests. This is very different to the symptoms associated with panic attacks. Certainly, panic symptoms can occur during exercise, but they are different to the symptoms of a heart attack as they occur frequently at rest.
Of most importance, heart disease will almost always produce major electrical changes in the heart, which are picked up very obviously by an EKG. In panic attacks, the only change that shows up on the EKG is a slight increase in heartbeat rate. People convince themselves that if they worry enough about their heart, or concentrate too much upon its actions, that it may somehow get confused and forget how to beat correctly.
It is quite common for people who suffer from panic attacks to regularly check in on their heart at intervals, to make sure it is still beating away. It is true that, mentally, we can all affect the pattern of our heartbeats. When you concentrate hard you may notice an irregular beat or two. This is nothing to get upset about. Remember that our bodies have an incredible internal intelligence and simply telling your heart out of panic that it might stop does not mean that it takes any heed of our fears.
Learn to become more comfortable with your heart, let it do its job. Listen to it when relaxed and also when exercising. The more comfortable you are with the diversity and range of your heartbeats, the more confidence you will have in it when it is exerting itself.
If you are worried about heart problems, treat yourself to an EKG, and put your mind to rest. If you have had an EKG and the doctor has cleared you, you can safely assume you do not have heart problems. Also, if your symptoms occur at any time and not solely upon exertion, this is additional evidence against a heart disorder.
There is a symptom not often mentioned in panic attack literature induced by excessive anxiety that I would like to discuss. It is the sensation of unreality. Many people become distressed by this sensation and feel they may be losing their mind. People who experience panic attacks report feeling disconnected from their world, or having a sensation of unreality. The sensation is described as if the world has become nothing more than a projection of a film.
This sensation is.
A typical manifestation of this is when the individual may be having a conversation with someone and suddenly feels alarmingly isolated and removed from the situation. Once the sensation arises it can be so impactful that it takes days to leave the eerie feeling behind and stop thinking about it. I mention this because the condition is not often spoken about, and to reassure those of you who may have experienced this sensation, that it is only a side- effect of excessive anxiety and will pass as soon as the body learns to relax.
Once the body returns to normal and has the opportunity to dispel some excess chemicals produced by the adrenal glands, then this unusual sensation will dissipate. Give it time, and these feelings will subside as you move from a life of anxiety to a more tranquil one. We have looked at the common characteristics of panic attacks. We are all aware of how terrifying a panic attack can feel.
Our minds race with the possibility of a mind and body out of control. We put to use every coping mechanism we have, and when they fail, we feel vulnerable and alone with a myriad of confusing bodily sensations and terrifying thoughts. Let me share with you my insight into panic attacks that turned my life around— from a life of fear into one of courage and true confidence. The technique is subtle and yet I want you to give it careful consideration, as it has not only completely eliminated panic attacks from my life but also the lives of many long- term sufferers.
It differs from every other treatment of anxiety disorder that I have come across, in that it tackles the very core of anxiety and panic attacks. The traditional approach to dealing with anxiety disorders is flawed. Panic attacks are described as the outside force that wants to see its sufferers defeated and left feeling isolated. The real truth of the matter is that there is no real attack nor is there an attacker. Panic attacks are not threatening or dangerous; they are an awareness of a series of heightened bodily sensations.
But where does the true answer to a panic-free life lie? Does it lie in a continuous battle to thwart the advance of anxiety, or must the sufferer be resigned to always live with a condition that will plague them their whole lives? The answer was discovered by observing nature. Nature is a great teacher— watch how it deals with opposing forces. The tree bends with the wind, the river flows around the rock, summer gives way to fall. Nature never struggles, never.
Our primordial instincts tell us to pull away, and guard ourselves from fear. We either fight it with our best coping technique or simply close down and run to a safe refuge. All of these actions create an internal struggle. Will I be hospitalized, or worse, go insane? We may swallow relaxant medication, begin a series of coping exercises, or even drink some alcohol in order to suppress the terrifying feelings that are coursing through our body.
