Last week we took a look at how we can stop a panic attack in progress. Remember we must first identify what a panic attack is before we can even realize we are experiencing one. Once we understand we are feeling the symptoms of anxiety leading into a panic attack we can implement our prepared practices for controlled breathing, understanding where we are, what is around us and most importantly understanding we need to SLOW OURSELVES DOWN!!!
The most important factor for making this happen is to realize feeling anxiety is not only perfectly normal but chances are, other people are feeling a level of anxiety as well. Chances are if we are meeting someone new, if we are trying something we have never tried before, if we are facing a challenging experience – that makes us uncomfortable. Those are all examples of situations where feeling anxiety is not only perfectly normal but if we manage to allow ourselves to exist in the feelings of anxiety, we will overcome our worst fear: ourselves.
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Realize something, it took a while for this habitual feeling of anxiety and even panic attacks to develop so needless to say it will take a little time for the habit to disappear. The important thing to realize is although it will take some effort to break ourselves out of the pattern behavior that exists it can happen. (Tomkins, 2013). Much like an athlete performs in the arena after a period of preparation we must prepare ourselves to embrace the world in an unfiltered and authentic way based on our naturally occurring behavior. No safe-spaces, no bully-zones, no shame and no people-pleasing – just “what you see is what I am.”
So how do we prevent future panic attacks? It’s actually quite simple, we reverse-engineer the panic attacks to the point they are under better control. Now understand I do not personally believe anxiety or an overload of emotions can ever be eliminated, I mean lets be realistic here. But I believe these feelings of anxiety are controllable if the proper amount of attention and focus is given to the issue.
Trainwrecks if you feel you are affected by awkwardness, a failure to accomplish your goals and a general feeling of anxiety I want you to know you are perfectly normal. If you have reached a point of frustration or just want to know more about your potential to be who you really want to be and would like to explore your options in modifying your behavior through a professional coaching program, contact me for a free consultation. We will not only address what you feel your shortcomings may be, but identify one very important thing: who YOU are according to YOU! Please contact me via DJBeautifulTrainwreck@gmail.com for a free consultation and we will explore how we can closer align your lifestyle to your ideal self.
Reverse engineering a panic attack is a little bit of a daunting task at first, however I assure you not only is it possible but with practice it can become a normal part of your everyday behavior. You see, anxiety is our body’s natural response to unfamiliar and potentially dangerous environmental conditions. When we feel anxiety, it is not the actual feeling of anxiety that creates our habits and how we handle our stressors, it is how we choose to respond to those feelings that will create our habits when we feel stress. The feelings of anxiety are uncomfortable and human instinct is to attack or flee from things that make us uncomfortable in our typical “fight or flight” response. So how do we prevent a future panic attack from building? Well, realizing our response to anxiety is key.
If we are in a group situation such as a party and we are feeling anxiety because for whatever stupid reason we seem to give a fuck what we are convincing ourselves others are thinking about us, we can embrace those feelings of awkwardness and realize EVERYONE ELSE feels a similar feeling of social anxiety. That includes the jolly guy cracking up and telling jokes (he processes his anxiety in a more productive way), the “tough guy” screaming at the sports team playing on television, the pretty girl at the bar all dolled up who is trying to ignore the awkward attention she receives from males who legitimately try to act normal around her but can’t get past their own unrealistic expectations of this female (this is a VERY common source of social anxiety), even the bearded guy typing away on his computer amidst curious onlookers in a crowded local bar (Barzegar & Barzegar, 2017). The awkwardness and anxiety I am feeling is actually very therapeutic because I can submit to the feelings of being “different.”
When I finally submitted to the fact, I am very different than most other males my age and demographic I felt incredibly free. Just like all of you, my experiences have molded what you see before you. You do not see what I see in the mirror. My scars, my stretchmarks, my weaknesses and my imperfections. My insecurities. My failures.
I am able to focus and study my coursework when I am in a crowded bar because I now exist in what was once my advantage and then became my fear. I had to find that advantage again. Existing in that place where we are doing something odd like daring to enjoy our own thing no matter where we go and regardless of what others around us might think is a powerful thing.
I realize like everyone else in this world, people will act toward me based on how they are feeling, not how I am feeling. Thus, my reaction will be based on what it is that I am feeling. If I make the decision to remain calm and friendly despite the anxiety going on upstairs in my head I can train myself to stay non-reactive until it is an appropriate time to react (and hopefully make a positive impression). When I feel social anxiety and awkwardness, I remind myself of where I am and not where my anxiety is taking me. When we feel anxiety, our minds will take us to a dark place. The dark place we go when we experience deep layers of our traumatic experiences. Often this anxiety is based on what we experience with the presence of curious onlookers. More often than not when we tell ourselves others are looking at us and judging us as “not good enough,” it is nothing more than someone looking at us with curiosity and WE do not have the appropriate reference experiences to allow ourselves to be comfortable with OURSELVES warranting the attention of a random stranger. Often the negative connotations we experience are nothing more than us telling ourselves “this person thinks I’m weird because…”
STOP GIVING A FUCK WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU
We react to our anxiety the way we do based on the greatest sum of our reference experiences in relation to what is in front of us. A clear example of this is when we drive a car down the road every day. The first year or so of driving that vehicle, we most likely felt a general pang of anxiety every time another vehicle drove past. In time we feel less anxiety about driving toward another 4,000+ lb automobile within close proximity of ourselves because the experience has become normalized and a part of our everyday experience. We stop caring as much about the other vehicle coming toward us and the massive impact it could create if our vehicles met because it is no longer within our reticular activating system, (our selective focus). When we operate our motorized vehicles on the road we typically only subconsciously concentrate on keeping our vehicle from crossing the yellow line and hitting the on-coming vehicle. We only make reactionary decisions in regard to the our environment when something affects our current speed or safety and realize that is what we can do to keep from having an accident.
When we drive our vehicles within close proximity of another one, we aren’t really paying attention to what WE can do to avoid disaster. We are essentially allowing the world to do it’s own thing regardless of where we are going and we sort of become temporary travel companions with the other random occupants on the road. We are making ourselves present to driving our vehicles safely as well as we can and realizing the difference between our actions and the actions of others (Katerndahl, 2003). This general indifference we typically feel while we are driving is accessible in almost everything that we do, depending upon how much effort we are willing to put in to create the necessary reference experiences (practice) that will allow us the non-reactive experience in life we deserve. My level of agoraphobia I feel everyday is an aggregate of both reference experiences as well as my presence to a situation.
So, let’s have a discussion! Make sure you smash that LIKE button as you comment below.
- What are ways you have identified to cope with feelings of anxiety and fear?
- What are some ways you have avoided situations to the point it has affected your enjoyment with life?
- What are some meditative practices you implement or intend to implement in your daily life?
Leave your comments below and join in the discussion.
Let’s smash our way right past our awkwardness and social anxiety! Through a little bit of pain and initial discomfort we can lessen the effects of social pressure by facing our fears head-on and not accepting the regular status quo we’ve grown used to. We can do this!
You’re Welcome. Internet.
Ankrom, S. (2019). DSM-5 Criteria for Diagnosing Panic Disorder. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/diagnosing-panic-disorder-2583930
Barzegar, K., & Barzegar, S. (2017). Chess therapy: A new approach to curing panic attack. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 30, 118–119.
Katerndahl, D. (2003). Initial Care Seeking for Panic Attacks. Psychiatric Services, 54(8), 1168.
Tompkins, M. A. (2013). Anxiety and avoidance. [electronic resource] : a universal treatment for anxiety, panic, and fear. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
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