The 20 Second Countdown 

Top psychologists and doctors teach methods for coping with general anxiety and panic attacks, but these are not helpful for everyone that experiences panic attacks.

Ideas such as breathing into brown paper bags, think happy thoughts, breathing exercises can be helpful, but not for everyone.  But coping is not good enough.  There are more effective solutions if you are experiencing panic attacks.

End the Fear of a Panick Attack with The 20 Second Countdown

This is a very good exercise for people who want something practical to focus their attention on when they feel the pressure of a panic attack building.  Its very simple and easy to remember. Here goes…

When you feel the sensations of a panic attack building do the following.

Tell the panic that it has 20 seconds to initiate the full panic attack. 20 seconds and no more. After the 20 seconds are complete it must stop making empty threats.

You are allowing 20 seconds for it to fully manifest but not a second more.

Whatever the bodily sensation is that you fear, it must happen within that 20 second time frame.

  • If you heart is going to explode then it has 20 seconds to do so.
  • If you are going to lose control, then your mind has 20 seconds to do so.
  • If you are going to faint – 20 seconds! But absolutely no more time than that.

You get the picture.

By setting a specific time frame you establish boundaries of control. You turn it into a game where you call fear’s bluff. If it were a poker game, you are asking anxiety to show its hand.

This works because it establishes a sense of control within your mind and body.

You think to yourself “I am not prepared to spend my time worrying about this. I’ve had enough. I am going to be generous and give it 20 seconds but after 20 seconds and nothing has happened then the opportunity has officially passed and I am going to go back to what I was doing.”

Then start counting - 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 and you never wanted to reach zero. Teasing it out is the key because it allows you to feel generous and that you are giving anxiety every chance possible.

Deep down you know there is really nothing to fear.

To really help tease it out, break the last few numbers into fractions.

5…………………………..

4…………………………..

3……………………………

2…and three quarters…

2…and half………………

2…………………………..

1…and three quarters… (last chance anxiety)

1…and half……………… (I really cant wait any longer)

1…………………………..

0.

Sorry too late we’ve reached the end.

By not rushing through the countdown you will feel your confidence soar because you are demonstrating real control and authority over your anxious thoughts and bodily sensations. You are saying “look, I am really trying to give you all the time I can to unleash X,Y, and Z, I am being very generous here with this countdown.

Count your way to freedom. Count your way to confidence.

If you find this type of exercise useful then click here to learn more.  Within 5 minutes you can find out how to end the vicious cycle of anxiety and panic attacks today.

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This article is copywritten material by Barry McDonagh, an international panic disorder coach.
His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here

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