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Panic Attacks for Safer Driving


Situation:  Driving

Scary thought: “If I have a panic attack, I won’t be able to function and control the car”

A full-blown panic attack does not interfere with your ability to function fully, even though this goes very counter to what we think at the time.  You can start to prove this to yourself.  The next time you feel anxiety when you are driving, try an experiment.  Slow down your speed by 5 mph.  Then, increase your speed by 5 mph.  Did the anxiety in any way impair your functioning?  You can try this experiment at any level of anxiety.  You will begin to learn that, contrary to the scary thoughts that occur during panic, our functioning is not impaired.  If anything, our functioning is somewhat enhanced!

Challenging the scary thought:

Q:  “What are the chances that I won’t be able to function and control the car if I have a panic attack?”
A:  “Zero.  In fact, a panic attack actually would somewhat enhance my functioning.”


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