Five ways to ease your panic attack (before it’s out of control)
Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic. Anais Nin
According to Wikipedia, panic attacks are periods of intense fear or apprehension that are of sudden onset and of variable duration from minutes to hours. It is caused by adrenalin being released into the bloodstream, which causes the heart to pump extra blood. Today is International Panic Day – a day dedicated to putting your feet up, slowing down and enjoying life. In celebration, Happiness Weekly is looking at how you can avoid having a panic attack and remain calm, even in the toughest situations.
1. Avoid working yourself up
Many people come to me and say “This is about to happen” and they’re stressing out… If you’re one of these people, my best advice to you is: STOP! Stop the story going on in your mind. Take a deep breath. You don’t know what you don’t know. Accept any consequence for your actions – take responsibility when you’ve made a mistake – no one’s perfect, and usually this will defuse any panic attack that is about to get out of control. Make sure you give yourself a break – don’t bash yourself up, if someone is going to come down on you anyway, you may as well be kind to yourself – no point in two of you getting upset over the same thing – take control and work to fix the problem!
2. Slow down and think
Stop rushing through tasks and trying to get a perfect result. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result. Think about how you can improve things without stretching yourself. If your panic attack is school or work related, considering early deadlines for your work to give you enough time to review it before submitting it. If it’s a person who is putting you on edge, approaching them about the problem may assist – or if it is a situation where you are being bullied and approaching it hasn’t helped, consider removing yourself from the situation. Sometimes health and happiness are more important than financial gain and career ladders.
3. Work on your stress management
Being self-aware and knowing how to stay calm in intense situations can be crucial if you are trying to fend off a panic attack. Knowing how best to manage your stress can help. Go for walks at lunchtime, it will change your atmosphere and can help alter your perspective on a situation if you’re too close to it to make a proper judgement. Meditation, Yoga and Pilates can all assist in combating stress and helping to relax and concentrate on your breathing, or if you’re feeling energetic and want something faster paced, boxing is a great form of exercise and stress relief.
4. Talk it out
Don’t feel alone, many people suffer anxiety and panic attacks, and it’s becoming more well-known each day. Find a trusted friend, or someone you feel you can confide in confidentially at work and talk to them about your situation. Sometimes gathering ideas and suggestions from others can help bring new perspective and also inspire us to embrace a positive change. As soon as the situation changes, your panic should ease, so try not to sit with it for too long. If you are struggling to move past it, please book an appointment with your doctor and get a referral to a good psychologist. Support groups also exist, which is good if you’re feeling isolated and you’re looking for people you can relate to.
5. Avoid drugs and alcohol
Sometimes when we panic our first reaction is to kill the pain. Drugs and alcohol will only make it worse. Did you know 30% of people who suffer panic attacks also suffer from alcoholism? Instead of reaching for a quick fix, spend some time on considering healthier options that work for you and start focusing on the things you can control!
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