Originally published January 28, 2019. Some formatting changes.
- Remember that although your feelings are very frightening, they are not dangerous or harmful. They are uncomfortable but not life threatening.
- Understand that what you are experiencing is just an exaggeration of your normal bodily reaction to stress.
- Do not fight your feelings or try to wish them away. The more you are willing to face them, the less intense they will be.
- Do not add to your panic by thinking about what might happen if you find yourself asking ‘What if’? Tell yourself. ‘So what!’
- Stay in the present. Notice what is really happening to you as opposed to what you think might happen.
- Label your fear level from zero to ten and watch it go up and down. Notice that it does not stay at a very high level for more than a few seconds.
- When you find yourself thinking about the fear, change your ‘what if’ thinking. Focus on and carry out a simple and manageable task such as counting backwards from 100 by 3’s or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.
- Notice that when you stop adding frightening thoughts to your fear, it begins to face.
- When the fear comes, expect and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away from it.
- Be proud of yourself for your progress thus far, and think about how good you will feel when you succeed this time.
Source: NMH Association – Understanding Panic Disorder