Social Anxiety Forum - View Single Post - your coping mechanisms to avoid stress?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Invisiblehandicap View Post
In order to avoid getting a panic attack or acting inappropriately in public, it is best to recognize when the anxiety is coming and stop it before it becomes too difficult to contain. By the time you start crying or your eyes get dizzy it is too late because you can no longer concentrate or think rationally.
In psychology that's called the "hot" and "cold" states. When in a cold state it is often hard to motivate oneself to prepare for the hot states, because the intensity of these emotions when in a hot state are hard to imagine and do anything about in the cold state, they feel kind of irrelevant. However, the gap between the two can definitely be reduced via practice and experience.

Like Invisible mentioned; noticing when you are approaching the hot state (through mental and physical awareness) makes it possible for you to consciously do something about it before it becomes too late/difficult to handle.

Through experience we learn which situations are hot and which are cold for us, which is great. We need that to prepare for situations. So another way is visualizing the hot states the way you would like them to go including feeling positive emotions. That practice creates mental cues; when a similar situation arises, your brain already has the experience to function a certain way and so it becomes easier to feel those emotions and have that pattern of thought, which you had when visualizing.

It all clicks together now. When I said that I think it's not a good idea to push oneself forcefully into situations when you're not ready, I was talking about the inability to handle hot situations. But that does not mean that you have to sit and wait to be ready, you can prepare.

So in summary here are the main concepts:

- AWARENESS to stop before it becomes too much; e.g. get yourself out of the situation
- EXPERIENCE to learn the patterns/cycles of own emotional states and their causes
- VISUALIZATION to rewire the brain from cold states to deal with different phases of the cycle (hot states)
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