Panic Disorder Coping Emotional Reasoning and Panic Disorder By Katharina Star, PhD Katharina Star, PhD Facebook LinkedIn Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness. Learn about our editorial process Updated on January 19, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Akeem Marsh, MD Medically reviewed by Akeem Marsh, MD LinkedIn Twitter Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Emotional reasoning is a common cognitive distortion experienced by people with panic disorder. Such faulty beliefs can be dangerous for a panic sufferer, as these thoughts can increase feelings of anxiety, fear, and apprehension. Read ahead to find out more about emotional reasoning and panic disorder and learn to overcome negative thinking patterns. What Is Emotional Reasoning? Hero Images/Getty Images Do our thoughts control our feelings and behaviors? According to the theory of cognitive therapy, our thoughts can dictate our emotional well-being. Negative thinking patterns, known as cognitive distortions, are often a problem for people who suffer from depression and anxiety-related disorder. Emotional reasoning is one type of cognitive distortion that may be contributing to your symptoms of panic disorder. When overcome by this type of faulty thinking, we are interpreting our situation through our feelings. We feel anxious and then believe that we must be in danger. Emotional reasoning is a prominent distortion for people diagnosed with panic disorder, as feelings of nervousness can quickly escalate into panic. Below are a few examples of emotional reasoning and ways to reframe this common cognitive distortion. Example While driving home from work in rush hour traffic, Monica had a close call on the freeway. She felt nervous and her heart raced. Monica now no longer wants to drive on the freeway, believing that she will be at risk for getting into an accident. Leon has never felt safe in planes. On his last business trip, he started to fear his upcoming flight several days in advance. Leon would look up information on the internet that would confirm his fear of flying, such as information on past issues with flights. On the day of his trip, Leon began shaking and sweating as he boarded the plane. At one point, the pilot warned that there was going to be some turbulence and requested passengers to put on their seatbelts. Leon told himself that “He knew the plane was going to crash.” Leon’s self-talk escalated as he had a panic attack. Rethink It Monica may feel anxious while driving on the freeway, but that does not mean she is in danger. Monica can notice that she feels nervous, but instead of telling herself that she is in danger, she can tell herself that this feeling will pass. Leon became so afraid, that he began to believe he was in danger. In response to his intense fear and negative self-talk, he experienced the physical symptoms of panic and anxiety. It was as if his mind told his body to prepare for danger, a process known as the fight-or-flight response. Leon would have been better off reading the more positive information before his flight, such as fear of flying tips. Instead of participating in negative self-talk, Leon could have worked past his fears by utilizing relaxation techniques or self-affirmation, such as “I am safe.” Anxiety often begins with nervous thoughts and fears or physical sensations, such as shaking and rapid heart rate. When you feel anxiety creeping up, try slowing down your thoughts and bring yourself back to more realistic perceptions. Give yourself permission to feel anxious. Then remind yourself that it is just a feeling and that does not have to define your reality. Be certain to seek professional your negative thoughts become overwhelming or panic and anxiety seem unmanageable. Getting help for panic disorder can be the most effective way to get past faulty thinking and cope with your condition. Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Burns, D. D. “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy,” Avon Books: New York, 2008. Burns, D.D. “When Panic Attacks: The New Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life” Broadway Books: New York, 2007. By Katharina Star, PhD Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Panic Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.