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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rediscovered a copy of this excellent book and am planning to try to focus on it a little bit more.

This thread is where I will talk about it and perhaps try to share some of the concepts in the book, in case anyone else is interested.

It features "simple, concise, step-by-step directions for mastery of: relaxation, exercise, coping with panic, real-life desensitization, overcoming negative self-talk, changing mistaken beliefs, visualization, expressing feelings, assertiveness, self-esteem, nutrition, and medication."

The comprehensive approach addresses seven levels: Physical, emotional behavioral, mental, interpersonal, whole self, existential/spiritual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

This is just summarizing the techniques for panic attacks--this is the section for techniques before anxiety goes above level 4--so considered "anxiety" before panic.

4 is "marked anxiety" Feeling uncomfortable or spacey, heart beating fast, muscles tight, beginning to wonder about maintaining control.
 

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I am really curious about the role of imagination in anxiety disorders. Because I think people with very active imaginations can also be vulnerable to having it run in some panicked direction when perhaps being more conscious of one's imagination, and exercising it properly, could help prevent that.

Sort of like one of those herding dogs--an australian shepherd who if not given tasks to do and stimulation, and challenges, will turn and start "working on" chewing up your entire couch or destroying your shoes, or escaping from your yard etc. It's like some people might have more of a need for escapes into their imagination in a more conscious, productive way than like staying up all night thinking that the chair with clothes draped on it might be a one eyed goat/horse creature from prehistory because you watched a TerraX video that made it seem creepy (or perhaps one of the trolls from the gnome books--the mean ones).

So I'm curious now about using activities like visualization which can include imagination exercises--visualizing things that help with anxiety. Or even exploring fears and ideas through fantasy or fiction. And I think the book had a chapter about relaxing and visualization, so maybe I will read that next.

I don't think imagination is what drives all anxiety, but I do think it's part of it--and it's a force that can run amok and be destructive or it can have some safe outlet that can even influence away from anxiety.
 

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I don't think I have much of an imagination when it comes to danger and so on. My sister "worries" if she doesn't hear from me, and when I travel, etc. I don't understand it.

I had my first/only panic attack 12 years ago while driving in the mountains. I had to pull over and breathe several times. I went knocking on doors and eventually found someone to drive me to terrain that I could handle. It was because I had none of the reference points I was used to. On one side there was nothing but air for several miles. I was used to having buildings, trees, fields, or traffic beside me, but not air! I've avoided driving in the mountains ever since. But sometimes maps are deceptive, and I have ended up in scary mountain situations a few times since then. I experienced unpleasant, white-knuckle fear those times, but not quite at panic level. Maybe because it didn't come as a complete surprise.

I attribute this to disorientation rather than imagination.

Another time I felt afraid was quite recently. Apparently the fire department in my new town has a Santa Claus gift delivery for seniors. I had no awareness of this, and I wasn't thinking about Christmas (because I don't celebrate Christmas), and I had no idea that someone had put me on the gift list. So one day I looked out my window and saw a fire truck, so I thought there was an emergency in my building or in the house next door. Within 30 seconds there was a knock at my door, and I heard someone giggling, but they wouldn't identify themselves. It's a controlled access building, and no one should have been in the hall. The whole thing didn't make sense, and I was scared. Again, it was more along the lines of disorientation -- not so much that I imagined this or that, but that I couldn't imagine what was going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
@islandlight those seem understandable especially if you have any fear of heights. I once went back and took a different route because I didn't want to drive against the sun on this really cliffy highway. I think it was a good choice, because anxiety or panic and driving don't mix well, especially if you are on a more challenging road.

It's also understandable that you would be concerned with a fire truck and some giggling stranger out in your hall--because it could have been an emergency due to violence as fire trucks are sometimes first responders. I find it slightly amusing that they didn't really think of that and probably imagined everyone would be excited by it, when a lot of people associate fire trucks with emergencies.

I don't think everyone's anxiety stems from imagination, but I think some people might have a relationship between them (like myself). I sometimes like imagining things, but combined with anxiety it's not great. Like suspending disbelief enough to get into a story is great, but the unknown can be far scarier when one feels threatened or in danger.

Your story sort of reminds me of this time at a school I worked at, in which we always had lion dancers come in for Chinese New year. Well one year it was pouring rain so we were trying to figure out where it would happen--since usually it was done in the courtyard.

The dancers basically just burst in to the classroom dressed as giant lions, and the children who were all under three immediately freaked out, I had like six children fling themselves onto me screaming bloody murder, and these lion dancers probably felt pretty bad, but that wasn't very well thought out. Not really the best way for cultural enrichment.

Nice idea but...not the best application.



My idea was to have the children create their own version of a costume and perform it themselves, so they knew what it was--so they could understand and be less afraid, but the other teachers didn't really get on board so I just did that with the kid I had in extended care alone, and he had a great time--just made it with a box and some paper, and he colored it to be a dragon or lion and put it on and danced around in it while playing a drum. Because the unknown can be scary, but learning about it can still be fun and allow one to still feel less anxious. So I agree with you.
 
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