Coping With Panic Attacks and Anxiety - 18 Essential Tips
Coping with panic attacks and anxiety is made easier if you can approach the problem from several different angles – and that’s what this site is all about – trying to make it as easy as possible for you and covering all the areas that will assist you in your recovery.
Your top priority – check out the five step process.
- The five steps were designed specifically for coping with panic attacks but are of course just as invaluable for coping with anxiety in general.
- The five simple steps (in brief – know it’s safe, rag doll, breathe out, accept and let go) are going to be important to you even when your anxiety levels are back to ‘normal’; it’s an essential tool in handling everyday life with all its frustrations and stresses.
- No matter the name of the program or technique, or how much it costs, if it works it has to include these steps (free here for you).
- Also make sure you are taking steps to calm your physical body with the 23 Lifestyle Tips, Foods for Anxiety and the various herbal and other remedies that can help you feel more settled.
The following 18 tips will help to make coping with panic attacks easier for you as you deal with some of the underlying thought patterns, body tensions and worries that can contribute to laying the groundwork for panic.
Coping with panic attacks - the top 18 tips:
1. Cultivate the ability to monitor thoughts
It is very important to become more aware of your thoughts, how they are triggering your attacks and keeping your anxious state in place. There will always be a thought of some kind involved. It may be extremely subtle, not even put into words perhaps, but it will be there.
2. Use the rag doll technique
Whenever you feel the first signs of worry, or an anxiety or panic attack follow this 4 step routine:
- take a deep breath in right down into your stomach and up under your shoulders,
- hold it for a few moments then,
- as you breathe out slowly and fully,
- relax and flop your whole body like a rag doll:
✯ drop the shoulders,
✯ let go of the stomach muscles
✯ let the head droop
✯ consciously relax the arms letting them flop
✯ deliberately let the jaw slacken
✯ feel the letting go in every part of your body
- This gives a very strong message to the brain that an anxiety reaction isn’t appropriate at that time. It not only breaks the onset of the vicious cycle of tension-anxiety-more tension-more anxiety, but helps train you to reverse the habitual response of tensing up and becoming anxious at the drop of a hat. It is an enormously helpful part of the five step process for coping with panic attacks.
- Pay particular attention to relaxing the stomach muscles, allowing the shoulders to drop and releasing the jaw.
- If you aren’t sure whether you are holding tension in these areas or not, first contract the muscles of the stomach for a count of five and then release; raise the shoulders right up to the ears and squeeze hard, count to five and then let them drop; similarly clench your teeth together, hold and then release.
- Become aware of how you hold on to tension and “rag doll” it away.
- Float through situations that trigger fear. Claire Weekes in her Self-Help for Your Nerves book talks about imagining ‘floating’ through the situations that cause you anxiety. This is another way of ‘rag dolling’ – rather than tensing up in response to the fearful situation instead allowing the body to relax through it.
- Use a Yoga Nidra CD regularly to let go of body tension and learn what relaxation feels like.
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