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Question:dealing with panic attacks

im a police officer and have been for 11 years , have seen alot of messed up stuff. have panic attacks quite regularly and it is affecting my quality of life. any advice to help get through theses attacks and make them stop.

Asked by airport39 on 7/15/09 2 Answers»


The following info from Joe Barry is helping me:

Whatever the nature of the thought, the pattern
that follows is usually quite predictable.

The anxious thought flashes briefly in your awareness
and as it does so you immediately react with fear
as you contemplate the thought. The fearful reaction
you have to the thought then sends a
shock-wave through your nervous system. You
feel the result of that fear most intensely in your stomach
(due to the amount of nerve endings located there).

Because of the intense bodily reaction to the thought
you then get sucked into examining the
anxious thought over and over.

The continuous fearful reaction you have to the thought,
increases the intensity of the experience. The more
you react, the stronger the thought rebounds again
in your awareness creating more anxious shock-waves
throughout your body. This is the typical
cycle of anxious thoughts.

For some it feels like the anxious thoughts
are hijacking their peace of mind.

Because of the reaction you are having,
you may continue to spend the rest of your
day thinking about the anxious thoughts you

"Why am I thinking these thoughts?"
"Why can't I shake off this eerie feeling?"

The harder you try not to think about it,
the more upset you become. It is like telling someone
'whatever happens do not think of a pink elephant'.
Naturally enough it's all they can think about.
Thats the way our brains our wired.

So how can you eliminate these
unwanted anxious thoughts?

To begin with:

-when you start to experience anxious thoughts, it is very
important not to force the thoughts away.

Let the thoughts in. The more comfortable you can
become with them, the better. These thoughts will never
go away fully but what you can learn is to change
your reaction to them.

By changing your reaction to the anxious thoughts
you become free of them.

Once you establish a new way of reacting to the
thoughts it does not matter if you have
them or not. Your reaction is what defines
the whole experience (and that applies to
almost everything).

Everybody experiences fleeting thoughts that
many would consider scary or crazy. The difference
between most people and somebody who gets
caught up in them, is that the average
person sees them for exactly what they are,
fleeting anxious thoughts, and casually ignores them.

The anxious person is at a disadvantage as they
already have a certain level of anxiety in their system.
The thoughts easily spark feelings of further anxiety
which builds into a cycle of fear. You break the cycle
by changing how you react to the fearful thought.

Here is an example of how to approach this:

You are enjoying the way your day is going but
then all of sudden a fearful thought comes to mind.

Before you would react with anxiety to the idea
and then try to force that thought out of your mind.

This time, however, say:

"That's a fear of X. I could worry and even obsess
over that but this time I'm going to do something
different. I'm not going to react to it. I'm also not
going to try and stop it either. I'm just going to
label the thought and not react."

Then the thought comes again with more intensity and
possibly with new 'scary' angles you never considered. When this
happens you do exactly the same. As if you were observing a
cloud passing overhead, you simply

-Observe it,

-label it (fear of whatever), then

-watch it as it passes by with no judgment.


-move your attention on to what you were doing.

Observe, Label, Watch, Move on

See the anxious thought for what it really is:
-one of the thousands of fleeting sane and insane
thoughts every one of us experiences daily.

If you are a more indoors type of person then instead of
thinking of the thoughts like clouds passing in the sky,
you might try imagining a large cinema screen and the
anxious thoughts are projected out onto the screen in
front of you. Play around with this approach. Find what
works for you.

The key thing to remember is to:

Observe, Label, Watch, Move on

By practising this approach you gradually stop reacting with fear
to the thought and you learn to treat it as nothing more than an
odd peculiarity.

When you are at a stage where you are
comfortable doing the above exercise and you feel you
are making good progress, then try this additional step:

Actually invite one of your more regular fearful thoughts in.

Call the fear to you, say you just want it to come
close so you can observe it.

It may seem like the last thing you would wish to bring upon
yourself, as you don't particularly enjoy these thoughts
but this approach can be very empowering. You are now
calling the shots. You actually invited
the issue in.

By doing this you are discharging the dense vibration of fear
surrounding the anxious thought. That fear was sustaining
itself on your resistance, -the idea that you could
not handle these thoughts.

The fear quickly evaporates when you turn around
and say "yes of course I can handle these thoughts."

Fear intensifies when we pull away from it.
Anxious thoughts become a mental tug of war
if we struggle with them.

It is the mental struggle of pulling against
the anxious thoughts that creates the
inner psychological tension.

The inner tension is fueled by thoughts like:

"I can't handle to think about this -please go away"

"I don't like that thought- I want it to stop!"

Take a different stance. Invite anxious thoughts in.
Willingly sit with them, label them
and do your very best not to react.

Yes, it does take practice but very soon you
find yourself in a unique position of control.
You are no longer a victim of fearful thinking
but a decision maker in what you will or will
not be concerned about.

As with every technique there is always a level of practice
involved in the beginning. Initially you start observing
but then suddenly get anxious about the fearful thought.
That's very normal in the beginning.

Keep at it. Practice and you will quickly
see how less impacting those fearful thoughts become.

Do not let your mind trick you into believing that
your anxiety is something you will always have to struggle
with. That is simply not true.

Not alone is it possible to control the occurrence of
anxious thoughts but I can teach you how to end
panic attacks and general anxiety if that is your goal.

You can have the life of your dreams. Anxiety
does not have the right to steal that hope from you.

I'm going to e-mail you my mini series. It will help reduce
anxiety levels significantly.

Some of this information forms a small part of the
Panic Away Program. My full program eliminates
panic attacks and general anxiety very quickly and
has proved highly successful with both long and short term
sufferers of anxiety.

To Learn more about Panic Away visit:


Answered by: ransomintl on 8/8/09


I recently suffered Panic Attacks after the premature death of my father among other things. I have been to see a psychotherapist to discover the triggers and dig deeper into the whole thing. After a few sessions i gained an understanding of why this happened and was given some "tools" to over come attacks in the future.

The key for me was understanding. I found this was half the battle won. The tools to ease attacks were great too as a way to bring back more quality to my life.

Good luck.

Answered by: el_richo on 7/28/09
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