Sometimes, when we are lucky, we are in a good fighting condition and the fear appears to subside. Other times, we lose outrightly and experience full-blown panic attacks as the fear engulfs our emotions and leaves us feeling vulnerable and fearful. Whichever way it transpires, we are always left with one lasting recurring thought: When will I have to do battle with this terror again? As soon as the telltale signals of a panic attack appear, such as the quickening of breath or the increased heart rate, we immediately jump to try curtail and control the sensations in the hope of enforcing a state of relative tranquillity.
Those who suffer from regular panic attacks often mention that their predominant fear is that of losing control of the body or of the mind. We attempt our best to control the situation and by doing so we do not allow our bodies to flow in the heightened bodily functions caused by the fight or flight response.
We close down and tighten up our muscles as though we were preparing for a. This preparation for collision is similar to what our body does for a real-world physical collision such as a car crash. Using a simple car crash analogy, we perceive the imminent danger ahead on the road and we respond with automatic reflexes as adrenaline is released into the bloodstream and apply whichever evasive maneuvers we can in order to avoid the very real threat of a physical impact.
The key difference with a panic attack is that there is no real threat. Instead of a quick burst of anxiety that would normally dissipate once the threat is over, a person suffering from panic attacks plays the perceived threat over and over in slow motion, leading to a prolonged state of heightened anxiety. There is never a damaging psychological or physical collision during a panic attack.
It may seem like there is a real and present threat, like the example of a car crash. Remind yourself of all the previous times you have emerged unscathed from panic attacks. Think of all the panic attacks you have experienced and how you have always come out on the other side—possibly petrified, but nevertheless alive and undamaged with no harm done to your body except for possible fatigue.
The real issue here that causes most of the upset and understandable distress is the fear of damage that a panic attack is supposed to cause. So where does this leave us? The first clue to successful recovery lies in our ability to run with a panic attack, to fully engage the experience. So the first key in understanding is that there is no panic if there is no perceived threat.
Do you realize there is a big similarity between a panic attack and a roller coaster ride? Both are exhilarating experiences that excite our nervous system and increase our bodily awareness. The roller coaster, however, does not send the same level of panic through us, as we are fully aware that it is not life- threatening and will shortly come to a safe stop. This is the same attitude we need to adopt towards panic attacks. It is only our interpretation that differs.
We are looking to change our interpretation. What does that mean in practical terms? It means if you embrace the fear and let the emotions and sensations run freely through you, rather than close down in the face of an imminent panic attack, your fear immediately subsides. The sensations that usually terrify you become exactly that, sensations, and nothing more, such as sweating palms, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, etc.
Uncomfortable sensations you could do without but the key difference with this approach is that the sensations do not lead to a panic attack. It is not that you will never feel anxious at times; a certain level of anxiety is part of everyday living. What is different is that your occasional anxiety is not developing into a higher anxiety experience. The occasional feeling of anxiety is fine and is experienced by everyone. Your new response is putting you in synch with all those people who never get panic attacks because their feelings do not develop into an exaggerated sense of irrational fear.
So where do we begin? Because there is no danger, there is no real threat. The initial spark of anxiety that triggers a panic attack stems from a struggle within us that is usually at a deeper subconscious level. What caused that initial struggle is irrelevant, as it is as varied as those who suffer from panic attacks and is not necessary to be aware of in order to eliminate panic attacks.
By all means visit a psychoanalyst and discover the root of the anxiety, but be aware that this will only give you an awareness of the original trigger and not necessarily result in the curing of your condition. What we are looking for is a conscious recognition of the panic attack, and a new and empowered response to them when they arise. A response that will defuse the panic attack in its tracks and clear the pattern of recurring attacks. During the initial moments of a panic attack, you will notice some familiar patterns.
For many, it may simply be a feeling of unease or tightness in the stomach, a shortness of breath, or tightness of chest. The symptoms usually begin on a very subtle level, sometimes hours or days before the actual attack depending on the situation.
When you feel the initial sensations that usually accompany a panic attack, stop what you are doing and, if possible, find yourself a comfortable place to be alone. This time, however, you are not setting the scene to do battle as before— this time you are preparing a space—an accepting space to invite and welcome the fear and anxiety. Embrace the fear as it rises within you.
Mentally send it a short message telling it that you are glad it has come to visit, you are sending it a warm welcome. Send a message that you are inviting this feeling into your body and mind.
