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Are Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks the Same Thing? – Cleveland Clinic

Your body is trembling. You’re feeling restless and can’t sleep. Your heart rate is through the roof and there’s sweat pouring out of you like a sprinkler during the middle of summer. Suffice it to say, dealing with anxiety attacks can be both dreading and exhausting. However, instead of facing the negatives, why not take advantage of some positive factors of anxiety attacks? Studies from various institutes have found that anxiety attacks can work to your advantage depending on how you view the situation. These positives include:

Increased Self-Awareness: While our anxiety may be amplified, on a positive note, it still forces us to be more self-conscious and aware of our actions. According to a study by Vantage Point Recovery, anxiety attacks “can serve as a radar for noticing stressful situations, which gives us a chance to learn self-regulation techniques before it becomes too overwhelming”. Self-regulation techniques include note-taking and remembering information which, in turn, improves our organizational skills. However, it important to not allow our anxiety to amplify to the point where self-awareness is problematic. “Noticing what triggers attacks may help because we know what works for us and what doesn’t”, says Vantage Point Recovery.

Improved Introspective Skills: By “Introspective”, we mean that anxiety can hone in on our analytical skills. According to an experiment conducted by The Life Science Journal, “those with higher levels of paranoia had higher levels of activity in various sections of their brain”. The two most prominent skills improved by this activity were problem solving skills and overall intelligence. However, memory and focus proved detrimental by the results of this experiment. Still, effective problem solving skills can help improve our ability to cope with anxiety, which could otherwise prove difficult.

Increased Judgement Skills: According to analyst Kyan Patten, “Due to anxiety constantly making us feel on edge and amplifying our negative bias, we always think the worst of every situation. As a result, we’re more attentive and ready for any harm that comes our way”. This is because stress triggers our “fight-or-flight” response which forces us to act instinctively and use better judgement. Those without anxiety, however, act more irrationally which may cause them to be in negative or even perilous situations. Remember that fear is built within the body to protect us from negative situations and anxiety increases our fear enough for us to think rationally and wiser.

Increased Motivation Skills: While many believe anxiety decreases our motivation, that decreased motivation is exactly why it increases motivation! Honestly, anxiety attacks are uncomfortable; your heart is beating, you can barely breathe, and you want to struggle to pass. This uncomfortable nature encourages us to take action to rid our body of the feeling. Patten says it best, “After all, the more we hold on to our thoughts causing the anxiety, the worse it will become in the long-term”. Thus, we should apply this improved motivation into our lives to improve not only our conscience, but our productivity. This, of course, depends of commitment and perseverance.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 40 million adults suffer frequent anxiety attacks. While many believe it to be a severe detriment and obstacle to their overall health, there are effects which show that anxiety attacks may prove beneficial to their well-being. So, put a smile on your face, regain your self-confidence and start reaping the benefits of anxiety attacks. You may just learn something about your mental health you never knew before!

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