Posted 5/29/2013 5:45 AM (GMT -6)
THE 21 SECOND COUNTDOWN ARE 4 STEPS
STEP 1 OBSERVE
When panic arises, wherever you may be, simply start to observe it. Don't try to avoid or suppress your bodily sensations.
STEP 2 EMBRACE
Embrace and accept the experience fully. Feel all the sensations as they course through your body. Don't label the sensations as good or bad.
STEP 3 DEMAND MORE
When you feel that the panic is going to run out of control, and when your confidence in your ability to observe the fear wanes, do the opposite of what you have been doing to date. DEMAND MORE. Demand more of the unusual sensations and ride them out.
STEP 4 TRUST
TRUST that your safe. Trust your body can handle it. Trust that even if you still feel uncomfortable, those sensations will no longer escalate into a state of panic.
whatever the fear it must happen within that 21 second time frame.
if your heart is going to explode, then it has 21 seconds to do so.
if you are going to stop breathing, then you have 21 seconds to do so.
if you are going to faint-21 seconds! absolutely no more time than that. by setting a specific time frame you turn the table and establish clear boundaries of control. In short you call panics bluff. If it were a poker game, you would be asking panic to slow its hand.
This works because it places you in charge of the experience instead of getting tossed around by the sensations of panic and anxiety. It is a very subtle switch in perception that enables you to re-establish control.
now start counting down from 21- but nice and slowly, don't rattle it off as fast as you can. Really tease it out like you did when you were a child playing a game and you never wanted to reach zero. Teasing it out is the key because it allows you to feel generous, you are really giving panic every chance possible to do its worst.
By not rushing the countdown you will feel your confidence soar because you are demonstrating real control and authority over the feared panic attack.
WHAT IF YOU COMPLETE THE COUNTDOWN AND STILL FEEL VERY MUCH ON EDGE?
The goal of this technique is not to try and stop the uncomfortable bodily sensations you feel (they will dissipate on there own.) THE GOAL IS TO STOP YOUR FEARFUL REACTION TO THOSE SENSATIONS. You are learning to really trust your body's ability to handle all these uncomfortable sensations you no longer have to get upset by them. You allow them to be present as long as they like because they do not threaten you. That new trust and confidence in your body ends the fear of fear. When you end the fear of fear, you quickly end panic attacks.