The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

I’ve not only struggled with Shame spirals and anxiety but panic attacks as well. Nonetheless, the solution is the same for me. Refocus. I don’t have anxiety or panic anymore. I discovered the solution on my own and found this after the panic disappeared. This is what has worked for me. When shame spirals and panic hit I turn inward. For me turning my focus outward and getting my attention flowing away from me is what helps. If I turn inward then being positive is what helps. Here’s a paper describing this and the activities (coloring, writing poetry, playing games) I did to refocus. It restructures the brain. It’s called neuroplasticity. It worked for me anyway.

http://www.metaphoricalplatypus.com/articles/health-and-fitness/anxiety/natural-therapies-to-reduce-anxiety/anxiety-reduction-techniques-turning-your-focus-outward-and-cultivating-mindfulness/?fbclid=IwAR3bme2HZW0Y_Y2rureMBCv3zHEmZVwv3d2r-t8B8yZJosukt5h_O-sbbBk

1 Like

I used to get panic attacks from apeirophobia. It only stopped when I started forcing myself to think about it every day.

As I mentioned earlier in many other threads: Fear can only be overcome by facing it. Running away from intrusive thoughts or difficult emotions, just makes them stronger and more frightful. Desensitization is actually most often a good thing, not a bad thing.

A tremendously helpful resource:

Sorry, but living in the present and letting go gets rid of the fear for me. No worry or anticipation about the future. I do it with confidence. Doing it extremely afraid I always fumbled and made an idiot out of myself. I first accepted myself as I let go and trust God. I get in what psychologists call flow. Athletes call it being in the zone. No fear in the moment. Only focus and hope. Here’s the paper above that I linked to on mindfulness.

Anxiety Reduction Techniques: Turning Your Focus Outward and Cultivating Mindfulness

By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 2 February 2015)

woman in park with hands raised

Woman Meditating, Image Courtesy of Photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With panic disorder and other anxiety states, there is a tendency to become too inwardly focused and obsessed with imaginary future catastrophes. Those who suffer from panic tend to obsess about physical sensations and get into a negative loop of fearful anticipation, unrealistic thinking, increased adrenaline, and more unpleasant physical symptoms.

One of the best ways to deal with a distressing internal state is to shift the focus outward. Many people who suffer from panic attacks do this instinctively, seeking distractions such as television, books, music, arts and crafts, or conversation with others. However, it can be helpful just to become more interested in your surroundings, really examining the things around you (sights, sounds, smells, etc.), shifting your focus to these external elements and away from the internal and ever-magnifying obsession.

Use Positive Distractions

Often when anxiety attacks, distraction is the best way to treat it. Positive distractions that shift the focus outward include:

  • Socializing
  • Playing games
  • Exercising
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Listening to music
  • Writing
  • Doing arts and crafts
  • Solving puzzles
  • Doing things for other people

Make a Habit of Focusing Outward

There are a number of things you can do to make a habit of shifting your focus outward:

  • Join clubs or activities based on your interests.
  • Take a class to learn how to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Do volunteer work.
  • Start a fitness program with a friend.
  • Become more interested in other people – get to know your neighbours and ask others about their lives.
  • Get out into nature – start hiking or engage in some other outdoor pursuit.
  • Take up photography, landscape painting, or any other activity that encourages you to really observe what’s around you.
  • Meditate by focusing on objects that have positive significance for you or on feelings of compassion and gratitude for those who have been good to you.

When you do find your focus turning inward, shift to thinking about what you need to do to cope, to relax, to feel better. What could you do for yourself right now to enhance your confidence or overall mood? How can you best take care of yourself during this difficult time? Engage in positive self-talk, and consciously choose to visualize happy outcomes for yourself. Treat yourself as you would a good friend.

Cultivate Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a way of being within the present moment rather than worrying about the future. It increases your awareness of what is around you and enriches all life experiences, including the most mundane.

Mindfulness can help you learn to control your focus, either turning it outward or maintaining inward focus in a more positive way. Information about mindfulness can be found at:

For more natural ways to manage and reduce anxiety and stop panic attacks, see the main Panic and Anxiety Treatments page.

