Introduction Understand the EXACT process of Anxiety Panic Awarded 5 stars by UK Mental Health Foundation fear panic obsessive worry stress solution-doyoupanic.co.uk
Whilst being stressed can certainly lead to us panicking and trying to over-control that stress.. to avoid this, we simply need to stay in momentary flow as interfering with flow is actually unnecessary and takes more effort.
What is interfering with flow?
This is when we stop our flowing mind from working - it is a very subtle process where, at our cut-off point (see natural thought cut-offs ch 4), we then tense up against our thinking.
How is this characterised?
Stopping our mind flow is characterised by two things - tension and head-talking (this is where we are saying things in our heads - reasoning with our thinking in an attempt to control/understand it). Needless to say, both processes are uncomfortable and make us feel even worse.
What can we do?
Without going into too much detail here - the immediate response when we come out of/cut-off from our thinking - for the person who likes control - is to engage in a mind race of analysis-paralysis....we go further into a thought than we have to. As you will read from comments section, there is a very strong urge for the panic sufferer to do this (see also 'Focus Not Force' page for an example of this).
This solution to ending our panic is simply to avoid engaging with this unnecessary secondary process. That analysis paralysis can soon lead to repetitive controlling - if you imagine saying ''relax'' to yourself in your head whenever you feel stressed - this is a perfect example of where we head-talk a response to that feeling (see Ch 6 - 'The difference between having an incoming thought to relax and then saying it')
We may feel that we are helping ourselves with this reminder when in fact we are just stopping our flow from working. We actually don't let go of an uncomfortable feeling and hold onto it.
So how does being relaxed fit in with this?
Of course, the reason we suffer is that the intesne persona can become stressed very easily. However, we have to let go of any temptation to over-control being relaxed or we simply tense to relax. Therefore, yes, relaxing and being calmer in life is important, but this should be left to happen naturally as part of our automatic flow.
Why do we panic?
As above, panic sufferers may very easily slip into the process of forcing relaxation (head talking it) as they want total control as they feel threatened by stress and want to get rid of it completely. It isn't abnormal to dislike stress - but, non-sufferers don't try to fight this imperfection in life.
''The panic is the problem. I know now I cannot panic anymore ... it's ingrained''- Nick Watts (back cover testimony).
On Sun 10/04/11 6:31 PM , Toby sent: (see also Book Reviews for further)..
Hi Will, I hope all is great with you. Just wanted to drop you a line to say I returned from Sri Lanka on Saturday after the most amazing trip of my life. And guess what? NO panic attacks on planes, or anywhere else for that matter, despite quite intense travelling conditions. I can only say THANK YOU so much for your words of encouragement and "matter of fact" way of dealing with certain thoughts and feelings....I am now living proof that everything you've discovered (primary/secondary thoughts etc) works....absolutely 100%, no doubt. To go from the place I was 2 weeks ago, which was full of dark, negative, fearful thoughts to where I am now is simply amazing....no, actually it's life-changing. So, once again, thanks so much Will. I can't tell you how much this has changed things for me. All the best to you and I hope that you continue to inspire others with your writing and advice. Toby
Date: 9 May 2008 00:49:04 GMT ''Will, I don't know how to thank you. I think you may have saved my life. Your website instantly got inside my head in the way no psychiatrist, psychologist or self-help book ever has. I always struggled to even describe these thoughts to people but you do it perfectly. I couldn't believe it when I read about your 'AIDS panic'. The same thing happened to me. I went for a test and, like you, the result wasn't enough to allay my fears so I went for another one!'' Thanks again, Murray