by Katie Heffring

Why do we panic? I mean, besides the natural instinct to run when we’re in danger, why do we panic? Why do most of us sweat the small stuff? And why do most of us have anxiety more when we are older than when we are younger?

You might answer money, fear of the unknown, fear of failure and loss of control, combined with stress, inability, pressure, expectations, self-confidence, and genetics. And you’re probably right. But knowing the answer doesn’t really help stop the panic.

Are more of us having panic attacks? Should we blame each other? Should we blame ourselves for the way the media is presented, the way we interact on social media and encourage the use of technology that magnifies our image? Should we blame ourselves for how suddenly we shifted the “go-to-college-get-a-good-job” paradigm and have accepted low-paying, unchallenging jobs?

What can we do? I remember a good friend of mine told me to simply try not to think of the future, just stay in the present and be the best you can be. Is that what having control means? Is ignorance bliss?


I know for me, it doesn’t help when my imagination likes to take over. There are some tricks that I do to de-stress, though. I turn off the news and “notifications” on my social media accounts, especially if I’m having a stressful day. I go for a walk or bike ride. Think about a person who fought through a difficult challenge and accomplished something great. I hang out with a friend (or pet) who is just like me or talk to someone who doesn’t know me about something neutral. Listen to music or write. And if I ever have a panic attack, I say the letters of my name backwards and count down from twenty. Oh, and I also watch this (enjoy!):

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