One way to stave off future panic attacks is by learning how to regulate anxiety. That way, if you do begin to discover signs of a panic attack, you will have tools to soothe your body and mind till the signs and symptoms decrease.
“Managing feelings of panic is a mind-body-soul job; requiring us to call on internal and external resources for help. Progress is so possible for people who have been diagnosed with panic disorder!” says Linda K. Smith, LCSW, psychotherapist in California. “Being aware of the reality that thoughts trigger physical responses is crucial, yet thoughts alone are not enough. We need to harness the energies of our bodies and souls as well.”
To gain control over the symptoms of panic disorder, it’s vital to discover and use anxiety management techniques. For curbing a panic attack, some things that may be helpful are:
1) AWARENESS OF BREATH:
Anxiety causes breathing to become rapid and shallow, which causes symptoms of panic to get worse. Rapid, shallow breathing causes an increase in both physical and emotional distress. As you become aware of the onset of panicky feelings, begin to be aware of your breathing. As you focus on the quality and speed of your breaths, slow them and deepen them. Breathe in slowly through your nose until you feel your abdomen swell with the influx of life-giving breath. Then, gently and slowly, breathe out through your mouth, as if through a drinking straw. This gentle, rhythmic process should help your physical body and your mind relax into a sense of increased calm.
2) CALMING THOUGHTS:
If you notice your thoughts zooming out of control, focus on the your breath first. Once that is regulated a bit, tell your mind to calm down. Tell the out of control thoughts to stop. Speak peace to your mind. Slowing and deepening your breathing should help you regain a sense of being in control of your body and mind. The body becomes afraid with lack of oxygen, and feels that it is in danger. Hence, the physical reaction of increased tension-anxiety. The mind reacts by “racing out into the future” (which is not a current reality) trying to find a remedy for the perceived danger (which is not a current reality) . Read these steps or listen to one of the videos we have here to help you re-focus.
3) RELAXING YOUR BODY:
Sometimes, we focus on our minds alone when trying to manage anxiety. We forget that our bodies pay the price as well, and can also be our best allies in discharging anxiety from our systems! Finding a way to be good to your body, by working and relaxing the muscles, gently, is crucial to managing anxiety. Take a walk in a calm environment that makes you feel good. Try yoga, stretching, or some other physical activity that is available and that you can do without hurting yourself. Regular physical movement is critical to emotional health. Movement is medicine! Prolonged sitting and inactivity feeds anxiety.
3) REMEMBERING VICTORIES:
When have you been able to take handle panic scenarios efficiently and also decrease anxiety? Recall those times when you have taken good care of yourself, removed yourself from situations that were not good for you, set healthy limits, and made choices for the good of you. Think back on those times and what you did. Now tell yourself you have the ability to do that again.
If you need to leave an event, do so. If you came with someone, inform that person that it is time for you to leave. Stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Becoming more upset with the situation will certainly not help if what you require is to take a stroll and release some steam.
Learning and practicing these strategies before you are in the midst of panicky feelings is a must. Be good to yourself now. Taking a walk, petting your dog, eating food that is good for you, focusing on your life-giving breath, moment by moment, will help you develop a healthy rhythm and lifestyle. Practice, practice, practice. So that when anxiety starts to climb, you are ready to knock it down a notch.