Anxiety and Panic
Panic usually exhibits four distinct phases:
1. You make unrealistic self statements that keep you in a constant state of alarm. Your body tenses in the flight or fight reaction: your heart beats faster. You feel short of breath you have butterflies in your stomach, and so on. This chronic state of arousal makes you sensitised to any hint of possible danger. Sensitisation means your nerves are on a hair trigger. The least hint of any possible danger can set of panic.
2. You begin to fear the fear itself as your body becomes more sensitised and you begin to anticipate panic attacks. You try to avoid them at all cost. Now you have a new fear you not only fear your boss’s criticism you all so dread the symptoms that fear causes in your body.
3. You reject your own feelings as your fear of fear escalates. You hate experiencing the symptoms of your fear: the pounding heart, the dizziness, the shortness of breath, the trembling legs, the lump in your throat, the hot or cold sweats and the confusion you feel in your mind. You resist and fight against anything unusual happening in your body. You hyperventilate.
4. You avoid any situation, person or anything that evokes the feeling of anxiety. What started as nervousness when walking empty streets becomes avoidance of going anywhere alone. What started as anxious thoughts when talking to the boss becomes avoidance of work altogether. What started as painful shyness at parties becomes avoidance of every social contact.
Fortunately there is a way to cope with this nightmare of anxiety and panic, Hypnosis can help you relax replacing irrational beliefs with new responses and shut off anxious feelings instead of intensifying them.
The major cause of panic
Every symptom you experience during a panic attack is a natural harmless part of your body’s fight or flight reaction. All panic symptoms are the direct result of the hormone adrenaline which is released by your adrenal glands when you perceive that you are in danger. Adrenaline is metabolised in your body in less than three minutes; its effects can go away just as quickly. Therefore, if you can stop your catastrophic predications, your panic attack will be over entirely within three minutes. This means that your anxiety need never last more than three minutes. But it is necessary to stop the loop of catastrophic predictions you find yourself thinking. The crucial step is to contest and refute any catastrophic predictions you find yourself making about your panic symptoms.
Hypnotherapy will help you look at how your panic symptoms arise and reprogramme your way of thinking.
The symptom of Heart racing during the fight or flight response your pulse speeds up to a rate of 120 to 130 beats per minute. During this you can have an elevated heart rate for several hours without any health consequences. If you are worried about your heart have a check up. Then knowing your heart is OK you can tell yourself when you feel your heart beating fast that my heart could beat like this for several weeks and be just fine.
Feelings of dizziness are the product of hyperventilation. It goes away when you can slow down your breathing, sometimes tension in your neck or jaw can affect your inner ear and because dizziness’s this also goes away when you relax. It is almost impossible to faint during a panic attack. The fight or flight reaction is actually the opposite of the fainting response. So when you feel dizzy remind yourself this will pass when I relax and slow my breathing.
Shortness of breath is caused by tightness in the diaphragm this causes you to take short quick breaths into the top of your lungs when you feel fear. The solution is to take slow deep breaths while focusing on the full exaltation of air. Say to yourself slowly I am breathing out the old air and taking a new deep breath in.
Your legs feel weak like jelly – this is caused by blood pooling in the veins of your thigh muscles. The fight or flight response pushes the blood into your extremities to prepare you to run. The weakness is an illusion, because the blood is actually making your legs ready to move and move quickly. When blood collects in your legs in arresting state, it produces a subjective feeling of heaviness and weakness. When this happens tell yourself this is just my legs preparing to run and they are stronger than usual right now.
You feel as though you can’t swallow freely – when you are anxious you could swallow if you had to open your mouth and fake a yawn, tell yourself I am yawning away the tension in my throat.
You feel hot or cold – these symptoms are caused rising blood pressure and changes in your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. All of these changes are of the fight or flight response and will stop when you stop telling yourself the worst will happen, tell yourself this will pass in a few minutes.
You feel confusion and cannot think straight – fuzziness and an inability to think are caused by hyperoxgenation and a high concentration of blood into the large muscles. It’s part of your body’s automatic preparation for flight or fight these feelings can be relieved by slow deep breathing and reminding yourself that these symptoms are natural and harmless and that I can cope because it will pass in a few minutes.