What is flooding ?

Flooding is a mental health technique designed to combat the physical nature of anxiety. It involves developing the skill of experientially accepting and going with the physical symptoms of anxiety. This technique is most effective in helping us to deal with acute anxiety, especially panic attacks and phobias. We use a modified version to deal with the symptoms of general anxiety.

Why is this skill important?

Anxiety is innate part of the human condition as we combat the stresses of life. The physical nature of anxiety is , however , often overlooked. This lack of understanding causes chaos for many people.

We are currently in the throes of an anxiety epidemic for reasons too numerous to detail here. Technology and social media are playing their part.

Many are familiar with the ‘ worrying’ side of anxiety, but fail to grasp its physical dimension . In anxiety and panic , I explained how to quickly conquer panic attacks, phobia, and social anxiety and diminish the effects of general anxiety . Flooding is an essential technique to assist us in managing the physical symptoms so prevalent in these conditions.

It is also important to mention the role of the physical symptoms of acute anxiety in adolescence presenting with self- harm. According to the child and adolescent self-harm in Europe (CASE) study (“010), over 9 percent of Irish children of school going age self-harm. This figure is mirrored throughout the developed world , in the UK , Europe and the USA . This study identified anxiety as one of the underlying causes .

The inability of this school-going age group to recognise anxiety and a dearth of appropriate skills to manage the accompanying physical symptoms are two of the most common underlying causes of this mental health crisis.

These skills should ideally be taught to all children and adolescents , not only to reduce risks of self-harm, but to prevent them growing into adults with lives blighted by easily manageable conditions such as panic attacks. Adults too, can benefit from developing and practising this skill . As life , on occasion , threatens to engulf us, anyone may experience distressing periods of acute anxiety.

Those trained in the flooding technique will cope better with such periods. They can also assist others struggling with these physical symptoms. Learning to cope with the physical nature of anxiety will also increase our emotional resilience .


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