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Who can really help you stop the fear of panic attacks?
If you’re suffering from panic attacks and or general anxiety, almost always, you’re also dealing with frequent occurrence of anxious thoughts. And, I believe you’re always looking for something or someone that can help you stop them entirely for good. You must be wondering, “who can really help me stop this fear of panic attacks?”
But, you know what?
Actually, it’s the fear of having another episode of panic attacks, that’s haunting you. Without you realize it, your continuous fearful reaction further intensifies your experience. The more you react, the stronger the fear grows in your awareness creating more anxious shockwaves throughout your body. This is the typical cycle of anxious thoughts.
The fact is, panic attacks are part of the human mind’s “fight or flight” biological mechanism, designed for our survival. So, they’re there for a good reason. Everyone experiences them.
Panic attacks will never harm you. That is a medical fact.
You are safe!
Yes, the sensations are wild, frightening and uncomfortable, but no harm will come to you.
Yet, if not treated properly, sometimes panic attacks can further develop into panic disorder. In the U.S. alone, 2 – 3% of Americans in a given year are suffering from panic disorder.
One thing for sure, this intense anxious thinking of having another episode of panic attacks, is all happening in your mind. They’re your thoughts. So, only YOU can change them.
So, to answer the question in the title, YOU are the only one who can really help YOU stop the fear of panic attacks.
Before we start, please note, we’re not giving you any medical advice. If you’re on medication, please always consult your doctors or other qualified healthcare providers for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Please read our disclaimer.
Table of Contents
How do panic attacks manifest?
According to Barry McDonagh, panic attacks manifest in 4 steps:
- Step 1
Almost everyone’s first panic attack is triggered by an unusual bodily sensation. Anxiety-related bodily sensations usually arise out of the blue and trigger intense confusion and fear. Common bodily sensations people report are a pounding heart, tightness of chest or throat, shortness of breath, a dizzy spell, and pins and needles. Whatever the sensation, it is alarming and you react with fear as you dread something bad is about to happen to your body. You might wonder, “Is this a heart attack?”
- Step 2
If you continue to overreact with fear and confusion to the sensations you feel, your body’s fight or flight response mechanism is switched on. This is the biological mechanism that is designed to keep you safe from real threats like being chased by a lion. It is the mixture of this biological mechanism with your not knowing what is happening to you, that triggers a FULL BLOWN panic attack.
- Step 3
Eventually, the waves of panic subside once the fight or flight response deactivates. The problem is, you still feel totally freaked out by what just happened and very much on edge because of all the chemicals that were released during the panic attack. This feeling of sensitization and general anxiety can last for hours after a panic attack.
- Step 4
It is now the fear of another panic attack (fear of fear) that keeps you trapped in an anxious state of mind. You think avoidance is the best way to prevent further panic attacks, and that leads you to avoid situations or places that might trigger another episode.
Barry McDonagh is the creator of the Panic Away self-help program and the author of a 5-star best-selling book “Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks”. He was a long-time sufferer of panic attacks and general anxiety who has succeeded in breaking his own panic loop and eventually is free from it.
Learn more about the Panic Away program here.
Read my review of the program here.
More about Barry McDonagh here.
More about panic attack symptoms here.
Because you are constantly on the lookout for the next panic attack, your body stays anxious and sensitized. This tension creates more anxious bodily sensations, looping you back to step 1. The panic loop is now established.
You can see, how one incident of a panic attack can trap a person into a continuous loop of panic and anxiety. This loop can last weeks or years, depending on the help a person receives.
The bottom line is, the fear of fear (of having another panic attack) establishes the panic loop which makes anyone suffering from panic attacks trapped in this seemingly never-ending cycle.
But, you can change this pattern by BREAKING THE PANIC LOOP!
How do you break the panic loop?
If you can stop the process from reaching step 2, essentially, you break the panic loop.
How can you break this panic loop?
Barry teaches how to break the panic loop using his unique 21-7 Technique™ in the Panic Away program to stop the panic attack manifestation process at step 1. Therefore, it will never reach step 2 thus breaking the loop.
For now, let’s discuss the simple yet effective way to eliminate the fear or the anxious thoughts you have to deal with following the episodes.
