Coping With Panic and Stress Thinking What messages do I say to myself as I get panicky? Am I exaggerating ("always", "never," etc.)? Am I expecting a high probability of an outcome of dire consequences? Am I oversimplifying (if A happens, then B must follow)? What payoff do I get from panic (avoidance of aversive responsibilities, failure, or feared situation; attention from others)? Feeling How do I feel before, during, and after panic? How do I know/label those feelings? Behavior What situations set off the panic? Do my breathing, heartbeat, muscle tension, or body movements change? What actions are different (do I cry, sweat, hide, yell, shiver, etc.)? Face It Seek and accept treatment (learn panic reduction and stress management skills). Take an active role in your own care Build a reservoir of coping strategies (meditate on positive or pleasant images, develop symbols of being in control to modify fears, learn hypnosis, use diversion, listen to relaxation tapes). Avoid Your Panic Distance yourself from the panic and stress in your imagination (think about something long ago, far away, or in the future). Distance yourself via external distraction (initiate pleasant activity immediately, call someone, exercise, meet someone else's need). Distance yourself via internal cognition (deny, joke, intellectualize). Avoid situations that trigger the panic. Avoid excessive use of stimulants and caffeine, skipping meals, and excessive fatigue. Turn To Others Share your feeling and fears. Seek support from your family, friends, or therapist. Pray.