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Coping Statements

(Excerpted from the Freedom of Fear Foundation Newsletter, July-August 1994)

Use any or all of the following positive coping statements to help you cultivate attitudes of accepting, floating and letting time pass during a panic attack. You may find it helpful to repeat a statement over and over the first minute or two when you feel the panic symptoms coming on. You may also want to do some deep abdominal breathing in conjunction with repeating a statement. If one statement becomes tiresome or seems to stop working, try another.

  • This feeling isn’t comfortable or pleasant, but I can accept it.
  • I can be anxious and still deal with this situation.
  • I can handle these symptoms and sensations; this is not dangerous.
  • This isn’t an emergency. It’s OK to think slowly about what I need to do.
  • This is an opportunity for me to learn to cope with my fears.
  • Fighting and resisting this isn’t going to help; I’ll just let it pass.
  • There is no need to push myself. I can take a small step forward as I choose.
  • I’ve survived this before and I’ll survive this time too.
  • This anxiety won’t hurt me, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable right now.
  • These are just scary thoughts, and I have the ability to change my thoughts.
  • I can take all the time I need in order to let go and relax.

Write your most helpful suggestions on a 3 x 5 card and keep it with you. The statements and the act of reading the statements to yourself will lessen the anxiety and allow you to stay in the present.

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