Apply this easy 4-step technique to end the anxious thoughts
How to begin?
When you start experiencing anxious thoughts, do not try to force the thoughts away! This is VERY IMPORTANT!
Instead, let the thoughts in. Try to become comfortable with them. The more you’re comfortable the better. You need to understand that these thoughts will never completely go away. But, you can learn to change your reaction to them.
This is the first step to becoming free from your anxious thoughts.
Everybody experiences fleeting anxious thoughts that many would consider scary. Most people who are not suffering from panic attacks or general anxiety see them for exactly what they are and casually ignore them.
The anxious person, on the other hand, is at a disadvantage because they already have a certain level of anxiety in their system as the result of past episodes. These thoughts easily spark feelings of further anxiety which builds into a cycle of fear.
You can break this cycle by changing the way you react to them.
Now, whenever you experience a sudden fearful thought, instead of reacting in the old way, either giving in or rejecting it…
…this time, however, try to OBSERVE it.
Say to yourself: “Ok, this is a fear of … I could worry or obsess over but, this time I’m going to do something different. I’m not going to react to it. I’m also not going to try and stop it either. I’m just going to LABEL the thought and not react.”
Then the thought comes again with more intensity and possibly with new ‘scary’ angles you never considered. When this happens you do exactly the same. As if you were observing a cloud passing overhead, you simply:
- Observe it,
- Label it (fear of whatever), then
- Watch it as it passes by with no judgment.
- Move on, pay your attention back to what you were doing.
OBSERVE, LABEL, WATCH, MOVE ON
Instill this as your new habit, a new way of reacting whenever anxious thoughts creep in.
See the anxious thought for what it really is: one of the thousands of fleeting sane and insane thoughts every one of us experiences daily.
By practicing this approach you gradually stop reacting with fear to the thought and you learn to treat it as nothing more than an uncomfortable experience.
Additional step: ask for more
After habituating the above steps for a while and you feel you’re comfortable with the exercise, then try this additional step:
Actually, invite one of your more regular fears in!
Call the fear to come to you, say you just want it to come close so you can observe it.
It may seem like the last thing you would wish to bring upon yourself, as you don’t particularly enjoy these thoughts but this approach can be very empowering. It has been proven very effective. You are now calling the shots. Yes, you actually invite the fear in!
By doing this, you’re discharging the energy of the fear surrounding the anxious thought. It was your resistance, the idea that you cannot handle these thoughts, that is sustaining the fear.
Have you ever heard the saying, “what you resist persists?”
When you say to yourself, “Yes, I can handle this,” the fear quickly dissipates.
The 21-7 Technique™ Barry teaches in his program is made up of two essential parts:
- Stopping panic attacks in 21 seconds.
- Reducing the feelings of general anxiety in 7 minutes.
Combined, it completely breaks the panic loop and effectively ends anxiety disorder.
The 4-step technique for eliminating anxious thoughts above is only a part of his comprehensive solution.
The key takeaways
- Panic attacks are part of the human mind’s “fight or flight” natural mechanism.
- Panic attacks won’t harm you. You’re safe.
- Anxious thoughts that often trigger panic attacks happen in your mind. They’re your thoughts. Therefore, the only person that can get you out of those anxious thoughts is YOU.
- The panic attack manifests in 4 steps in which it creates a panic loop that traps you in a cycle of fear.
- By changing how you react to your anxious thoughts, you can stop the panic manifestation at step 1 from ever reaching step 2 thus breaking the panic loop.
- Practice and habituate the 4-step technique above to eliminate your anxious thoughts.
More about Panic Away here.
Read my review here.
Get a taste of how the Panic Away program works
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- End Anxious Thoughts in 4 Easy Steps
- Causes of Panic Attacks
- Eliminate Anxiety and Panic Attacks for Good
- Why Distraction Helps Ease Anxiety
- Do You Fear the Arrival of Another Panic Attack?
- Stop Panic Attacks Without Medication
- How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety Naturally
- Gratitude Lifts the Weight of Anxiety
- Courage and Panic Attacks
- Setbacks Happen on the Road to Recovery