Shake Off Anxiety with Two Simple Words!

Have you ever noticed how anxiety is fueled by one simple question you keep asking yourself?

That question is… what if?

What if I drive my car on the highway and I have a panic attack?
What if faint in public, who will help me?
What if I get sick or lose my job?
What if my mind never stops racing with anxious thoughts?

If anxious ‘what if’s’ are not quickly defused, they tend to spiral out of control, leaping from one catastrophic thought to another. Before you know it these ‘what ifs’ have triggered a tidal wave of adrenaline and fear.

What if?…What if?…And then what if ?

You can’t stop these ‘what if’s’. They manifest outside your control.  What you can control is how you respond to them.

In order to defuse these anxious ‘what ifs’ you need to answer the question quickly and limit the potential for the anxiety to spiral out of control.

A good strong response to a ‘what if’ is: ‘So what!’

What if I drive my car on the highway and I have a panic attack?
So what! I’ll pull over and get through it like I have always done in the past.

What if faint in public, who will help me?
So what! If I faint I faint. Someone will come to help me and in two minutes I will be conscious again.

What if my mind never stops racing with thoughts?
So what! Thoughts are just thoughts and cannot harm me. Eventually my anxious mind will settle.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t fully believe in your own responses to these questions, the key point here is to quickly defuse the build up of fear by answering the ‘what if’ with a strong enough response.

As long as you come up with something reassuring and dismissive of the initial ‘what if’ thought it will have the desired effect.

To make your response even more effective you can have a sense of humor with your replies. Humor is the fastest way to disengage your anxious mind. An anxious thought can be diminished in a flash of laughter.

This is effective because it neutralize the fear and places you back into a position of power.

Side step the trap of anxiety by always responding to fear and anxiety with a good strong ‘so what![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


  • Ruth Robertson Reply

    I have anxiety and use the word so what! I also find doing the 21 second which I have on my mp 3 play and 7 second also help me and I also do slow deep breaths into towel too

  • Shams Reply

    Dear sir,
    Iam Shamsudheen an Indian lives in Bahrain. Sir Iam suffering panic attack last three yerars.after know about you and your valuable advice Iam still hapy.Every time i receive your email it boost my energy.just now iam fearing about panic aand anxiety your mail receuved me.
    So iam very thankful toyou sir
    Thank you somuch

  • Macho Reply

    Ruth I like ur response I’m goin to try it me I usually just say to it get it over with then take deep slow breaths till its gone . Thanks

  • Macho Reply

    It’s ok I don’t mind sharing info if it helps we need all the help we can get!!!!!

  • Karen DiMarco Reply

    Another great tip to help me out. I will definitely start trying this right away. So glad to know I am not alone! Thank you!!!

  • debbie Reply

    Hiya I do still get anxiety but only when I get stressed and then it is ten fold but I like the idea of the saying so what I’ll give it a bash x

  • Gabi Reply

    Yes, exactly, so what? Thank you for those two words. I am going to practise it. Right now!
    But what if it doesn’t work? :))))))))))))

  • Andrew Maskill Reply

    I find your suggestions most helpful – particularly “imagine/forecast a panic attack” and see if it happens. My experience so far is that it does not occur.
    Appreciate your regular emails and comments as my problem is driving following unforeseen car accident and when a panic attack occurs there is really no time to work through it particularly driving through tunnels, bridges and motor ways. Only real solution is not to have them.

  • atirudy Reply

    Hi I am from small town in India and I feel no one here has agarophobia. I have never been outside my town moreover I have not gone to places which is far even in my town. I luckily got your website panic away from google. And I daily read ur mail and your free trial, it helped alot but still whenever I have some kind of headache or sickness my mind starts racing with “what if’s” like you said in your mail. I feel you understand and explain my situation exactly. No one could do that. I went to psychiatrist and they only give drugs (anti depression) which makes me worse by swallowing just one of that pill and I just hate it but in one of ur mail and video I saw drugs is not necessary and it was such a relief. I want to more on how to over come these panic attacks and anxiety. And I want to buy your panic away but I cannot buy through internet since I have no internet banking

  • Kim Reply

    Trust me I know exactly how all of you feel. I have felt with this condition all of my life. I have recently became agorophobic. I don’t like to travel far from my safe place. I hear something negative on TV and I immediately think it’s gonna happen to me. It’s truly no way to live. I REFUSE meds. Support groups are very helpful and faith in god. We can all get through this, it’s just a matter of changing our thought process.

  • saeed Reply

    It’s been 2 years since I have my first panic attack.
    Now after reading your posts I totally understand my
    Disease .now I am 95%”recovered. .im thankful to you.

  • Dennis Simsek Reply

    Barry you are a true inspiration, and your methods of dealing with panic and anxiety are timeless. I can’t wait to catch up with you again through Facebook as we did before. My readers on my inspirational anxiety success story blog would love to hear more about the panic away methods i’m sure.


  • Macho Reply

    I like this site we can share our thoughts and our teqniqes for over coming our anxiety and panic attacks like all your suggestions thanks we can all get through it!!!

  • Siobhan Reply

    I try to remind myself that it’s just a feeling and won’t hurt me. It will be gone soon. It’s hard when feelings are intense but I try to breathe slowly and say things to myself like “Come on now you’re alright” and “Just relax it’s only a feeling”. When I feel anxious for a couple of days together it’s hard but I find if I try to do things and move around it makes my muscles less tense. It’s no way to live though so I feel for everyone who’s on this site.

  • Traci Reply

    The “what if” can also be looked at like “monsters under your bed” I am sure most of you in early childhood remember running and leaping to your bed so the monsters would not harm you. I started practicing saying to myself when my anxiety got out of control and the sensations ambushed me.. I would look up and say it is just the monsters under my bed.. I stated doing that right after I read the book. Most of the time I am able within minutes to calm the anxious mind, the part I am having a hard time with is confrontation.. I immediately start to hyperventilate (my favorite thing to do).

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