“Imagine the calmer you, the inner you that knows life can be better.”- Selma Lewis
The woman show host looked at me expectantly as the commercial finished and asked me a question— I couldn’t hear her, it was like I was underwater and her question came to me blurrily from somewhere far in the distance. Even though I knew what I wanted to talk about, I couldn’t even speak my name— only a wisp of a voice came out. With my heart-beat racing, and my breath erratic, I wondered how I did this to myself...
Can you imagine finding yourself in an on the air radio studio and being tongue tied, struck by panic and frozen with stage fright? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t, because panic attacks and anxiety attacks can take many forms and be triggered by many things— they have to be assessed case by case. In this post, we explore:● What panic attacks are, specifically, and how they differ from anxiety attacks.
In comparison to anxiety attacks, which can build in intensity due to external situations such as work stress and driving in heavy traffic— panic attacks appear suddenly and with great intensity without warning. Panic attacks can come with many symptoms such as:● Fear of dying
Panic attacks, like anxiety attacks, can occur anytime and anywhere, both frequently and infrequently, immobilizing you from taking any further action.
You can experience both anxiety and a panic attack at the same time too. For example, when the radio show panic attack occurred, I was in graduate school, and it hit me out of the blue. I was stressed and anxious leading to the event but it was during the radio show interview that the onset of panic overtook me.
It was a humiliating experience as the host ended the segment and took pity on me. I made the decision that I wasn’t good enough to speak anywhere, turning down many opportunities. Over the years, I realize it wasn’t my intelligence that failed me—it was my ability to manage stress— one of the key causes of my anxiety and panic attacks.
For me, it was accumulated stress in my life. For others it could be witnessing traumatic events as a child or an adult, dealing with physical health challenges (e.g. chronic disease), or substance abuse.
Some research suggests that it is a fight-flight response to a perceived danger, even though in many cases, there is no rational threat to safety such as being in the presence of a grizzly bear, for example.
But regardless of the cause, I (and many of my clients) have come to discover that you can tame your anxious thoughts, make your brain a friend, and use your energies to express excitement and excellence, not overwhelm, panic, or anxiety.
I am a trained psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist. Over the decades of working with 1000s of patients, I have been repeatedly impressed at how quickly the simplest mind techniques and practices can be for calming fears, reducing anxieties, preventing panic attacks, and instilling a sense of lasting calm, peace, and confidence. Here are some effective ways to reduce and prevent panic attacks:● Hypnosis— some hypnotic exercises are so seemingly simply you might even scoff thinking it can help you— try this 5-minute force field technique, for example.
Think about where these practices would fit in your life and start today!
Thank you for reading, and have a great life :)