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The ABCs of Anxiety and Panic

January 19, 2017 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Anxiety and panic are complex mental health conditions that have a tremendous impact on our lives (Anxiety and Panic Attack Articles). Like most big things, anxiety and panic have their ABCs, their fundamental concepts that explain the essence of what they are. When young children first learn to read and write, they break down the task into the basic components of what they are about to tackle; they learn their ABCs. This approach is great for dealing with anxiety and panic, too. Armed with the ABCs of anxiety and panic, we can use what we know to tackle the problem.

Use this list of anxiety and panic’s ABCs to add to your growing repertoire of life-changing information:

A: Anxiety disorders are disorders of the brain that impact our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

B: Behavior is the key to getting rid of anxiety and panic. Doing something every day is a way to own your behavior and take it away from anxiety (How to Turn Anxiety into Action).

C: Cry. Anxiety and panic are frustrating, scary, and painful. If you’ve cried because of them you’re not alone, nor are you weak. Crying is a good thing. It means you feel strongly motivated to eradicate anxiety and panic.

D: Dying is how panic attacks make people feel. Tune in to how your body responds to anxiety and panic. When you recognize your symptoms, you don’t have to add the fear of dying to your worries.

E: Exercise is crucial for anxiety management. It regulates stress hormones and other activity in the brain, and it gives us energy and motivation to keep going despite anxiety.

F: Freedom from anxiety is within everyone’s reach. Fill an anxiety toolbox with tricks and techniques to break free from anxiety.

G: Guilt is an emotion that people with anxiety often feel. Anxiety isn’t who we are, though, so guilt is a misplaced emotion.

The ABC's of anxiety and panic are basic aspects of these disruptive disorders. Knowing the ABC's of anxiety and panic gives you the power to beat them. H: Help is healing. Reaching out to doctors, counselors, support groups, and more can help you overcome anxiety and panic (I Need Mental Help: Where to Find Mental Health Help).

I: Introversion and extraversion are separate from anxiety. Both introverts and extroverts can experience all types of anxiety, including social anxiety, and panic (Extroverts Can Experience Social Anxiety, Too).

J: Judgment--people with anxiety, especially social anxiety, fear judgment. Fear of judgment is very life-restricting, but there are ways to grow past it.

K: Kites are a great metaphor for living anxiety-free. Picture yourself soaring to new heights. How are you going to get up there, and what are you going to do to stay there?

L: Life-anxiety is only one part of your entire life. What else is in your life? What is good?

M: Mindfulness is a powerful tool in combating the racing thoughts of anxiety and in calming panic attacks. Pay full attention to the moment you’re in, and use your senses to ground you.

N: Neurology is a big part of anxiety and panic. We’re not anxious on purpose, nor do we panic to add drama to a moment. Much of anxiety is rooted in the brain.

O: "Get over it." When someone says, “Just stop worrying. Get over it,” it’s not helpful and it’s inaccurate. Anxiety isn’t something we can just stop having. However, we absolutely can get over it with education, patience, practice, and persistence.

P: Prescription medication is sometimes used to treat anxiety and panic. Talk to your doctor to discover if medication can help your anxiety.

Q: Quitting is tempting in the face of repeated panic attacks, but quitting isn’t necessary because, step by step, you’ll beat them.

R: Recreation and fun are helpful. Life with anxiety and panic can feel heavy and stressful, so it’s necessary to relax. What do you enjoy doing? How can you do more of it?

S: Solution-focused, as opposed to problem-focused, approaches are very effective in reducing anxiety and panic. A solution-focused plan moves you forward.

T: Thoughts become distorted by anxiety and panic. Tune into your thoughts, and begin to recognize the irrational, negative thoughts driven by anxiety.

U: Under-the-weather is how we often feel because of anxiety and panic. Anxiety has physical effects that can drag us down.

V: Various stages of life--anxiety can strike at any age. Knowing what’s going on in your stage of development can help you conquer anxiety.

W: Worry, usually excessive, plagues someone living with anxiety; however, anxiety is not simply blowing something out of proportion. With anxiety, worry is real, it is big, and it is often overpowering.

X: X-diagnosis, or cross-diagnosis, is known as comorbidity. Anxiety commonly occurs with other conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, etc.

Y: Yams and other vegetables along with fruits, whole grains, proteins, and plenty of water play a big part in reducing anxiety and panic. Our brain and body need the right nutrients to function well (Nutrition Therapy for Anxiety Disorders).

Z: Zzzz’s are important for managing anxiety. Anxiety and panic can make sleep difficult, but there are ways to get to sleep and stay asleep (Nighttime Anxiety and Getting Back to Sleep).

Put the ABCs of Anxiety and Panic to Work for You

Now that you know your ABCs of anxiety and panic, you are ready to build on them. Make the ABCs of anxiety and panic work for you.

Let's connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. My self-help book and mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2017, January 19). The ABCs of Anxiety and Panic, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2017/01/the-abcs-of-anxiety-and-panic



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Dr Musli Ferati
says:
February, 16 2019 at 12:22 am
This list of 26 subjects presents decisive and pinpoint solution against this acute psycho-social stressor with many known and unknown repercussions for our global mental health welfare and not only it. We have a broad offer to make personal choice, which one would permit us to overcome the harmful emotional storms from anxiety and panic. So it is of emergent need to apply the ABCs of anxiety and panic, in order to improve and advance our emotional wellbeing, as infrastructure of mental health. The universal denominator of these fruitful recommendations is our prompt preparation for an active and creative lifestyle, in close accordance with respective respective personal. professional and social features. Indeed, we didn't live and work in vacuum, in contrary everyone has got specific and pertaining psycho-social attributes inside appertaining socio-cultural connotations. So it is advisable to tune the above-suggested ABCs curriculum with appropriate life circumstances, In any case, the professional help is welcome to implement the benefits of this introductory to happy daily life.
JohnT
says:
January, 20 2017 at 10:14 pm
Many of the ABCs I fall into. It is amazing how anxiety can lead your brain into extreme worry. When I have the shakes, then worry a and depression are extreme. You are right in that nutrition, mindfulness, and exercise can help reduce the effects. With the World, though, I am not sure if my anxiety and depression will ever go away 100 percent. I feel a lot of distrust and narcissism out there. But I am feeling somewhat better. Much better than two years ago.

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