Monday, May 4, 2009

Controlling Anxiety: Technique Three - Self Talk

"oh shit! I'm having a panic attack!" It's what most of us think when we realise we're about to have an anxiety attack. It's usually followed by such thoughts as "oh shit, oh shit, oh, shit" or "I got to get out of here" or "why now, why me" or "I'm going to pass out". They're not exactly the most soothing thoughts. Sadly most of us fuel our anxiety by focusing on our panicked thoughts. 

We use self-talk everyday in a million ways, it's a very powerful technique. Using positive, reassuring self-talk during an anxiety attack can take the power right out of Anxiety.  


Part A: For use during an anxiety attack

1. Have a pre-determined short phrase to repeat to yourself. It can be anything at all that you find reassuring and/or calming. I use "It's ok, it's just panic. I'm ok, take a breath" If your phrase is 5 words long you can recite it like a mantra whilst doing the 5 count breathing and combine the two techniques! 

2. Start repeating your phrase either out loud or in your mind as soon as you start to feel anxious. If it is safe to do so, close your eyes and focus all your attention on your words. 

Part B: As a daily exercise

1. Isolate yourself in a room with a mirror. Make sure you are alone and free from distractions. 

2. Look yourself square in the eye.

3. Tell yourself that you are strong, you are confident, you have nothing to fear, Anxiety is powerless over you. 

Just a note on phrases: try to choose positive phrases such as I am fearless, as opposed to I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid easily becomes I'm afraid when in the grip of an anxiety attack. Also the brain doesn't always process the full sentence, just the key words like I'm and afraid.


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