You are welcoming it closer because you want to get to know and observe it. It is not unusual to be feeling a little apprehensive at this point, as this new approach may feel unusual—inviting the anxiety closer. You are actually inviting and greeting the panic that normally upsets and terrifies you. If you are a visual type, you might want to give the anxiety a mental image such as a troublesome child or ridiculous cartoon character.
Let the fear wash over you. Feel each and every sensation in detail. We are not trying to get away from the panic attack this time—in fact, we are actually trying to fully embrace it. Keep with the sensations, and watching them like you would with an ocean wave as they fall and rise again throughout your body. The approximate timeframe of each individual panic attack is about twenty minutes. There will come a point where you can observe and experience to a point, and then it will overwhelm you, you will either want to fight it or retreat to safety.
This is understandable as the sensations can often be very uncomfortable. However, this is the vital point in the process. Scream out if you must, but let your anxiety know you are making a firm request that you want to experience the very worst it can throw at you! The request for more is the most empowering statement you make when in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. It sends a clear and strong statement that behind it all you were calling fears bluff, you are still really in control and always have been.
You were just observing up until this moment. Like the roller coaster ride you were allowing yourself to feel the experience, the sensations of fear. You were a fully paid-up and willing participant, not a victim. Now you are consciously moving towards the fear, requesting that it shows you more of these unusual bodily sensations you are going through. Is that the most you can offer? This request for more is a request fear cannot deliver.
You are voluntarily moving in the same direction of the sensations and giving the fear no momentum to pull on to create the mental struggle and anxiety. This knocks anxiety right on the head as there is no longer any fuel to drive the campaign of terror. The fuse that was dangerously close to exploding into a full-blown panic attack is extinguished.
What is more is that this action calls fears bluff, in that the fear driving the whole experience reveals the truth of the situation—there never really was anything to fear in the first place. The threat was a hoax. The panic attack was a dud, there never was a real tangible threat. You are allowing it no room to manoeuvre. It can help to demand more in an aggressive manner. The sensations, of course, are unpleasant and nobody is trying to pretend they are enjoyable—but that does not have to stop you from fully experiencing them.
In fact, you have always fully experienced them but this time you are a willing participant. What you are doing is stating with confidence to yourself and your body that you are capable of experiencing these and any amount of increased anxiety that may come your way because you know the truth.
There is nothing to fear. Fear does not know how to handle this request; it is completely confused by this new response, it has no option but to collapse in on itself and dissipate.
Fear feeds off fear; you are extinguishing the fuel on which a panic attack is driven. It now has no struggle, nothing to feed on. You need to be welcoming of the anxiety to return in order to eliminate lingering thoughts of an unexpected return. When done correctly, the results of this technique are instantaneous. You will immediately feel the turning point and the parasympathetic nervous system, which we spoke of earlier, coming into action and restoring calm.
It is like you have walked out the other side of fear with a new confidence. There was no abyss, no cliff you went tumbling off. All of it was nothing but a series of physical sensations. This is just the winding down cycle of the anxiety. Observe it as before, like looking at a cloud passing overhead in the sky, and let it go. Remain firm and continue to observe your mind and body. Rest in the knowledge that whatever comes your way, you can handle it. Let that be your daily mantra.
In the beginning you will probably find it hard to believe in yourself to demand more as panic attacks may have eroded some of your self-confidence. This is only natural—you may find yourself asking for more and then immediately running with your hands in the air.
Practice and practice. If you do not get a result straight away, keep at it; the more you use this technique, the more you will see how empowering it is. In time, you will reach a point where you feel a panic attack approach, and will genuinely welcome it with all your mind and body. You will truly understand that there is nothing to worry about. You will mentally shout out to your anxiety to come in— but by then, it would not. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling relaxed you cannot make yourself have a panic attack no matter how hard you try?
Nor can you force yourself to be wildly ecstatic or terribly gloomy. No matter how hard you force it, you cannot make your body have a panic attack. Now you know the reason why. Moving towards fear eliminates the source of its power. Apply what you have read here, practise it; it will be your most useful ally in your scariest moments. You are on a train and have just sat down. It has been a long day; you are tired, and are looking forward to sleeping on the journey. The whistle blows and the train doors slam shut with a loud bang.
