Worry about future playing out of scenarios leads to the symptoms of anxiety, irritability, anger, and possibly psychotic break with reality when the anxiety level gets too elevated. It is often associated with feelings of being overwhelmed, incompetent, or unreasonableness. The escalation of anxiety into full blown panic attack is exacerbated by fatigue and overwork.
Panic attacks are also the result of mental anxiety which takes on emotional expression and manifests as physical symptoms of elevated heart rate, sweating, shallow breathing, and possibly fainting, or rage acting out, and usually irrational reasoning.
Association by the sufferer with past similar outcomes and events can provoke intensification of the worry, anxiety, and panic attack.
Concern about the future and about issues which we will need to encounter during the day, usually with our employer, colleagues, or supervisor, leads to imagining of likely negative scenarios and outcomes to those encounters.
These concerns can become elevated to levels of worry and anxiety from which there is no retreat.
The only way to curtail and nip these anxieties in the bud, so to speak, is to be mindful of the triggers, thoughts and emotions which arise and stopping them in the bud, before they become full blown escalated panic attacks. This mindfulness is assisted by mindfulness of ones’ breathing inhalations and exhalations, slowing them down to remain centered and grounded; attentiveness to the ‘earth’ element to affirm stability and grounding is helpful; attentiveness to the ‘water’ element surrounding us with comfort can also reduce the inflammatory effects of the ‘fire’ element which dominates anxiety and panic attacks. Focusing on the ‘air’ element can also give oneself room for alternative solutions which have positive outcomes and which sustain the ‘Self’ and which are supportive. Lastly giving ourselves ‘space’ to realize that we may be missing the Big Picture and that this issue which is giving us anxiety is not as all-consuming as we imagine it to be.
Finally, the key is to live in the moment, in the present, as often as we can.
Reassurances of positive future outcomes being given to a person who is in full blown anxiety doesn’t work to diffuse the situation or to halt their panic attack.
Touching them doesn’t work and can often times escalate the panic situation being felt by the sufferer.
Telling a panic attack sufferer to ‘calm down’ can also escalate their anger and resentment.
The only solution which can be offered as advice is to assist the sufferer to stop the tapes which are rolling in their heads. This can only be done by changing the subject with a soft compassionate voice.
Reminding the sufferer that they are loved and that there are positive outcomes which are possible will diffuse the anxiety and symptoms.
The panic attack sufferer just needs another mental image on which to focus; once the tape has
stopped rolling, it is possible to rationalize with the sufferer, if the tape is still rolling the sufferer won’t be able to hear you or take advice.