If you are good a metaphorical thinking, you can use it to your advantage. I recently had a client describe her anxiety as being like a lawn mower motor that was constantly being revved. If that describes your own anxiety, you could imagine adjusting the carburetor to reset the engine.
Kids are the BEST at coming up with useful metaphors. Try to think like a kid if you want to use your imagine to help heal yourself.
I once had a 6-year-old boy imagine a pit bull that lived in his closet to scare away the monsters. He also had a black and white cow in the front yard to eat bad dreams.
Telling yourself over and over again to stop panicking is a waste of time. Here’s why: The subconscious mind has only one way to process a negative. If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant, what did you just do? Your mind had to see a pink elephant and then “x” it out.
However, what if I tell you that pink elephant is named Matilda and she lifts you onto her back with her trunk and carries you away from all your worries? She is so big and tall that no worries can reach you when you are on her back. Try imagining that scenario now.
So instead of using negative statements to help calm yourself, imagine a useful tool that alters the situation. Typically I tell clients, “I am going to count to 3. When I get to 3, tell me the first thing that pops into your head, a tool to help you deal with your anxiety.”
What did you imagine?