Negative Thinking and Panic Attacks

Learn how to identify and challenge the unhealthy negative emotions that cause panic attacks. Emotions can take over your mind and body and eat you alive.

Step Up Strategies

Emotions to most people are barbarians that take over our lives, but the fact is - emotions can become your best friends.

Emotions allow you to act humanely and express feelings and feel truly alive. Human emotions, such as feeling happy, sad, joyous, angry, etc. make up who you are. Emotions become painful when people cannot take control of how they feel.

Most people experience problems with emotions because they have not developed their cognitive perspectives. The perspectives help us to create viewpoints, scenes, etc. and to process the emotion, thus getting it into perspective and dealing with it effectively without panic attacks. Our adult thinking patterns develop right from birth and are affected by the things we experience and how we choose to deal with them.

Our thinking habits change in reply to the stress placed on them throughout our diverse and extended interactions with our social and physical environments. In order for our thoughts to develop effectively, they must change to keep pace with the social and physical changes to which we are subjected as people.

Part of the reasons why people lack self-development is simply because our social and physical environments change rapidly, and everyone has their own viewpoints as to what is right and wrong. It leaves room for confusion and emotions step in and start kicking butt and causing panic attacks for those who lack effective coping skills.

On that note, we will move onto step-up strategies to combat the emotions that take over. Your goal then is to reduce the anxiety and panic attacks by overcoming situations or events that cause you stress.

Paralyzed by Fear

Some people literally let panic attacks take control of their mind and body. They become paralyzed by fear. Some people fear the worst when it comes to giving a speech, or participating in a job interview etc. Dates often make people anxious as well. Public speeches often terrify people because they picture themselves letting people down instead of practicing at home to build confidence to give a good speech. Job interviews often scare people because they fear rejection. Rejection should be viewed as a strengthener because when you fail the first time you have an opportunity to review your mistakes to determine why you didn't meet with the success you desired. Once you discover why you didn't meet your target, you should be moved to improve in that area, for instance, to be more successful on the next job interview.

Dating often scares people because they fear rejection. Just because you date someone, it doesn't mean that you two are meant to be. It is a process of getting to know each other. You or your date deciding to end the relationship is not necessarily a bad thing in the long-term. Perhaps they just weren't the right person for you. You can learn not to be beaten down by rejection.

Step-up Strategies

Write down the worst possible thing that can happen during an interview, on a date, at a speech or whatever makes you panic. Consider the best choice that fits your particular circumstances. For example, if you most fear giving a speech think of the worst thing that could happen to you on stage.

Now visualize yourself handling the situation well and coping with the worst case scenario.

Take Control of Your Negative Thinking

Most people set themselves up for failure. They guide themselves in believing that the worst will happen. This is called negative thinking. Ironically, when a person thinks in this way most times they see patterns that we know are coincidental. However, if you set yourself up to fail and expect it to happen, you experience superficial cognitive development that leads to unrealistic opinions that may cause fear. i.e. you believe you are always going to fail.

Now it's time to step up and take control of your negative thinking. Once you start to visualize yourself surviving the worst possible case scenario and realize that the catastrophes that your imagination provokes are highly unlikely, you can begin to take control of those panic attacks that continue to return and take control of your life. Your goal then is to start blocking out your negative thinking to transform how you respond to the situation.

Some people may need some self-instruction training to overcome panic attacks, but most people can take control of their own thinking patterns by Stepping up. If you need self-instruction therapy, you will need to see a qualified counselor, but try our program first.

We are now going to direct you to alter the things you say to yourself. Using the correct self-instruction techniques, we can break down the sequence of unconstructive feelings and sensations caused by fear, self-reproach/guilt, or pain and help you to overcome panic attacks.

Ellis (1962) and Meichenbaum (1977) demonstrated pragmatic and empirical results that people who experience panic attacks or anxiety do so largely because they operate a system of negative self-talk and convince themselves to believe the worst.

In order to change that negative behavior pattern and overcome panic attacks you must conform to positive thinking by using self-creative statements. You can then turn those negative thoughts into easy-accessible coping skills that will help you rid yourself of panic attacks.

Self-Creative Statements

People who experience anticipatory anxiety must state to themselves often, "I will devise a plan and put it into action, one that will help me to focus on the positive instead of the negative, self-destructive thoughts". Basically, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail; however, if you make some plans for how to cope with the things that make you panic, you eliminate the need to panic about them.

It can be that easy to overcome panic attacks, but for others it isn't. You may make giant leaps toward your goal or you may need to take baby steps. It depends on you and your willingness to succeed.

  • State - When I feel a panic attack coming on, I will step back and review my thoughts by taking a few deep breaths to relax. My goal is to manage my fears rather than eliminate all of my fears. Instead of suppressing my feelings and thoughts, I will let them go freely.

  • State - My new focus is on my intended action rather than what will happen. Instead of worrying about what will happen I will start thinking about the steps I need to take to make things happen.

  • State - For me to control my feelings and fears I must control my ideas. This requires of me to tell myself to think positively.

  • State - I will take control of my fears. I will take control of my life. I am a successful person.

Each time you take positive action to eliminate panic attacks the easier it will become to take control of your emotions. Now we can move onto an examination of problematic thoughts and systematic desensitization. Set goals for yourself that you can achieve. Make it your goal to understand your panic attacks more clearly.

Challenge your negative thoughts instead of blocking them.

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