For some of us, the anxiety God has blessed us with occasional panic attacks. For ever fewer of us, those panic attacks are an everyday occurrence.
Would you believe me if I told you that I used to have panic attacks every day, and now it has been years since my last panic attack?
If you’re someone that has panic attacks daily, that may sound a little far fetched, or it may even sound impossible. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t impossible. If I can do it, so can you.
This isn’t going to be about medication. While helpful, medication doesn’t solve the underlying issue of having a panic attack. We will take a deep dive into medication in another post.
There’s two very important things to learn when it comes to panic attacks. First and foremost, you need to be able to identify when a panic attack is coming. Panic attacks have a way of sneaking up on you, and catching you by surprise. You want to be as prepared as possible. This means identifying your triggers, and identifying symptoms that happen shortly before your panic attack.
The second thing you need to learn is your coping mechanisms. A technique that may work for someone else may not work for you. With that being said, there most certainly is something that works for you. There is no cure all, there’s not something that will instantly take you out of a panic attack. Don’t look for an instant fix. Look for something that can ground you, put you in the moment, make you think rationally, and the panic attack will taper off.
Two of the strongest negative thoughts that have caused my panic attack to worsen, and you may relate with is:
“This isn’t going to go away.”
“Nothing I do will help.”
Make a conscious effort and repeat to yourself that it will go away, even if you don’t believe it, keep repeating it. I personally like to repeat “I’m okay” in my head because it’s fast and easy to say. There are things you can do to help. The only way you aren’t helping yourself is by not trying a technique to ease the panic. It’s easier said than done, that much I can understand. But it can be done.
Ever thought “I can’t”?
You can. You just haven’t. Change that.
Don’t have a technique? Try some of these on for size:
Breathe: By far the most effective strategy I’ve had to stop the build up of a panic attack is to focus on my breathing. Makes sense, right? Anyone trying to meditate or relax focuses on their breathing. This is no different. However, make sure you’re breathing right. Some of us, myself included, tend to hyperventilate during a panic attack. You hyperventilate when you’re taking in too much oxygen. This technique will help ensure you’re not getting too much oxygen.
Breathe in through your nose. As you’re breathing in, imagine you’re breathing in good energy. Hold in your breath for a moment. Now, slowly exhale through your mouth. As you’re exhaling, imagine all of the anxious energy exiting your body. Repeat this and eventually, you’ll find you’re not having a panic attack anymore.
Repeat a mantra: This is best done along with the breathing technique. You may find your mind wander while you’re focusing on your breathing. Your thoughts may be intrusive and going a million miles a minute. Occupy your brain by repeating a short, positive phrase. The phrase you choose is entirely up to you. You may have to switch phrases to find one that works best for you. As I stated earlier, I like to repeat “I’m okay” in my head. Try to stick to something simple that is easily repeatable.
Draw the infinity symbol in the air: You may have noticed a recurrent theme, here. Repetition. This is no different. You’re occupying yourself by giving you something simple to do to refocus your attention. This technique didn’t work well for me, but it may for you!
Shake your leg: This may seem sort of odd, but shaking your leg (or one of your limbs, whatever is comfortable) is actually a self soothing technique. It stimulates your brain, and it is a normal outlet for your body during many situations, including out of boredom, or while stressed. So, let your freak fly and let that leg shake.
Need some more panic attack tips?
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That’s all for now folks. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow.