Anxiety is a normal emotion. Everyone has anxiety at times. It’s a survival mechanism. In the past, anxiety kept people from walking into a lion’s den. Today it still helps you stay safe. Without anxiety about getting into an accident, why not drive 100 miles, or why not go to the beach on a nice day rather than to work? Anxiety produces chemicals such as adrenalin, that give you a fight or flight response. You become more alert, stronger, and ready to face a challenge. However, when you have too much adrenalin, your body responds by using it up, rather than letting it stay in your bloodstream and cause damage. Whether you like it or not, you are going for a run… your heartbeat speeds up, you sweat, you start breathing harder. You are burning excess adrenalin, and this is a panic attack. Although it doesn’t feel good (may feel like you are dying actually) it isn’t dangerous, and is your body’s way of staying in balance. Once you realize that you aren’t in danger, you can relax and breath slowly. It may help you to breath into a paper bag to help get your oxygen back in balance and stop your hyperventilating. Come back next week, as I will discuss ways to avoid having a panic attack at all.