Believe me, I have had them, and panic attacks downright suck. When you are in the middle of feeling panicky, you feel like nothing can help. Sometimes you feel as if you don’t have control of your own mind. But guess what, you do. You still have control over yourself even though it is harder to feel in control. You can do it. Just remember that, you can regain control.
I have tried many strategies over the years and I mean many. It is trial and error. Some will work for you but not for others. Just like some will work for others, and not for you. The human brain is complex and everyone is wired completely different. So read through my tips and try some. Don’t get discouraged if one doesn’t work. Honestly not all of these tips work for me. I have tried them all and even if one doesn’t work for me, it might work for you which is why I am going to share everything.
So let’s dive in!
This one works very well for me. I find it important to just breathe and focus on my breathing and once I focus my mind on constant breathing, the rest seems to fall into place. My heart begins to calm down. I can think a little more clear. I can feel a little sense of relaxation. I know I will be ok, even if it takes 10 minutes of deep breathing, I will be okay. Sometimes I count my breaths just to occupy my mind further. There are actually some apps you can download on your phone (I know they have an app for literally everything) that can help you steady your breathing and relax. You are also so focused on what is going on on your phone screen that you totally forget you were panicking a few minutes prior. Definitely check some out! My favorite is called Relax.
HAVE SOMEONE HELP YOU FOCUS ON SOMETHING ELSE
This is a strategy my mom and I use. Sometimes, when I am having a panic attack, I will call her and she will talk about her day, her stresses, her accomplishments, anything. This helps take my mind away from the panicking and onto my mom’s day. Sometimes I call my best friend and do the same thing. This technique always works for me and it might even work for you!
HUG AN ANIMAL
Yes, I did just suggest that you hug and animal. Animals, especially dogs, can be very therapeutic. I actually have my dog registered as an Emotional Support Animal so I can have her with me in situations I might need her. Enjoy the adorable picture of my puppy and I below. Dogs have been proven to relieve stress and lower blood pressure. Sometimes, their love is all you need. If you have trouble sleeping at night, let your dog hop in your bed. I know some people don’t like to do this, but honestly my dog sleeps with me every night and I sleep like an absolute baby. It is just something about having her there since she is already such a stress reliever to begin with. Colleges even bring puppies on campus during finals week to help the students calm down and relax for a few minutes by petting them. Their affection and love they portray to you is sometimes all you need.
GET UP AND DO SOMETHING ELSE
This is one that does not specifically work for me, but I know a lot of other people it has worked for. I personally need to calm myself down first, but some people need to occupy their mind by doing something they enjoy. This could be cleaning, cooking, knitting, literally anything. I knit when I get stressed, but when some people are in the middle of a panic attack, they find the hands on interaction with the mind can be really helpful.
TAKE A BATH
I do this one a little too often, but when I am having a panic attack, this really helps. I fill the tub up with some hot water, add some relaxing epsom salts, and I am good to go! To add even more relaxation to the mix, you can add a candle, turn off the lights, and put on some peaceful music. What would normally be viewed as a romantic scene just became your key to a relaxed mind.
These are just some ideas. There are so many different strategies people use to help them when they are having a panic attack. But, that is just it, everyone is different. Everyone is going to handle situations different. And that is ok. It can take trial and error, but you will find what works for you, don’t give up!
And never forget, positive vibes only!