I've assembled some of my favorite articles about how to deal with anxiety, based on the works of Dr. Claire Weekes whose best-selling books have helped millions of people. Dr. Claire Weekes, the late Australian physician with a special interest in anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia, said the best way to deal with them and regain a sense of calm is not to fight the feelings, but to go along with the sensations. She called this “floating,” a “masterly inactivity.” By this she meant stop holding tensely onto yourself, trying to control your fear, trying “to do something about it,” while subjecting yourself to constant self-analysis. She wrote: “The average person, tense with battling, has an innate aversion to… letting go. He or she thinks that were they to do this, they would lose control over the last vestage of their will power and their house of cards would tumble.” The following is from an anxiety therapist, Dr. David Carbonell. I'm not recommending his methods or his workbook, just offering the following in hopes it will help anyone with anxiety and panic attacks: Claire Weekes Knew it was a Trick The aversion Claire Weekes referred to is the result of thePanic Trick. It's the idea that a person is just barely holding himself together, and that if he relaxes his grip even a little, he will fall apart. In fact, it's his struggling to keep a grip thatmaintainsthe anxiety! What I like best about the notion of floating is that it avoids two common misunderstandings about overcoming anxiety. The first one is the idea that you have to struggle against anxiety, fight it, and overcome it. And the second, related to the first, is that you have to arm yourself with all kinds of techniques and objects in order to enter the fray and confront anxiety. In reality, you'll make much better progress when you let yourself float through the anxiety, not striving to overcome anything, not struggling to employ techniques, but simply allowing the sensations to pass over time. The best kind of help, in my opinion, is the floating kind. It's help that assists you to rediscover your own natural abilities to cope with whatever comes, rather than arming you against potential adversity. The Anxiety Trick The Anxiety Trick is behind most of the trouble people have with chronic anxiety. Have you struggled to overcome an anxiety disorder, only to get disappointing results, or even feel worse over time? You're being fooled by the Anxiety Trick. This is a terribly common occurrence, and people mistakenly blame themselves for it. Here's a more accurate, and helpful, way to understand this common and frustrating problem. What is an anxiety disorder? It's you getting tricked into feeling powerful fear in the absence of any danger. It's because there's no danger that people seek help for these fears. People recognize that they're getting afraid when they're not in danger. If they were actually in danger, they would just protect themselves as best they could, and be better off for it. With an anxiety disorder, people get afraid when they're not in danger. Their struggle to protect themselves from fear leads them down a path of increasing trouble. That's the anxiety trick. How does this happen, that you feel fear in the absence of danger? This is the Anxiety Trick at work. How You Get Tricked * If you havePanic DisorderorAgoraphobia, you keep getting tricked into believing that you're about to die, go crazy, or lose control of yourself. * If you haveSocial Phobia,you keep getting tricked into into believing that you're about to look so unreasonably nervous in front of people that you will be completely humiliated and be cast aside by your community. * If you have aSpecific Phobia, you keep getting tricked into believing that you're likely to be overcome by some external object (like an elevator) or animal, or by your fear of it. * If you haveOCD, you keep getting tricked into believing that you've set in motion a terrible calamity. You might fear that your neighborhood will burn because you left the stove on, or that your family will get poisoned because you mishandled the insecticide. * If you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you keep getting tricked into believing that you're about to be driven mad by constant worrying. In each case, the episode of fear passes without the expected catastrophe. You're none the worse for wear, except that you're more worried about the next episode. The details seem different, but it's the same anxiety trick. What is the Anxiety Trick? The Anxiety Trick is this:You experience Discomfort, and get fooled into treating it like Danger. What do we do when we're in danger? We only have three things: Fight, Flight, and Freeze. If it looks weaker than me, I'll fight it. If it looks stronger than me, but slower, I'll run away. And if it looks stronger and faster than me, I'll freeze and hope it doesn't see so good. That's all we have for danger. When people experience the fear of a panic attack, or a phobic encounter, or an obsessive thought, they instinctively treat it as a danger. They try to protect themselves, with some variation of Fight, Flight, or Freeze. How People Get Tricked People's natural instincts to protect themselves are what lead them to get tricked. See if you recognize your responses in these examples below. A person with Panic Disorder gets tricked into holding her breath and fleeing the store (highway, theater, or other locale), rather than shifting toBelly Breathing. and staying there until the feelings pass. A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder gets tricked into trying to stop the unwanted "what if?" thoughts, rather than accepting them and taking care of present business as thoughts come and go. A person with Social Phobia gets tricked into avoiding the party, or hiding in the corner if he attends, rather than say hello to a stranger and see what happens. A person with OCD gets tricked into repeatedly washing his hands, or returning home to check the stove, rather than accepting the intrusive thoughts of contamination and fire and returning his energies to the present activities at hand. A person with a dog phobia gets tricked into avoiding the feelings by avoiding all dogs, rather than spending time with a dog until the feelings pass. What Maintains the Anxiety Trick? You might wonder, why don't people come to see this pattern, of repeated episodes of fear which don't lead to the feared outcome, and gradually lose their fear? The answer is this. They took these protective steps, and there was no catastrophe. They tend to believe that these steps "saved" them from a catastrophe. This thought makes them worry more about "the next time". It convinces them that they are terribly vulnerable and must constantly protect themselves. The actual reason they didn't experience a catastrophe is that