Anxiety & panic attacks are more and more common. I often find clients coming to me to help them work through their anxiety. Though my work with them is about understanding their triggers and why their anxiety is happening, we also focus on how to cope when dealing with an attack.
Here are some ways to help you during an anxiety or panic attack.
Familiarize. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a panic or anxiety attack. This will help you know that what you are feeling is an attack. Remind yourself you've been here before. This will end. It always ends. You can make it to the end of this one too.
Accept that you are having an attack. By allowing yourself to just be in it (though I know it can sometimes feel unbearable) can help you eliminate the power the attacks have over your mental state in the moment.
Breathe. Finding your breath is a great way to begin calming your attack and becoming focused on something else other than the intense anxiety.
Talk. Call someone. Tell them what you're feeling and have them help you talk it down.
Try to relax. I know that's not easy. But focus on a part of your body that can help you relax. Rub your arm, toes. etc. Focus on something and breathe as you relax.
Talk to Yourself. Out loud, tell yourself you'll be ok. This is a panic attack. You've had these before. You'll be ok.
Take notes. After your attack, write down what you were doing, feelings and your thoughts during the attack. That may help you start to better understand your patterns and triggers with anxiety.
Talk to a professional. People often don't realize the benefits of talk therapy and it can can help you understand where your anxiety is coming from and also how to work through it and cope.
Author: Clarinda Brandao, Psychotherapist & Relationship Consultant