Panic attacks are best managed by having a concrete set of steps to follow that you’ve figured out beforehand. When you can identify the triggers and notice the warning signs, you can ground yourself more effectively and won’t be thrown off course as much. In a calm moment, think about what internal changes signal that you are feeling panicked and write these down. Increased heart-rate, shortness of breath, perspiration, knot in the stomach are common signs that anxiety is rising.
Next, create a list of the following tools and put it on your phone, computer or post-its so you can easily refer to it.
- Breathing exercises: Alternate nostril yoga breathing calms you down quickly. Put your index finger on your right nostril: breathe in and out of your left nostril. Now switch and breathe in and out of your right nostril. Do this on both sides until you start to settle down. It might be as many as 10-20 times.
- Make a playlist of songs that you love, soothe you or just make you smile. Give the playlist a fun title like “Cooling down tunes.”
- Change your environment: If you are inside, go to a different room or step outside. Notice what’s happening around you as you are inhaling in for 4 counts and exhaling for 4 counts.
- Go to the bathroom and wash your face and hands. Tell yourself something encouraging such as: “You’ve got this.” “This has happened before and you’ve survived.” “It’s just your fears trying to run the show. Slow down so you can calm down.”
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