Over the last few posts, we’ve been delving into some important Panic Attacks Info Tips. For quick review they are, Tip #1: Expect, Allow, and Accept Your Fear, Tip #2: When Fear Comes, Wait and Tip #3: Focus on the Present.
These Tips all help to explain and clarify our 10 Rules for Coping with Panic Attacks.
Today’s Panic Attacks Info Tip is: Rate Your Fear
When you are experiencing anxiety, rate your level of fear from 1 to 10, with one being the none at all and 10 being intolerable or a panic attack. Watch your level go up and down.
Notice that your fear level does not remain steady, it changes.
Key Point: Notice also how your fear rises when your imagination takes over and you are tuned into fearful “what if” thoughts and bodily reactions and how it lowers and seems to steady off when you stay connected to the present (Tip #3).
This simple tip illustrates a very important point: that you can easily shift your focus away from your imagination and gain some control over your level of fear.
Rating your fear also helps to put your anxiety attack into a proper perspective. When we look back on an event or situation in which we were suffering through anxiously, we may delude ourselves into thinking that we felt horrible the entire time. But by rating the level of fear as it happens, you will see that anxiety goes up and down. It does this until it goes away. No one stays at a level 10 all the time, but we might not actually realize this.
Think back to the last time you had a very bad day due to anxiety and panic. I want you to really look back on that day objectively. Were you at a level 10 for the entire day? Of course not. You may have had some moments when your level of anxiety peaked at an 8 or 10, or even a stretch of a few hours when your level was high enough to be uncomfortable, say a level 5, but but I bet you will find there were other times during that bad day that your level of fear was only at a level 2 or 3.
When I first learned how to rate my level of fear years ago, my psychologist had me keep a journal for just this purpose. She had me jot down my fear rating throughout the day. I have an entire yellow legal pad filled up with these notes. It was – and still is- very comforting to see that even when I was going through an extremely difficult phase, I still had a lot of moments of peace, fun, and even sheer happiness.
I remember handing her my journal at our weekly session and telling her what a horribly shitty week I just had. She said, That’s funny Jill, just yesterday you wrote “My life is a joy.”
That really helped me to realize, It’s not always a 10. It was easy for me to think my anxiety level was always through the roof, but I proved on paper in my own writing that this was not the case.
If you have developed extreme fear reactions, you may be tempted to label every negative feeling you have as anxiety (I know I did). But this is not really true. Labeling every negative feeling as anxiety is a common error in judgment. Instead, see if you can identify other feelings you are having when you experience discomfort.
You might think- What else am I feeling right now besides just anxiety? Are you hungry, angry, lonely, tired or feeling under the weather, perhaps?
Mentally Rating Your Level of Fear as it happens will help you to manage it better.
When your level is below a 4 for example, it may be a good time to remember to keep all your muscles relaxed and calm. This can be a good time to do some nice slow diaphragmatic breathing.
When you feel your fear coming to a peak, say anywhere above a level 8, put your mental blinders on and stay rooted in the present. Refuse to entertain any catastrophic or what if thinking.
Rate Your Level of Fear. It’s Not Always A 10…
The next time you feel overwhelmed with anxiety, please try this panic attacks info tip to rate your level of fear. Watch as it goes up and down. Does this help you to see the situation a bit more objectively?
I wish you peace,
Ready to take action with an effective anxiety elimination program? I recommend and use the Anxiety Self Help Road Map. Please get started today and reclaim your life from fear.