Tip #7: When feeling an anxiety attack approaching say: “Bring. It. On.”
The Why: Bring it on? Seriously, encouraging a panic attack seems to be a bad idea…
I promise there is some logic to this. But first, here is some (fun) science:
The problem-finding section of your brain, called the amygdala, is constantly on the prowl for potential dangers. When, let’s call her ‘Amy’, sees what she thinks is a problem, she is incredibly keen to let you know “There’s danger ahead!”
Amy, and her keen eye for trouble, has kept the human species alive for the last 2.5 million years. Usually, she does an excellent job. However, in the mind of an anxious person, she is far more active and perceives threats anywhere and everywhere.
In response to this danger, the body releases a sudden rush of adrenaline and other chemicals that give you a burst of energy and strength (great for fighting off sharks, protecting your children and also running the hell away). This is what is referred to as ‘fight or flight mode’, where your body senses danger and gives you what you need in order to get out of dodge.
The problem with this is that, for a person with anxiety, there are usually no sharks or giant spiders to fight off. Anxiety can be triggered by a multitude of things, including a person’s own imagination. If there is no threat to fight off or run away from, all this adrenaline is coursing through your body with no release valve, which leads it to cause the symptoms of a panic attack.
So, instead of going into flight mode, go into fight mode. See your anxiety as a beast to fight off (I often imagine myself in Lord of the Rings, with my anxiety as Lord Sauron, sad I know) and say bring. it. on.
Get yourself pumped up, jump up and down, get angry, flex your biceps and bear your teeth menacingly (okay, maybe not these in public). Say to your anxiety do your worst.
What will happen is the adrenaline realises it now has a channel to release itself through, and so will disperse quicker, meaning your symptoms subside. And, as I have found on occasion, this method can prevent them from occurring at all.
When it comes to fight or flight, fight. Your anxiety ain’t got nothing on you.