We've all heard of the "placebo effect" - a patient is told that they are getting a treatment or drug, when really they get a fake, but their positive expectations alone help them improve. Well a recent article about the "nocebo effect" reminded me of the power of the mind-body connection when it comes to anxiety. In the article, the author focuses mainly on how the bedside manner and word choice of a physician can actually have a significant negative influence on patients. For instance, when a doctor overemphasizes the possibility of certain side effects when describing a treatment or drug, the patient is significantly more likely to experience those side effects.
An important takeaway from this article is that whether we expect good outcomes or bad outcomes to occur, we are right. Through the placebo and nocebo (it's a real word, I promise) effects, we have the power to influence our experiences for good or for bad. That's not to say that our experiences in life are entirely within our control, but science has shown for more than 100 years that our minds have the power to influence our bodies.
So when it comes to addressing our anxieties or even panic attacks optimism is key. Plan for success; don't prepare for your failure. Now that is easier said than done, I admit, but it reminds of what I was told when I was learning to ski, "Look where you want to go, not where you're trying to avoid." If you stare at a tree you're trying to ski around, you're probably going to hit it. The same is true of panic and anxiety. Look where you want to go, and the mind-body connection will go to work.