The Secret to Outsmarting Panic and Anxiety Naturally
You want to be in control of your life, but when these two have so many ways of making your life miserable, all you can do is try and figure out how to deal with them.
Trying to manage anxiety and panic on their terms is like wearing inline skates.
Living in this hyper-vigilant way is exhausting.
So how about exchanging your inline skates for the old fashioned kind?
With its four wheels are set in a square, these skates give you a more stable foundation so you don’t have to work as hard to stay in control.
That’s what Make a Space, Feel the Loving Kindness, and Staying and Naming techniques do for you.
They help you create a foundation where you’ll be less affected by your anxiety and panic.
Why These Techniques Work
It all has to do with the way the neurons (nerve cells) in your brain process and transmit information.
The more often the same neurons communicate and connect together the better the connections work.
It’s the science behind habitual thinking and “Use it or lose it!”
Dr. Rick Hanson explains neural connections this way, “Neurons that fire together wire together.”
Though feeling anxious will encourage the neurons to fire and wire together, what escalates them doing so is when you
- get emotionally overwhelmed with anxiety,
- try to fight or resist the attacks, or
- become focused on your fears of triggering a panic or anxiety attack.
The good news is that you can change how neurons connect together by creating new connections.
Say Hooray for Neuroplasticity!
Your brain is amazingly flexible, and neurons that get wired together can be deliberately rewired to transmit different information.
The initial wiring happens automatically when you learn new things. The rewiring takes place when you consciously work at creating new habits to replace ones you no longer want.
The term that describes your brains’ flexibility in creating and recreating these neural connections is Neuroplasticity.
Self Directed Neuroplasticity is simply you deciding what things in your life you want to change or enhance.
On the one hand, it’s very easy to do. All you have to do is focus on the new habit or behavior that you want to create.
On the other hand, it does require you to practice doing that multiple times a day.
What you focus on many times a day creates stronger connections. What you ignore loses power over time.
I know it may be hard to imagine that you’ll ever be able to ignore your anxiety, and we both know there is no ignoring a panic attack.
If You Can’t Ignore It – Interrupt It!
Anxiety and panic attacks have a pattern that they follow. There’s a trigger and a reaction. The reaction may be almost immediate, or it may build slowly.
Too often we focus on the “why” of an attack rather than giving our attention to “how” the attack takes place.
Since each attack follows a pattern, you can disrupt or interrupt that pattern.
Pattern interruptions are used all the time, in all sorts of situations.
Parents with little kids are masters of using them. If you’ve ever watched Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer do his thing, you’ve seen him use them as well.
These three techniques can also help you interrupt or short-circuit your anxiety and panic attacks.
To learn the foundation techniques right now click here.
The first technique, Make a Space, is about creating a place of mental calm. When you take a few moments throughout your day to deliberately calm your mind, you begin the shift from reacting to responding.
Instead of reacting to everything around you, you begin learning how to take a step back so you can choose what you want to respond to and how you want to do so.
Victor Frankl an Austrian psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust puts it this way, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Taking a small bit of time to immerse yourself in the feeling of loving kindness allows you to
- get some breathing room,
- become more self-compassionate, and
- begin rebuilding your self-confidence.
The third technique, Staying and Naming, comes into play after you feel comfortable with using the Make a Space and Feel the Loving Kindness for a while.
It’s a more challenging technique because it requires you to create and stay in a safe space for a longer period of time, while you identify what you’re feeling in a non-judgmental and compassionate way.
Being compassionate and non-judgmental with yourself is not always easy to do. That’s why practicing Feel the Loving Kindness is so important.
With this technique, you begin getting in touch with the feelings anxiety is masking from you or using against you.
If You Change Nothing – Then Nothing About Your Anxiety Will Change
Anxiety and panic: negatively impact your self-esteem, cause you to doubt your abilities, and disconnect you from your body.
The three foundation techniques
- improve your self-esteem because you’re taking positive action,
- make you more confident because you’re able to use them immediately and successfully, and
- put you back in touch with your body.
When you’re able to respond rather than automatically reacting to anxiety and panic, they begin to lose power over you.
Though these techniques are simple to learn and easy to use, they have a huge impact when you make using them a part of your day.