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HOW TO STOP WORRYING THOUGHTS & PANIC ATTACKS
Worrying is a habit and like all habits it can be unlearned. When you notice you are starting to worry or feel anxious, try these ideas :
1. Be aware that it is happening - thoughts (and perhaps images) are going round and round in your mind, and you are becoming anxious.
2. Freeze the frame and say 'STOP', followed by a short coping statement (such as 'does it really matter?' or 'forget it!'). You can ‘ping’ an elastic band on your wrist to remind you!
3. Use the simple 5 breaths technique. Breathe in slowly and deeply (shoulders stay down) and then out slowly. Let your body relax downwards as you breathe out and think 'let go' or 'melt' as you do it. Sounds too simple - but it really does work.
4. Examine your thoughts - exactly what are you thinking? Then challenge them. Are they logical, true etc? Is there some action you can take about whatever is bothering you? What happened just beforehand (images, thoughts, feelings). What would a good friend say to you now?
5. Shift your focus - recall a positive, happy emotion (imagine your favourite time or place..anything). Develop that feeling or image so that it becomes an even stronger feeling, a bigger picture. Turn the ‘volume’ up on the emotion. Continue with the breathing at the same time.
6. Centre yourself. Concentrate on a point a few inches below the navel. Samurai used this to remain calm but alert.
7. Change your state simply by moving – swing or shake arms/legs, dance.. just do something physical.
8. Shift from ‘focused’ vision to peripheral vision, in other words looking straight ahead, but becoming more aware of the areas to the sides of you. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (therefore combats stress). You will find your jaw probably relaxes automatically when you do this, but help it along anyway.
9. Write it down. Very therapeutic, it really helps to get your thoughts outside where you can see them. Especially useful if you can’t sleep because of those endless worrying thoughts.
10. Do - don't stew. If there's something you need to do - sort it out and then you can stop worrying about it!
11. Learn to live with uncertainty - accept that we can't control everything in life.
12.Tell youself you're entitled to be happy - why not you!
KEEP PRACTISING – IT’S WORTH IT!