There are many excellent self-help techniques that will help you in recovery from panic. However, really conquering panic and anxiety requires you to go beyond technique and focus on changing your attitude. Experts in the field of panic and anxiety know that it is possible to get panic under control solely with attitude change without the use of techniques such as controlled breathing and relaxation skills. However, the reverse is not true. If you apply techniques without a shift in attitude it is likely that you will continue to struggle with anxiety and panic.
Most of us are familiar with medical immunizations, where we take in some of the causative agent in order to become immune to it. Likewise, these attitudes ask you to take in, get close to the things that you want to avoid. These attitudes ask you to stop doing things that seem instinctual to you in the face of panic. Instead face the panic, drop your guard and allow it to touch you. These attitudes apply to you especially when the things you have been trying haven’t been working for you. I will discuss two of the eight attitudes.
1. “I can’t let anyone know” transform it to ⇨ “ I am not ashamed”
It can be hard to let others know about our problems especially when we consider the stigma around mental health problems coupled with our feelings of shame at failing to get panic under control. However, panic requires you to work on building up your self-worth and self-confidence. When you feel like you have to hide your problems you naturally tighten up inside. You will try to contain it and not let it be seen. As you do this your panic will grow. In contrast when you start respecting yourself, you can begin to make decisions based on what will help you heal not what will protect you from other’s scrutiny. Supporting yourself and allowing others to support you through this tough time is the way to starve panic.
2. “Panic is evil and the enemy” transform it to⇨ “What can I learn from panic?”
It makes sense that we are angry and rejecting of something that causes us intense discomfort and has turned our lives upside down. However this attitude is not helping you overcome it but perpetuating it. This attitude shift asks you to move from an automatic reaction to a designed reaction. It asks you to add something to it not by taking your fear away. So, in the next situation you feel the panic or anxiety, be curious about it. What is it inviting you to be afraid of? What skills is it encouraging you to practice at this moment? Truly taking the attitude of a student is a way to stop resisting the panic and will move you towards health. As your defensiveness diminishes you completely change your relationship to panic and it can’t rule your body.