You don’t run away. Rather you accept the fear and let it go or pass on through as you refocus. Never been so clear headed and free as I am now.

a8772b384368363b960318e639079dc0%5B1%5D

I wrote about this here:

Uprooting Anxiety and Sin With Faith:

Fear and anxiety and worry are about the future. When I’m worried about the future I’m in my mind or ego. In the past this fear of being harmed or plotted against by others has caused me to drink and do drugs. Alcohol released my fears where I could communicate and talk with others but the next day I would feel more fear and shame. Shyness turned into social phobia and social phobia turned into paranoia. I have found that this fear is uprooted by having faith in God. Such a faith secures the future and gives one hope. Hope pushes the desires that lead to sin out of the heart as one relies on God like Christ did. It’s by the joy set before us. Not only does it push desires out of the heart but it brings strong desires to the heart as one is thrown into the current of love. It’s faith - hope - love. It’s faith working itself out through love. The joy of faith. In the Bible faith produces obedience. The power to love is the confidence that God will take care of my future. It’s the obedience of faith as one trusts and relies on God like Jesus did. It’s faith working itself out through love.Christ’s atoning death secures the future with his blood bought promises. Example:

Vengeance is Mine I will Repay

When my faith is in God the desires for sin is pushed out of the heart. I let go and let God handle it. Rather I love the enemy just like Christ did. Another example:

God works all things together for good for those that love Him.

I place my faith in God and Christ as it gives me hope.

Dealing with shame:

If we confess our sins He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

My faith is in God. Indeed. when facing shame that comes from the rejection, and ridicule of others I trust God when He promises to one day vindicate His children. Oh the glory that awaits those who are despised and rejected by others misplaced shaming. It’s faith working itself out through love. When my future is in the hands of an all powerful and loving God who promises to work out all my circumstances for good, anxiety is broken as the heart opens up to love. The desires that lead to sin are pushed out of my heart as God infuses me and covers me with His righteousness.

and here:

Ego dissolves in surrendering and trusting God. Letting go and letting God have control. Instead of fighting against the flow of life we let go of control as we abandon ourselves completely to God. We navigate through life not control it. We usually have to hit bottom and shatter the ego before we surrender to God in humble trust that leads to obedience. In learning to let go we empty ourselves to be filled with the Spirit (word of God). This letting go and emptying the self is the goal in Buddhists meditation. It sharpens our focus to live in the now or moment. When we surrender we accept the past and future as the blood of Christ covers them both. With God in control the future is secure. For He promises to work everything together for good for those that love Him. And we love Him because He first loved us in His suffering death and resurrection. In confessing our sins and trusting God the past is blotted out and the future is secure because it’s in His hands. I have hope and am freed up to live in the present moment. One day at a time one moment at a time we are dependent on Christ as He secures our future because we love and trust in Him. He is the self-sufficient, all-knowing, all-powerful and all glorious one. In and of myself I’m nothing. I’m powerless and depend on Him in a humbled and surrendered trust in His Divine Providence. In letting go I’m no longer in control but the sovereign God is. I no longer try to ego control life and other people. In surrendering to God’s control we surrender to the flow of life and live from the heart. We no longer try to manage everything. God is our manager. His omnipresence permeates everything as He is the guiding Spirit behind the cosmic evolution. We put our faith in Him. We trust His promises.

In positive psychology, a flow state , also known colloquially as being in the zone , is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time…

There’s a simple remedy called Rescue Remedy, that can be quite useful…in conjunction with any conventionally prescribed medications and therapies.

Is there a link you have Zombie?

It’s called Bach Rescue Remedy. See http://www.bachflower.com/rescue-remedy-information/. It’s available on Amazon and in many, health food stores.

1 Like

Randy,

Is there something like that for shame or social phobia or grandiose paranoid delusions?

I’ve decided to get the Rescue Remedy today.

Inattention, Lack of Focus, Daydreaming

Lack of focus, inattention and daydreaming can be balanced with the help of the Bach Flower Remedies. Parents have had great success with the Bach Flower Remedies when their children have a hard time focusing in school and teachers often are commenting that the child has become much calmer and focused after using the Bach Flower Remedies for only a short time.

When selecting the Bach Flower Remedies, look at each negative emotion and select the Bach Flower Remedy that removes it such as but not limited to:

Clematis: Helps when you daydream and have a hard time focusing on the task in front of you.
Chestnut Bud: Helps when you keep forgetting what you have learned, it helps you remember.
Walnut: Helps when you get easily distracted by noises, movements and commotion.
Gentian: Helps when you get easily discouraged by small set backs.
Vervain: Helps when you are overly excited and hyper, from over involvement in a subject or idea.
Impatiens: Helps when you easily become impatient with the slowness of others.
Elm: Helps when you easily get overwhelmed by homework, things you need to do and responsibilities.
Larch: Helps you regain self-esteem.

Please also note that some children have adverse reactions to artificial food colorings, milk, chocolate and over processed foods. Healthy diet of whole grains, vegetables and fruits is important for healthy brain functions.

