Stop the Panic
If you ever had a panic attack, you know how scary they can be. Anyone who has had an attack wants to know what causes them and why they happen. For many people, an anxiety attack is due to anticipatory anxiety – worrying about the future and even creating a story of what the future would look like based on fear and other emotions such as anger, being hurt, sad, etc. The story can also be based on past experiences or past anxiety attacks.
Another reason we have anxiety attacks when we least expect it or in safe places like at home or at a social event are because of our thoughts. I have had clients who have had attacks at home in their bed while trying to go to sleep. They can’t understand why they would have an attack at that moment. They are safe in their bed but when we shut off our TV, Technology and sitting in the dark trying to fall asleep, that’s when our inner clutter starts. And for many, it can be very negative. Pay attention to what you are thinking, your thoughts can make you anxious, worried and upset. A lot of times it’s our unconscious thoughts that cause us to have an attack.
When we are in the panic attack, we usually ask ourselves over and over: “Why?” Unfortunately, this isn’t very helpful. We can ask why repeatedly but never get an answer, we are already so anxious and in a state of panic, that you can’t find or see the answer at that moment. The other factor is when you ask yourself why, you are usually already upset, angry or scared so you won’t get an answer, you will just get more and more upset, angry and fearful that you can’t find the answer.
Instead of “Why” ask yourself:
What is going on at this moment? Pay attention to what you are feeling and thinking. Be self-aware, conscious in the moment. Don’t be in the past or the future.
How should I respond? What has worked for you before? What self-soothes you? Calms you?
*Remember, panic attacks always end. They are temporary.
Reasons for Panic Attacks – you can take control by understanding the reasons behind your anxiety attacks and act to move forward.
1. It could be your genetics. You can ask your family members to see if its inherited.
2. Childhood- You could have had situations that caused you to be anxious such as death of a loved one, severe illness or injury, addiction, divorce, etc. Were you the nurturer as a child and put in a situation that you had to take care of adults even though you were the child? Did you watch your parents be anxious or have anxiety attacks? You could have learned the behavior. All learned behavior can be changed. It takes work, but it is possible. We can Re-train our brain to go from negative to positive.
3. Adulthood- for many it’s growing up. It’s the fear of becoming an adult- getting a job, paying bills, mortgage, marriage, etc. These fears are normal. Ask yourself: Do I have a support system to help me through this challenging time? Would talking with a counselor be helpful? Mentor? Am I setting up realistic expectations? Am I living my true life?
4. Stress – are you going through a stressful time in life? Did you go through a series of bad events? Experience loss? Major changes/transitions? Be kind and compassionate to yourself through these tough times. Life is a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs, you will have a mix of good and bad times, it’s how you embrace change.
Diane Lang Bio― Therapist, Educator and Life Coach
As a Therapist, Educator and Positive Living Expert, Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally.
Through her three books, “Creating Balance & Finding Happiness”, “Baby Steps: the Path from Motherhood to Career” and “ Mindfully Happy- waking up to life.” Diane has been speaking and empowering people nationwide. She is also an Adjunct in Psychology at Montclair State University, where her college work includes mentoring students for personal issue advisement.
As an expert in her fields of therapy, Lang has been featured in the Daily Record, Family Circle, Family Magazine, Working Mother Magazine and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV, Good day CT, Style CT, The Veira Network, CBS TV and “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet.