Those of us living with anxiety often feel at the mercy of our emotions.
Especially when it comes to fear, we can feel powerless to stay calm and in control of ourselves. We have very strong survival instincts and when something is happening that feels threatening, we feel a strong pull to do something – anything – to save ourselves from whatever danger is looming over us.
However, quite often when our anxiety strikes, there is nothing to “do”. There is no place to run. There is nobody to attack in self-defense. There is no one to call for help. Sometimes we don’t even know what the danger IS, let alone how to protect ourselves from it. So we do the only thing we CAN do in a desperate attempt to actively control the situation we are in: we panic.
Now, most people look at their panic as a period of time when they are completely out of control, out of their heads, and overcome by mysterious forces they are powerless against. This is not entirely true. It definitely feels true because panic attacks involve a fear-response cycle that seems to happen at warp speed and progresses like a greyhound chasing its tail, and the adrenaline release brought on by your panic can make it feel near impossible to maintain or regain your composure. However, the panic itself is not a mysterious force. It is simply a response. It is how you consciously, or subconsciously, choose to respond to the crisis that you perceive yourself to be in at that moment. It is a reaction that you are in control of at all times, and that is something that it is vitally important for you to realize and accept if you are living with panic attacks or any type of strong anxious reactions to stress, and want to make long lasting recovery.
You were born with the power to stay calm. All humans were. Some of us just have to work at it a little harder than others. Some of us have to spend a great deal of time mastering this skill but with persistence and determination, it is completely doable, even in the most extreme or fear-provoking of situations.
The good news is that today, at this moment, you don’t have to believe a word of what this post says.
You don’t have to believe for a single second that your panic attacks or any of your strong reactions are within your power to control. All you have to do is be open to the idea that its true, repeat this affirmation on a regular basis, and let your subconscious do the rest.
It all starts with just one thought: “I don’t always have to react.” As foreign an idea as this may seem to you, give yourself permission to go with it, and practice just observing your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without an opinion…without a response. It’s really quite freeing and it becomes easier with time if you don’t abandon the whole notion after the first few days of not seeing results. Remember, your head space is valuable. Save it for the important stuff, and I can assure you that 95% of anxiety symptoms are NOT the important stuff, and not worth a second of your time.
Those of us that find it difficult to remain composed must plant the seed of calm in our minds. It’s okay to let go of a situation – to observe it without reaction. It feels as if we are letting go of our power when we don’t react. But that can be how we KEEP our power.
“I don’t always have to react.”