An anxious thought flashes through your mind. It begins. Your chest suddenly feels tight; you notice your heartbeat increasing. You quickly look around. Any friendly faces you may be consoled by? The initial symptoms of a panic attack begin. As your heartbeat increases, you become edgy. You may have learned some breathing techniques, so you put them into effect. One of the problems with breathing techniques, although useful, is that the results never seem quick or apparent enough, so therefore are rarely carried through and continued.
Most likely, your next move is to get up and walk around. Into the toilet, for example, where you can be alone. Standing up, and walking around makes you feel less trapped. You close the toilet door and sit on the seat. It is good to be alone—away from anyone who might witness you in distress and making a fool of yourself.
The problem is that you are starting to feel trapped again and you are running out of places to run to. You reach inside your pocket and pull out your emergency relaxant for panic attacks. It may not necessarily have to be a pharmaceutical relaxant; maybe a small bottle of alcohol or even rosary beads. Whatever your last line of defense is, it should better work. If not, you will have to use the ultimate coping strategy—pull the emergency cord and jump off the train. This situation, like most panic attacks, is one of an escalation of panic, and an exhaustion of the coping techniques.
But the difference is that whatever you are going to experience, you are going to throw yourself into it—head first.
Your heart is pounding faster now, and you notice your breathing is becoming short and rapid. You decide to keep feeling all of this—one hundred percent. A thought creeps in, and tells you to get up, move around, go to the bathroom. You decide not to. You tell yourself that if it gets really intense, then you might consider it as a last option. But for the moment, you are going to ride it out where you are.
You are now in the moment of a panic attack. You are now listening to your fearful thoughts and merely experiencing all the unusual bodily sensations. You are pleased with yourself. You realize you are riding the wave of anxiety, and. Then it intensifies. You start to feel intense fear in your stomach, as your left arm vibrates with pins and needles. You are approaching the climax of high anxiety. You examine all your options—shout out, escape, or invite more. In fact, you demand with firmness that the panic increases so you experience the full range of the emotion.
A few seconds pass. In fact, things are starting to calm down. Now, you can really feel confident! Not only did you get through a panic attack, but you also ran with it, and experienced it all the way. You stood your ground not in an overly aggressive manner but as an explorer, looking to feel the full range of your experiences.
There is no lingering fear of a returning panic attack on your train journey, because you are confident that should one come, you will ride it out like the last. You close your eyes, and relax confidently into your seat. What you are doing is befriending fear in a nonconfrontational manner. You are inviting it into your life, making it yours. Owning it. This is a complete U-turn on what has been previously taught. We are normally told to cope using coping techniques, and after a significant period of time, you grow out of your anxiety.
Bypass that disempowering approach. Go for the finish line. Try the complete reverse—befriend your fear, and then watch over a short period of time as your anxiety loosens its grip. This is by no means a new technique. We can see from the past how this was applied to many different areas of living a successful life. The ancient Chinese martial arts such as aikido use this approach to self- defense. When faced with an attacker, initiates of these defense schools were taught that the greatest defense was never to engage in the first place.
Simply observe and walk away. Should an attack ensue after the path of non-resistance. The aggressor becomes harmless. The danger is disarmed. I describe fear simplistically—like an external force, an aggressor that pays you a visit. The truth is that it is all our own creation—a game we play with ourselves. The fear is an overreaction to bodily sensations. The method of accepting and observing has been written about in other cognitive approaches to dealing with anxiety, but that only makes up the first step of the One Move technique.
In itself, observation is nowhere near powerful enough to stop the attack in its tracks. Simply observing is like sitting immobile on the fence. It is the stance of neutrality, but you may have noticed in the past that being neutral towards the anxiety is not often enough.
To really eliminate panic attacks for good, you need an additional element. You need movement. That movement is internal and towards the anxiety and panic attack. Asking for more is such a movement. Because of its simplistic nature, it is a concept that is often dismissed or overlooked by medical professionals.
