How can you stop fear

6 Tips For Panic Attacks Or What Does The Lemon Have To Do With Anxiety?

“All of a sudden I feel dizzy and nauseous. My knees go weak. I am afraid of falling over and passing out. I probably have a head tumor. My heart starts racing, I feel pressure on my chest and I am afraid of having a heart attack. ”This is how one client describes her physical symptoms and sensations that suggest panic attacks.

Characteristics of panic attacks are episodes of acute anxiety that start abruptly and decrease again within a short time. Mostly arise Panic attacks in the post-stress phase, after long periods of chronic stress, after losses or blows of fate. After experiencing the first panic attack, the fear of having another panic attack develops, the so-called anxiety of anticipation.

Symptoms of panic attacks

Panic attacks express themselves physical, emotional and mental level as well as in behavior. As physical reactions include palpitations, hot flashes, sweats, tremors, tingling, numbness in arms and legs, dry mouth and dizziness. On cognitive level fear of dying, going crazy or losing control is in the foreground. As behavior avoidance behavior (situations that triggered the first panic attack) and escape behavior as well as the feeling of being “far away” or “not here” occur. These symptoms appear out of the blue for no external reason.

Vicious circle of fear

The fear of physical reactions that can be perceived as abnormal sensations and interpreted as threatening Panic attacks trigger. One speaks of one "Vicious circle of fear", which consists of the following spiral: Harmless physical changes (e.g. palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea) are perceived and those affected turn more towards them. The perceived symptoms - often normal stress symptoms or symptoms of a subsiding stress phase - are judged to be dangerous (the dizziness is so severe that I faint; my heart is beating so fast that I am about to have a heart attack). As a result of this assessment, fear develops, which sets in motion physical changes (preparation for the fight and flight response). The rapid escalation of the physical symptoms and their assessment as a threat ultimately lead to a panic attack.

Imaginations create fear

The following exercise does not cause fear, but it should now make it clear that the Imagination is sufficient to trigger physical reactions: Take about 5 minutes to do this exercise:

Imagine that there is a table in front of you and a board with a lemon on it. There is a knife next to the board. The lemon is ripe and yellow and shiny. Take the lemon in your hand and cut the lemon in half. The lemon juice runs onto the board and over your fingers. Cut another slice from one half. Your fingers are sticky with lemon juice. You can clearly smell the sour smell of lemon. Now take a lemon wedge in your hand. Take a closer look at the lemon wedge. The flesh is very juicy and shiny. Now fold the disc in half and bring it closer to your mouth. The lemon juice drips on the table and runs down your hands. Slowly put the lemon wedge in your mouth. Now bite into the lemon. The moment your teeth penetrate the pulp, lemon juice begins to spread in your mouth. You taste the sour juice and notice how it spreads from the tip of your tongue into your mouth.

What reactions did you notice? Perhaps you felt your mouth water and grimace at the sour taste of the lemon?

This exercise shows that Thoughts and ideas have an impact on our body to have. The idea of ​​a juicy lemon does not cause fear, but it is diverse physical changes can certainly be frightening and pose a threat. You can learn to take control of your fears and change your thoughts to make reactions less threatening.

Tips in dealing with panic attacks

What to do with panic attacks If you find yourself in a panic situation, please note the following first aid tips:

  • Keep moving during an acute panic attack
  • Use breathing techniques in conjunction with movement (e.g. abdominal breathing) during a panic attack
  • When you have a panic attack, don't watch your body, watch your surroundings
  • Let the panic attack pass without resistance
  • Rate your physical symptoms as non-threatening:
    You cannot have a heart attack, pass out, fall over, or suffocate during a panic attack
  • Cope with stressful situations that favor your panic attacks

You can save the following overview as a picture so that you always have the tips for panic attacks to hand:

These tips are designed to help you help deal with panic attacks better to be able to. The goal is not to have no more panic attacks, but to have adequate aids available when the panic attacks occur and to know: Panic is an extremely unpleasant, intense feeling of fear, but does not represent a threatening danger. Panic attacks can be stopped.

For reading:

Morschitzky, Hans: Finally life without panic: Verlag Fischer und Gann

Photo source: (c)