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First, find a small ball (not a golf ball) which you can squeeze. An old tennis ball or any squeezable rubber ball will do. Keep it in your hand.  Now, relax as much as possible and clear your mind of extraneous things. You might just want to close your eyes and take a couple of slow deep breaths, two in, one long one out. You do not need to be in the dark, but dim light (such as the computer screen only) may help. Give yourself a little time. When you feel relaxed go to the next step.

  1. Try to envision some situation, or especially some person, you are afraid of. It could be something or some person you encounter every day. If it is a person, he or she could be a relative, co-worker, boss or just someone you know. We'll call this person or situation the 'target'.

  2. See if you can feel some of the anxiety (or fear, if that's what it seems like) associated this 'target', especially if it is a person. Concentrate on it. Do not be afraid that you will have a panic attack now. You will not. You are in control now. You are not helpless!

  3. Check that ball in your hand. Did you start to squeeze it? If you did you were probably really beginning to feel the emotions associated with that target.

  4. Now relax. Try to clear your mind. You are just in front of a computer. Not that person or situation.

  5. Usually when we know such a situation or a person, we are also angry about the 'target'.  Keep in mind, anger is a feeling, not an action. You can be angry without doing anything about it or even letting anyone else know what you are feeling. If you are subject to panic disorder, the next step may be hard for you because it is unfamiliar territory. 

  6. Try now to focus on the same person or situation and LET YOURSELF FEEL THE ANGER WHICH IS ALSO THERE.  FEEL IT!  DON'T WORRY, NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN TO YOU. Give yourself a few minutes and try to get in touch with THAT FEELING OF ANGER.  Just focus on it!

  7. If you kept that ball in your hand squeeze it hard, now!  Doing this should help you to really feel the hidden emotions. 

  8. If you have been able to feel the anger, now ask yourself,  'What happened to the fear I was feeling just a few minutes ago?'  Do I also feel afraid when I feel angry? IF YOU HAVE TRULY ALLOWED YOURSELF TO FEEL THE ANGER YOU WILL FIND THAT YOU CANNOT FEEL ANGRY AND AFRAID AT THE SAME TIME. THEY CAN ALTERNATE VERY FAST, BUT THEY CANNOT CO-EXIST AT THE SAME TIME.
    Try to focus on your emotional state right now. How do you feel? Check the list below:

  1. If you feel any less afraid than you did initially when thinking about the 'bad' thing or person, you may have taken a first step towards curing your panic problem for life. There is much more to it, but this is a key.  This is not simply a matter of interfering with one emotion by trying to experience a contrary one. That is a technique (called reciprocal inhibition) long used by some professionals to treat panic. In the long run it does not work well and misses the point. This system is, instead, a cognitive (or understanding) process. It does not rely on any tricks. Please click below to go on.

  2. If you were unable to really feel anger, and when you think of it, you know that just about anybody would be angry about the thing or things you focused on, you also have made progress. Like the majority of panic attack victims, you are not good at consciously feeling anger. Most people with panic disorder are either afraid to offend someone who could retaliate or are afraid to go out of control. Your own anger may scare you, but understanding that is part of this program. Furthermore, as you will learn, sometimes the trigger for a panic attack is a situation that symbolizes or reminds you of the thing you are angry about. Recognizing the connection may take a bit of time but when you do it, you will be amazed. You should go on by clicking below.

  3. If you feel a little confused, or even a bit strange, that is O.K., too. We all feel that way when we have a really new experience or revelation. This program may give you quite a few revelations. Please continue by clicking below.

  4. If you honestly believe that you have felt nothing different when sincerely trying this self test DO NOT GIVE UP!  YOU ARE URGED TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THE STEPS ABOVE AT LEAST ONE MORE TIME.  If after doing that, you are still in category 'd', we strongly suggest you read through our book "Stop Panic".  It can be read in an hour or two. As a member, you are entitled to a $14.95 refund upon sending us a printed copy of this page at ", P.O. Box 4029, Brick, N.J. 08723. Please click this link to purchase Once you have read the book, please come back to this exercise and give it another try.  Then go through the rest of the program by clicking below. You may also wish to try some of the other resources on the Web, or consult a qualified professional. Some are listed in the 'professional referral' section on our home page. 



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Revised: September 27, 2002 .