Anxiety is imagining something dreadful may happen with such force that our whole body responds by going into the biological and physical Fight / Flight / Freeze response which is designed to help us survive clear and present danger. You can learn to manage your anxiety and greatly reduce it’s impact on your day-to-day life.
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Fritz Perls said “Anxiety is the tension between now and later’ (1976). I think anxiety is the tension between now and our imagined past and imaginary future. The key to reducing this tension is noticing what’s actually happening now; the best way to manage anxiety is to practice staying in the reality of this moment.
One of the ways in which panic attacks can be triggered is by developing a habit on ongoing and chronic anxiety. The habit of anxiety combines rumination and catastrophising. Rumination is worrying and stewing over thing, this BBC article is a really good explanation of it’s effect on mental health “Rumination: the danger of dwelling”., Catastrophising. is when you imagine the worst possible outcome, and then react to your imagined wreckage of the future as Healthline author Timothy Legg PHD writes in “Catastrophizing: What You Need to Know to Stop Worrying”
A panic attack is activated by massive doses of stress hormones — such as Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine. Panic attacks happen when we embody anxiety, in other words our bodies respond as if our thoughts are actual events unfolding in the here-and-now.
There are numerous self-help resources (www, books, audio books, groups, podcasts and apps.) Using these to self-regulate is always helpful. However self-help works best as a supplement to effective therapy. This is because self-help does not always deal with the root cause; it does not necessarily lead to personal and powerful insight into reactivity vs. response-ability. Therapy plus self-help is key to long-term relief from anxiety and panic attacks. want to know more? Contact me and let’s talk.