Understanding Panic
 

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Today, the stresses we face are very different from what they were in prehistoric times.  Sometimes, our fight-or-flight response gets triggered when there is no actual threat to our survival.  With no external, life-threatening danger to focus on, bodily sensations and scary thoughts can spiral into a panic attack.

Its helpful to think of our fight-or-flight response as having two parts.  The first part is an internal alarm.  A great analogy is a fire alarm bell.


2004, Trina Swerdlow
 

A fire alarm is loud, scary and very unpleasant, but the alarm itself is never dangerous.  In fact, the fire alarm is designed to insure our protection and survival in the event of an actual fire.

Once our internal alarm bell gets triggered, the second part of our fight-or-flight response kicks in we  instinctively search for the danger.  We need to know instantly what kind of danger we are facing, in order to know whether to fight, flee or climb a tree!  A great way to think of this part of our survival response is a huge, round clock with only one hand, in the shape of a huge POINTER.

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