How to Beat Panic Attacks (part 1)

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • This is the first in a short series of shareposts to help you achieve mastery over what are commonly called panic or anxiety attacks. The program I'm about to recommend comes from my background as a psychologist. The techniques are based on a sound body of knowledge and proven clinical effectiveness.

     

    Learning to help yourself isn't always easy, but if you have a structure, some goals and the techniques to help you achieve these goals, you are well on the way to making positive changes in your life. You may find the toughest thing to tackle is your own attitude. The beliefs and attitudes you have about yourself and your experiences are of paramount importance. Therefore, to get the most from these shareposts, I'd like you to follow my advice in the order I give it. This is a process we will work through together. There are no short cuts and you can't hurry things along.

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    Let's start from an assumption that you have panic/anxiety attacks and/or levels of anxiety that intrude into your life. Let's also assume that you recognize these for what they are, i.e. with your doctor, you have ruled out any physical (disease) for which your psychological state could be a symptom. If you haven't done this, I recommend you see your doctor first.

     

    Before we can tackle your monster we need to know more about what makes it tick. This first activity involves some simple record keeping about your daily life. It is a diary of sorts, but one in which you will both record and rate your mood changes, your moments of high anxiety or panic and the high and low points in your day. So, grab plenty of paper or open a file on your pc to be dedicated to the task, and follow these few instructions:

     

    • Give your diary/log/file a name. This may sound obvious but here's a chance to label your condition in any way you like. Winston Churchill used to call his depression ‘black dog'. I've heard rather more fruity descriptions about panic disorder, but you call yours what you like.
    • Give yourself sufficient space for a full four weeks of record keeping. Yes, I know you'd like to press ahead but you've already been living with your situation for some time so a few more days spent doing this will not be wasted.
    • Give yourself some time at the end of each day to complete your diary. Do this in the following way:
      - rate your day on a score of 1-5. 1 can represent the ‘worst possible day' and 5 can be ‘a great day'.
      - now make notes about why you gave your day the rating you did.
      - if you had a panic attack, write a few notes about what led up to it, how you felt, how long it lasted and how you coped.
      - Be completely honest with yourself. Only you will read your diary and only you will evaluate what you have said. A sentence or two for each day will be adequate.

    That's all you need to do for now. As I said earlier, there is no benefit from trying to force the pace. A four week diary should be enough, but if you think you'd benefit from recording things for a while longer then go ahead and do so.

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    How to Beat Panic Attacks: Part 2

Published On: July 29, 2008