The 4 Keys to Overcoming a Panic Attack

Filed in Stress & Anxiety by on August 13, 2013 0 Comments

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Most Type As do not suffer from panic attacks, and if you have never had one, then good for you. Count yourself blessed. However, I have observed that people with Type A personalities are prone to these attacks, likely due to their hard-driving and controlling personalities.

Unfortunately for me, I have been a lifelong sufferer from panic attacks. After much reading and introspection, I have been able to manage them very effectively, to the point where I almost never have a panic attack, or if I do, it is mild, short-lived, and uneventful.

This is good news for me, obviously. It is also good news for you, since you can benefit and learn from my experience!

I will write more articles on the subject of panic attacks, but I want to share some key thoughts in this first article to help you right away. If you are experiencing a panic attack, the following 4 attitudes and behaviors will help you overcome it:

  1. “I’m not going to die.” I have never read or heard of a case where a panic attack sufferer died from it. Your brain might be flashing this warning, but your thinking is irrational on this point. You will live.
  2. “There is no real emergency.” The fact of the matter is that panic attack sufferers have an easily triggered “fight or flight response,” which simply means that your brain is prone to perceiving and responding to a false emergency as though it were a real one. As an example, when you are simply uneasy by being, say, in a crowded theater, your mind may react to this mild discomfort with irrationally high levels of fear. Re-interpret the situation for what it really is: uncomfortable, but not terrifying.
  3. “I can control my muscles.” You might think and feel as though you must physically respond to these panicky thoughts, by, say, running out of the theater, but you can, in fact, control your muscles and not respond in this way. Believe me, it works.
  4. “I don’t care what people think.” This is deceptively simple, yet important. It is critical that you do not bring social concern and embarrassment into the equation; otherwise it will greatly heighten your level of anxiety. Does it really matter if a family member or friend knows that you are having or had a bout of anxiety? I will explore this critical concept in much greater detail in later articles.

These thoughts have worked for me and I hope they allow you to begin to be able to put panic attacks in their rightful and less intimidating perspective.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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