Panic Attacks.

Rescue Remedy: Helps at any stressful situation where you need to be able to collect yourself and be in charge of your emotions.
Aspen: Panic, nightmares, pounding heart, sweating for no reason, anxious but don’t know why.
Rock Rose: When you feel that the fear is so great that you are unable to move or react, a frozen fear.
Mimulus Helps you when you feel fear, the type of fear that you can identify such as fear of spiders, being alone, losing a job, illness etc. You are overly sensitive, get embarrassed and nervous.
Cherry Plum: Helps you when you feel that your mind is being over-strained, you feel like you are going to explode or do irrational things.

Yes. You can use individual Bach Flower remedies. There are 38 in all, I believe. And the right homeopathic remedies. But one should also, continue with medications - prescribed by a physician.

Randy,

I think I might get some holly also. It’s good for hate and suspicious thoughts. It’s fot those that need compassion. Compassion Focused therapy is good for those with paranoid delusions of persecution. Real shame based delusions. Compassion sooths shame. It’s the opposite of self hatred.

Holly

“For those who are sometimes attacked by thoughts of such kind as jealousy, envy, revenge, suspicion. For the different forms of vexation. Within themselves they may suffer much, often when there is no real cause for their unhappiness.” – Dr. Edward Bach

Keyword: Envy, jealousy, hate, insecurity, suspicious, aggressive, needs compassion
Human indication: When you need to overcome the feeling of hate, envy and jealousy.

Sounds cool. Usually, with Bach Flower remedies, you mix 3 or 4 drops - with some water or juice. I’m off to church now. We can continue any dialogue later. And you might need to use the Bach remedies, for a few months. In conjunction with any prescribed medications, Again, I’m not giving any medical advice. Just some general points, on how Bach flower remedies are used.

I understand. I found the one. It’s Pine

Pine

“For those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think they could have done better, and are never satisfied with the decisions they make. Would this remedy help me to stop blaming myself for everything?” – Dr. Edward Bach

Keywords: Guilt, self-reproach, humble, apologetic, shame, unworthy, undeserving

Human indication: When you feel guilt and self-reproach, not necessarily based on any actual wrong-doing but destroys the possibility of joy in living.

Animal/pet indication: If an animal feel shame or guilt for which something it cannot control

This is also true (Refocusing) with delusions and hallucinations. This comes from my book “Schizoaffective Disorder Simplified” that I got yesterday. It agrees exactly with the link in the OP on panic and anxiety. The same principles are applied to delusions and hallucinations of my disease “Schizoaffective”.

Below is a list of strategies that people with schizoaffective disorder have found to be helpful in coping with hallucinations and delusions:

Humming

Listening to music

Praying

Meditation

Using a Mantra

Painting

Imagery

Going for a walk

Phoning a friend

Exercising

Using relaxation techniques

Doing yoga

Watching TV

Doing crosswords or other puzzles

Trying a new hobby

Playing a computer game

Calling a mental health professional

Taking a warm bath

Talking to people you trust

The OP about refocusing is also one of the things the Christian philosopher Dr. J.P. Moreland used to overcome his anxiety and panic attacks. He writes about it here:

He summarized the 4 step method he found in this book written by two psychiatrists here below. It’s the second step called “Refocus”. Dr. J.P. Moreland wrote a blurb (endorsement) of the book on it’s front cover:

Here’s the description of the book;

Two neuroscience experts explain how their 4-Step Method can help identify negative thoughts and change bad habits for good.

A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain , Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for people suffering from OCD, teaching patients how to achieve long-term relief from their compulsions.

Schwartz works with psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding to refine a program that successfully explains how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, etc.) the key to making life changes that you want—to make your brain work for you—is to consciously choose to “starve” these circuits of focused attention, thereby decreasing their influence and strength. You Are Not Your Brain carefully outlines their program, showing readers how to identify negative impulses, channel them through the power of focused attention, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.

I found this book and it’s 4 step method after I discovered it on my own. It works. It did for me anyway.

Here’s a list of things to do as you refocus from the book “You Are Not Your Brain”. After steps one and two you refocus and rewire your brain. These thing get you into “flow” in the present moment. They are the same as the list in my book “Schizoaffective Disorder Simplified.” This is what truly works.

Go for a walk noticing the scenery and environment

Exercise

Listen to music

Read

Write, blog

Play games like solitare

Work

Watch a wholesome or educational T.V. show

A hobby that focuses your attention like coloring, painting, putting models together. Anything that gets the attention focused and flowing outside of self.