With so many expectations to fulfil and so many challenges to cope with, it seems that anxiety is ever-present. Many people today suffer from its clutches, and it’s not easy to break free. You’ve begun your journey as soon as you recognized that this was a problem. Panic attacks are a serious side-effect of anxiety which hinder your health and your quality of life. They’re not doing anyone any good, so it’s important to learn how to handle them and yourself. There is a tough road ahead of you, but with strong will power and determination, you can get through this.
1. Don’t fight it
The number one thing people do when they feel an attack coming is trying to stop it. The simple truth is that you can’t. The more you fight it, the longer it will last. This is something that needs to pass through you, so let it. Accept that you are afraid at that moment, and acknowledge everything that might have offset the attack. It might be hard to go against your nature and not fight it, but it’s the only way.
Remember that an attack isn’t dangerous and that it won’t kill you or make you crazy. It’s just your mind and body letting go of the excess of anxiety that’s accumulated. Banging your head against the wall won’t do anything but cause more harm. That’s why working with the symptoms instead of against them is the key to getting better.
2. Focus on your breathing
Instead of picturing everything that can or has gone wrong, focus on the way you’re breathing. Your breaths can be the most powerful weapon you can use to calm down. Short and urgent breathes are a very common thing with anxiety attacks, but they just make the symptoms worse. Instead, try breathing slowly and deeply. This will signal to your body to revert to its natural state of calm.
It may be hard in the beginning, but with practice, you’ll be able to control your breathing almost instantly. When you feel an attack coming, stop for a second, close your eyes, and just breathe. You should start to calm down. Now it will be easier to look at the issue rationally, without feeling overwhelmed with anxiety.
3. Don’t be afraid to leave
You can always just walk away if something or someone is making you upset. You don’t owe it to anyone to stand there and take it. If you know that certain places, people, or conversation trigger your attacks- avoid them. This will help you remain stable and come up with a game plan. Of course, you can’t avoid these triggers forever, but walking away gives you the opportunity to come up with a rational and level-headed solution.
If the people you associate with regularly make you upset, don’t be afraid to tell them in a calm manner. Sometimes people don’t realize their approach is harmful and saying something will help them see that.
4. Have a trusted contact
If you’re afraid you can’t handle your attacks on your own, don’t be afraid to ask a friend for help. Find a person you trust most and tell them what’s bothering you. People love you and care about you, so of course, they’ll want to help you to stop suffering. Explain in detail what happens when you have an attack and how the person should act. Don’t forget to tell them your most common triggers. This will help both of you feel prepared for the next time an attack occurs, thus being able to handle the issue.
Even if the other person is just there and present when you’re at your most vulnerable, it might help you see that you are really not on your own. Let them hold your hand or rub your back, and let yourself be vulnerable in front of them. Trust, love, and compassion might just be the things you need to reach your place of calm again.
5. Become an expert
You must know your enemy to defeat it. There are various online courses and workshops you can attend for anxiety management which will help you understand what you’re up against. Education is the key to dealing with behavioural issues and eliminating them completely. Take advantage of the age of technology, and read into anxiety and panic attacks extensively.
Knowing how your body functions and what exactly is happening to it when you’re having a panic attack may help you stay grounded. You can focus on the processes in your body and calming your heart rate instead of whatever caused the attack. This way, you should be able to calm down more easily and solve your problems rationally.
6. Seek professional help
Sometimes it’s okay to admit defeat. If you’ve tried everything you can and the attacks keep happening without a decrease in intensity, it might mean you can’t do this yourself. Going to a professional will help you greatly as they’ll give you the right tools to fight off the attacks. A therapist isn’t just someone who sits and listens, it’s also someone that can teach you how to handle yourself.
They understand this issue better than anyone and have probably treated a lot of people with the same problem. Their experience in the field makes them suitable to find a solution according to the type of person that asks for help. What works for someone else might not work on you, and your therapist will be able to recognize this and give you an adequate approach.
No matter how hard things get, you need to remember three things: you are strong, you can do this, and you aren’t alone. It may seem like anxiety and panic attacks will run your life forever, but you can defeat them. Now that you’re equipped with the proper knowledge and know what steps to take, you can get on your journey to recovery. We’re confident that, soon, you’ll be a happy and confident person with nothing to bring them down.