Panic attacks are a curious phenomenon. People who are unfortunate enough to experience them often feel that they are unwitting victim, like they have no control over how or when a panic attack will strike. The irony of this is that they, themselves are subconsciously triggering them.

If you have experienced an attack, you’ll likely recall (with unpleasant clarity) your first encounter with panic. Undoubtedly, as you began to experience strange sensations in your body, you began to become fearful of what was happening. This, in turn, caused you to try to resist those fealings with all your might. The more scared you got, the more scared you got, until you were in a full blown panic attack.

This spiraling thought process may not have been very apparent at the time because it was the first time you had gone through such an experience, but in subsequent attacks, the process was probably a bit more clear (though you were not likely to be analyzing it at the time.) Having gone through the first panic attack, upon the slightest trigger, you feared going through another.

It goes something like this:

Perhaps you feel a strange twinge of an usual sensation. Maybe you are going into a situation that you fear may cause you anxiety. Whatever the initial trigger, something makes you feel just a bit like you did during that horrible first panic attack. You then begin to try to fight off those anxious feelings.

You worry more and more that if you can’t stop this, you will have to go through another episode of panic. All that anxiety over trying to avoid the whole thing then causes your heart to beat more rapidly. This is alarming because it means a panic attack is starting. That is, of course, frightening so your heart beats faster and harder as you feel the adrenaline surge through your body.

The more frightened you become, the more your body reacts with frightening sensations. Your chest tightens. Your extremities become numb or tingly. You feel dizzy. God forbid, your heart skips a beat (in your mind, a sure sign of impending doom.)

You see, through this whole process, your mind creates the next level of anxiety based on your body’s reaction to each previous level of anxiety. Because you know how frightening the experience can be, you want desperately to avoid the situation. You try to use thoughts against your thoughts.

The trick in that situation is not to fight against your thoughts and feelings, but to accept that what you’re feeling will not hurt you. An anxiety attack is just your body’s reaction to the fear of fear. Nothing else.

By fighting your body’s reactions you, in a way, acknowledge that you do not feel in control of your body’s reactions and thoughts. In order to truly be in control you must learn to understand that what you are feeling is natural and safe. Though you might feel like you’re going to die or at least pass out, you’re just experiencing the effects of adrenaline.

Though it seems quite contradictory, the key to stop anxiety attacks is learning to accept them, not fight them. In doing so, you break the thought cycle that causes them in the first place. You take the power away from the anxiety attack and put it back where it belonged all the time, with yourself!

To learn more about the techniques you can use to stop the thought cycle that causes panic attacks and to regain control of your life visit

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