Tip #2: If you have anxiety and you’re experiencing what you believe to be a serious physical symptom, wait two minutes to see if it subsides.
The why: “Excuse me? I feel I can’t breathe and you’re telling me to wait two minutes? What if I don’t have two minutes left?” – this is what was rushing through my mind when I first came up with the two-minute test. In truth, if you genuinely couldn’t breathe, within two minutes (unless you’re secretly a vampire) you’d be in very dire straights. So, when you feel a serious physical symptom developing say to yourself:
“If I’m still here in two minutes, it’s just anxiety.”
Knowing that no matter how awful the symptoms of anxiety feel, they can’t ever actually kill you is a powerful force against a panic attack. Once you realise that your symptoms are caused by anxiety (and not something more serious) using the two-minute test, you will feel yourself begin to calm down.
There are occasions where for up to 30 minutes I feel short of breath, but I keep telling myself:
“This can’t actually kill me, if I couldn’t breathe or if my heart was about to fail, I’d be gone by now. I have felt this before.”
This seems a rather blunt line of thought, but it works.
Of course, sometimes symptoms are due to something more sinister, but this is highly unlikely unless you are aware of a previous serious health condition. So, if you know you suffer from anxiety, try the two-minute test, and know that no matter how bad the symptoms crash against you in that moment, you will be okay.