«My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me» (Psalm 55:4).
One of the most intense manifestations of a state of anxiety is a crisis or panic attack. Their sudden and unexpected outbreak paralyzes the one who suffers it and limits the normal activities of daily life. The symptoms are usually mistaken for a heart attack that is why those who experience strong palpitations, sensations of choking, hot flashes, nausea and intense fear of dying usually seek treatment in the emergency room of a hospital, believing that their life is at risk. However medical examination shows there is no vital risk in panic attacks. If the episodes are recurrent, then we can say it is a disorder.
Without any doubts, the thoughts play an important role in triggering the attack. For this reason, psychological techniques are recommended to treat the crisis. Among the most efficient ones are those which focus on identifying unreasonable thoughts and changing them with more realistic ones, for example, replacing the idea of a heart attack with thoughts like «it is only anxiety,» «several professionals confirmed it,» «just because the hearts beats stronger doesn’t mean that I’m going to have a heart attack,» and other similar ones. Other professionals recommend pairing cognitive shifting with relaxation exercises and a slow diaphragmatic breathing which will contribute to a significant decrease in anxiety.
Today’s Bible verse seems to describe the feeling of dying experienced by a person who suffers a panic attack? «My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me,» says David. In his case, the Psalmist seems to use cognitive shifting as a healing method. We can notice how his thoughts are redirected from his discomfort to the One who can bring rest in affliction. «As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice» Ps. 55:16, 17 . Even so, this is not about a simple exchange of thoughts; rather, it is about the confidence of relying on a faithful Friend who can help you anytime and anywhere.
Do you need to shift in your thoughts toward a positive direction? Ask God to help you draw your attention away from the things that distress you. You can lift your eyes to the sky and be assured that God will help you. He who shall keep you from all evil shall neither slumber nor sleep (Ps. 121: I, 4, 7).
» Tie Lord shall preserve you from this time forth, and even forevermore» (v. 8).