Anxiety can be good or bad depending on how you deal with it. You can even benefit from it if you improve mental clarity.
Recall a recent panic attack. What were you thinking at that time? Pay attention to the way you reacted and the sensations you felt. Is what happened a real catastrophe, or is it just about being frightened?
Did you feel any of the following?
- Racing heart
These sensations can be scary in themselves and make you think that your health or sanity is threatened, but were you really in danger?
Evaluate the Threat
It’s likely that you felt uncomfortable sensations because you were anxious and not because your health was in peril. It’s also possible that you have been worrying about something that was harmless or non-existent all along.
Whenever you experience these again, tell yourself that these are normal and will soon pass.
Learn more about the things that trigger your panic. What were the thoughts, sensations, or circumstances involved? Why did they make you feel that way? Take another look at it and ask if your panic was justified. Try to react differently the next time you encounter them.
It helps to catch the panic early before your fears have escalated. Keep your reactions under your control so they do not escalate the problem. To give yourself peace of mind, keep a phone with emergency numbers in it so you can call for help when you really need to.
Calm Yourself Down
Control your breathing – your breath affects what you feel, so if you breathe slower, you will feel calmer. Do this with the intention of becoming more serene. You can also imagine or recall peaceful scenes.
Turn your attention to something else instead of focusing on the things you fear or what is happening to you. Be busy, talk with others, move about, or think of another thing. The conscious mind has a limited capacity. If you occupy it with your chosen target, it will be unable to churn up worrying ideas.
If there really is a problem and it’s not just you worrying too much, ask yourself first: is there anything you can do about it? Work out what you could do. Perform the action immediately if you can. If you can’t do something right now, plan what to do and when to do it.
If you can’t do something about it right now or ever, stop worrying about it and distract yourself. Worry is an emotion that is designed for action. It’s useful even if it’s uncomfortable because it motivates you to solve a problem or evade a threat. But, if it just makes you ill, drop it.
Reduce your stress and overall level of anxiety. Perform relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and mild exercises. Avoid stressors that you don’t need to deal with. Learn to say no to toxic people and situations. The longer you are stressed, the more prone you are to developing anxiety, so minimize your stress levels when you can.
Always remember that your emotions are a result of what you think about. Strive to improve mental clarity during anxiety. Be more aware of your thoughts and how they make you react. Change them when you can so that they are more realistic and helpful. When your anxiety is justified, turn it into a motivating force instead of a debilitating burden.
Source: Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide by Gillian Butler, Ph.D. and Tony Hope, M.D.