such catastrophes are typically not part of a fear or phobia. These are anxiety disorders, not catastrophe disorders. People get through the experience because the experience isn't actually dangerous. But it's understandably hard for people to recognize that at the time. They're more likely to think they just had a "narrow escape". This leads them to redouble their protective steps. It's the protective steps which actually maintain and strengthen the Anxiety Trick. If you think you just narrowly escaped a catastrophe because you had your cellular phone, or a water bottle; or because you went back and checked the stove seven times; or because you plugged in your iPod and distracted yourself with some music, then you're going to continue to feel vulnerable. And you're going to get more stuck in the habit of "protecting" yourself by these means. This is how the problem gets embedded in your life. You think you're helping yourself, but you've actually been tricked into making it worse. That's how sneaky this Trick is. This is why my patients so often say, "the harder I try, the worse it gets". If the harder you try, the worse it gets, then you should take another look at the methods you've been using. You've probably been tricked into trying to protect yourself against something that isn't dangerous, and this makes your fear worse over time. How Can You Overcome The Anxiety Trick? The thing that makes fears and phobias so persistent is that virtually anything you do to oppose, escape, or distract from the anxious feelings and thoughts will be turned against you, and make the anxiety a more persistent part of your life. This is why people notice "the harder I try, the worse it gets". They're putting out fires with gasoline. If you come to see that you've been putting out fires with gasoline, you may not have any idea what to do next. But the first step is always the same: put down the buckets. Stop throwing gasoline on that fire. This is where the cognitive behavioral methods of desensitization and exposure come in. They're intended as methods by which you can practice with (not against) the symptoms, and become less sensitive to them. As you lose your fear of the symptoms, through this practice, that's when the symptoms will fade. All too often, people get the idea that exposure means going to a place or situation where you're likely to get anxious, perhaps a highway or an elevator, and take a ride without getting anxious. That's not the point! The point is to actually go there andfeel the anxiety, being sure to stay there and letting the anxiety leave first. This is whatClaire Weekescalledfloating. The way to disarm the Anxiety Trick is to increasingly spend time with anxiety, to expose yourself to the thoughts and sensations, and allow them to subside over time. What can you do to make the experience of exposure more tolerable? You can use theAWAREsteps as a general guide for how to conduct yourself while doing exposure. If you want a more specific, step by step guide, myPanic Attacks Workbookis full of tools and techniques that will help you keep moving forward. Always keep in mind that exposure is practicewithfear, and do nothing to oppose, avoid, or distract from the fear during exposure. Panic Attacks Help that's Practical & Powerful Here is the panic attacks help you need to make a full recovery from panic attacks, phobias, and chronic anxiety. My Panic Attacks Workbook shows you how to overcome panic attacks and regain the freedoms you enjoyed before panic invaded your life. It will take you by the hand and guide you to recovery, step by step. If you like the self help materials on my website, you're going to love this book! It's like coming to my office I wrote it to give you the same panic attacks help you'd get if you came to my office. You'll go through the same steps we'd cover if I worked with you personally, and get the specific guidance you need to make these steps work for you. The steps are based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and include some methods from a newer form of CBT called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The proven methods in this book show you how to identify the panic trick, and give you the tools you need to solve it. Beat the Panic Trick This 240 page book contains 23 chapters, divided into 4 sections. The first section describes the Panic Trick, how it works to keep you a prisoner of your fears, and helps you become clearly aware of how the trick works in your daily life. The second section starts you on the active path to recovery with hands-on exercises that prepare you to respond in new ways to panic. The third section takes you through the process of progressive exposure and desensitization. The fourth and final section offers practical tips and techniques for overcoming 5 common phobias - claustrophobia, social phobia, and the fears of flying, driving, and public speaking. This is the Panic Attacks Help you need This book sells for $17.95 in most bookstores, but I sell it here for $14.95, plus shipping. If it only eliminated your need for just one therapy session, you would come out ahead! But it will do much more than that. You can waste, not just money, but precious time and energy - your time and energy - if you don't fully and accurately understand how to undo the panic trick. In this book, I give you that understanding, and guide you in its use, so that you can obtain the recovery you deserve. Here's what Dr. Reid Wilson, noted anxiety expert, says abou tPanic Attacks Workbook. Dr. Carbonell, a long-time colleague of mine, has written a wonderful, inspiring and comprehensive guidebook for winning over panic attacks. While panic attacks are terrifying for the sufferer, they take over territory in a person’s life by playing a very simple but powerful game. InPanic Attacks Workbookyou will find the solid and clever strategies needed to win this mental game and take back your life. And here's what Neal Sideman, self-help advocate, has to say. In my opinion, Panic Attacks Workbookis the best self-help book for overcoming panic - and I have read nearly all of them. The author, Dr. David Carbonell, is one of the leading experts in the field of anxiety disorders. With clarity, compassion and humor, he presents the most effective approaches to overcoming panic. Reading this book is like having several sessions with a caring, expert therapist. If you are facing the challenge of panic attacks, this book is the place to start. In 1998, after years of struggle, I overcame panic disorder & agoraphobia. Since 2001, I have been directing a popular website that provides resources for people recovering from these conditions. Among all the self-help books, my #1 recommendation is Panic Attacks Workbook. If you're looking for panic attacks help, Dr. Carbonell says his book will give you the guidance you need.