Do not be confused by the academic jargon used to explain your anxiety disorders. What psychologists and doctors do not explain to you is that the mechanism of anxiety is not a complex issue. Yes, the issues in your life or the chemical reactions in your body that bring about the initial anxiety may be complex, but being able to understand and then defuse the mechanism of anxiety is not a complex process.
It is simply an elaborate list of coping skills. You only need one step, one. That switch in thinking will get you the results you are looking for. Remember, the anxiety is not logical. Look at the fears that go through your mind; they have no basis for validity, nor do they follow reason or structure.
Panic attacks are flat out illogical; they do not make sense. There is no threat, and yet you still fear the sensations. What you need is an equally illogical solution. In this case, that means doing the opposite of what the logical mind has tried to do all along by fighting the anxiety. You need to implement the One Move.
When panic arises wherever you may be, simply start to observe it. Do not try and avoid or suppress the bodily sensations. Participate as much as possible in the experience, feel all the sensations as they course through your body.
Do not label the sensations as good or bad. Demand more of the unusual sensations. Stay with it. Repeat the process; keep moving toward the fear by asking for more. Within a short period of time your body will return to normal. That thought fires your synaptic pathways and launches the fight or flight response.
The original thought that launches the entire process comes from the unusual bodily sensations we talked about earlier. What causes this initial sensation is as varied as the people who experience them.
For some it is unresolved emotional issues, for others it is diet or bodily changes. The causes or origin of the sensations is not what concerns us right now; it is our reaction to these sensations that causes the anxiety and panic. So the thought fires in your mind that this is something out of your control. That something really bad is about to happen and you may suffer some terrible damage or even the most irreparable damage of all -death. These fearful thoughts spark the fuse of the imminent panic attack.
Wrap your whole mind around the technique and really go for it. The key difference between someone who is cured of panic attacks and those that are not is really very simple. They are not afraid of panic attacks. They see the bodily sensations as sensations and not something to overreact to. I am showing you how to be one of those people. The trick to ending panic and anxiety attacks is to want to have one.
Can you have a panic attack in this very second? Well that saying applies perfectly to fear. If you resist a situation or experience out of fear, the fear around that issue will persist. How do you stop resisting— you move directly into its path, by doing so it cannot persist.
In essence what that means is that if you daily voluntarily seek out a panic attack you cannot have one. You may not realise it but you have always decided to panic. To use a visual analogy; imagine having a panic attack is like standing on a cliff edge. The anxiety it seems is pushing you closer to falling over the edge.
Each unusual sensation confirms that something terrible is about to happen and you feel yourself being edged closer and closer to the abyss. There are two options open to you in this scenario. You can turn around and fight your way back to safe ground by using coping techniques and strategies you have learnt previously. You might seek reassurance from a friend or take a dose of medication to help you feel safer.
Basically you fight it. To be really free of the fear you must metaphorically jump. You must jump off the cliff edge that scares you so much and into all the things that you fear most. Your guaranteed safety is the fact that a panic attack will never harm you. That is medical fact. You are safe, the sensations are wild but no harm will come to you. Your heart is racing but no harm will come to you. The jump. You have all the safety harnesses you need, in that you never have had anything to fear in the first place.
The abyss that lay before you was an illusion. Trust that medical knowledge, feel assured by that- think of all the attacks you have had to date and come out the other end.
So now you are going to treat each and every anxious situation differently. You regularly seek out the panic attack like an adventure seeker. This seeking out the anxiety applies to when you feel yourself bang in the middle of an anxiety episode but it also helps to do it when you feeling fine and relaxed.
Begin right now and for the rest of the day. Go out actually hoping you will have a panic attack! Sounds a bit mad but try it.
Feel how empowering that new thinking is for you. Up until now you have dreaded its arrival but now you are chasing it.
The fear has nowhere to hide once the tables are turned. I want you to think of anxiety, as a bubble that surrounds us. When we are in that bubble of fear, our perception of things change and we feel our world getting smaller. We feel quite literally disconnected from the world around us as we look out at it through this bubble of fear. The bubble of fear distorts everyday scenarios. For some, something as simple as going shopping can become terrifying experiences.
The pin in this imagined scenario is the will or desire to challenge the panic attack, demanding more, calling its bluff. It is the confidence you have deep within yourself that moves you outwards past the bubble of fear and towards life. In this chapter, I want to give you some examples of how the One Move can be applied to various real life situations.
