Mastering Panic:
3)  Challenging the Scary Thoughts

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Panic is only a collection of sensations and scary thoughts.  Its unpleasant (to say the least!), but completely harmless.  

EVERY scary thought that comes from panic is an absurd exaggeration, groundless and completely untrue.  

Each time you respond to a scary thought, you are:

1)   Taking charge,

2)   Shifting out of the "victim" experience,

3)   Affirming the truth, and    

4)   Resolving and healing a bit of your "panic pizza".
      (It's like taking a bite!)

Here's how to respond to scary thoughts:

1)  Make a note of the situation where you experienced the anxiety

2)  Identify a sensation

3)  Identify the scary thought that goes with the sensation

4)  ANSWER THE SCARY THOUGHT:  out loud, silently to yourself, and in writing.  Make fun of it and belittle it!  Use your creativity and sense of humor.

Here's an example:

1)   Situation:  Taking a walk

2)   Sensation: "My heart is beating fast and loud.

3)   Scary thought:  I could be having a heart attack!"

4)   ANSWER THE SCARY THOUGHT:  

"My heart is beating at about 90 beats per minute.  The idea that I could have a heart attack from that is ridiculous!   My heart is strong, and beating at twice this rate would pose no danger to me.  The chance that I'm having a heart attack is ZERO.  If people got heart attacks from having a heart rate of 90, we'd have to build hundreds of new hospitals!  Everyone would have to move in slow motion! 

"Hearing my heart beating is odd, but not at all dangerous.  Babies hear their mother's heartbeat, and that's not dangerous.  In fact, I think they like it!  It's funny how we don't usually hear our own heart beating and that's not dangerous either!  None of the sensations that I'm experiencing are the least bit dangerous."

When you notice your anxiety going down a bit when you ANSWER the scary thoughts, congratulate yourself!  Youve just taken another bite out of your panic pizza.

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