You may have a specific situation that causes you panic and are unsure how the technique can be applied appropriately. Hopefully, this chapter will clarify such issues. One of the more common questions I am asked is how to apply the One Move technique to cope with anxiety while driving. Ranging from fear of being caught in traffic to crossing waterway bridges, people have many different fears in this area.
Often the anxiety stems from a fear of being trapped in the vehicle in gridlock traffic or losing control of the vehicle and causing a collision. Needless to say, even though they may have been battling with a driving phobia for many years, almost all of the people I have consulted with have not had their fears of a mishap occur. If you have such concerns, the first important thing to begin with is a review of your driving history.
Have you been a reckless driver in the past? Have you a history of bad driving? Most phobic drivers in fact have clean driving records and have never even been in a minor road incident.
Anxious drivers are not a deadly hazard on the road; in fact, they. As we discussed previously when looking at the biology of anxiety, by virtue of his or her condition, an anxious driver has a high level of sensory alertness. This level of alertness keeps the driver aware of any potential hazards and focused on the task of driving, not daydreaming, chatting, or rooting around in the glove compartment.
This of course is not to suggest that anxious driving is the ideal way to commute, but I believe it is important to make this point because so many chastise themselves for being anxious in their cars.
If you are generally a good driver, then before you set out in your car take confidence in that and reaffirm that fact to yourself.
Acknowledging and reaffirming that you are a capable driver will go some way toward alleviating this concern. The second major concern of most phobic drivers is the fear of being trapped in the car in some manner. By this I mean, being caught in traffic, on busy three-laned motorways, on long bridges, or even stopping at red lights. When allowed to, the mind will run away with this fear and will imagine all kinds of deadly scenarios where you might feel cornered or trapped in your vehicle with no assistance available should you experience a major panic attack.
The important thing here is to curb these fears before they take root by offering yourself viable solutions to any of these scenarios and not letting your mind trick you into believing there is a trap ahead.
Give it some thought. Is there really any situation, such as the ones described above, where you truly are trapped with no means of escape? There is flow, and there is always an exit.
This may mean having to figure the exit out for yourself, but never let these thoughts corner you into thinking that there is no escape. When you counteract these fears with logical solutions, you undermine the control that fear holds over you.
You begin to see the bluff it is playing to keep you petrified of what could potentially happen out there in the traffic. Be careful not to let these thoughts trap your thinking. These drivers have no option but to put on the hazard lights and leave the vehicle.
There you are, that is an exit, albeit an extreme one; however, by using my technique, it never needs to come to that. In fact, you are going to learn how driving can actually be an enjoyable experience once again. I am going to show how to apply the One Move to driving scenarios. In this case, we are looking to defuse the panic attack while driving a car.
When driving a car, it is exactly the same procedure of using the One Move as described in the previous chapter except there is a degree of caution that is needed. I will explain. What I suggest is that you begin by taking the car out on practice run, possibly at night or on a Sunday when there is less traffic. Drive a route that you feel anxious about; this may be going beyond your safety zone or.
If you feel very nervous, begin with a smaller test. The important thing though is to challenge yourself with a route that causes you at least some degree of concern. You will not be long into the journey before the anxiety starts to manifest itself.
This anxiety may be low level, but if driving really is a problem, it will gradually manifest itself into feelings of panic. As you feel that panic arise, begin by encouraging the sensations. Feel how anxious your body feels. Get interested in the unusual sensations throughout your body and begin to forcefully encourage the attacks to increase in strength.
You are now challenging the anxiety to reveal itself. Move into the anxiety as much as possible. Your training is to take the car out on a test run in the hope to have an anxiety attack. That is your goal. Even before you have left home, you are chasing the anxiety by purposely setting out on the journey.
This is a turn of events because, as it makes you feel anxious, you normally prefer not to even think about driving.
The practice drives can be done with another person to begin with, but after more practice I recommend doing it alone as that is where true independence and freedom from the fear is found. If you always practice with another individual, then you may form an idea that it is your co- passenger that is letting you feel safe and not your new-found confidence.