It happened, again. You’re sitting there minding your own business, when suddenly, you get short of breath. This starts a chain reaction going from a headache to the feeling of oncoming death. You try your breathing exercises, but it just doesn’t calm you. It only makes you light-headed and even more terrified. Breathing in a paper bag is useless, as the only thing it does is leave the smell of a grocery store in your nostrils.
Anxiety attacks (or panic attacks) are probably the worst part of any form of anxiety. You have to pretty much put your life on hold for up to an hour just so you can deal with your fears. It’s especially hard when you have no choice but to continue with your responsibilities. You may be at work or you have children. You can’t drop everything to calm down.
Not all is lost, though! There are a few things that may help you get through a panic attack. There are actually several things you can do to calm yourself. I will list a few of my favorite techniques.
- Exercise your brain. This is a perfect way to get your mind off of your worries. Put your mind to work with some crossword puzzles or math problems. If you’re holding a baby like I am frequently doing, make up your own riddles! There are a lot of riddles and tongue twisters out there, see if you can add one to the list!
- Exercise your body. One of the most common techniques to calm an attack is, of course, exercise! If you do have time for yourself, do some yoga or go for a brisk walk. A change of scenery and some fresh air just might be enough to straighten your thoughts.
- Bake some sweets. Who doesn’t love baked goods? Do you have the ingredients? Bake the best batch of cookies you have ever seen! Bake a cake and write the words, “You can do it!” in brightly colored frosting. When you’re done, dust off your hands and get ready to pig out.
- Youtube videos. We all like to laugh, right? Well, Youtube is the best place to find hilarious videos of any kind! Do you watch spoofs? Funny home videos? Music parodies? You can find any of those on Youtube! Laughter is the best medicine, after all!
- Phone a friend. Sometimes, just talking to someone helps. Call a friend or family member and tell them how you’re feeling. Ask them how they get their mind off of things. Share a joke or two! If you don’t want to call anyone, there is a great website for those who just need someone to listen. I love this site, because I have had late nights when everyone I knew was asleep and I had no one to talk to. There are people just like you and me who sit and listen to you when you’re having problems. I have talked to some of the most caring and kind people on 7cups. There is also the option to speak with a licensed therapist if you don’t mind spending a little money, but everything else is free!
- Play a game. Any game! Dust off that old Monopoly box or play a video game. Even card games can get your mind on something besides the panic attack. Do your kids like games? There is no better bonding time than family time!
- AWARE. My personal favorite has to be the AWARE technique. This five step response has made it easier for me to overcome my anxiety attacks. Because of this self-help trick, I can now manage my attacks to the point where they don’t bother me. It helps you understand that anxiety attacks are not dangerous and that you will be okay. You will get through it.
The internet is full of things you can do to calm your nerves. As I always say, every person is different. You may try and fail a few times, but once you master your own method of calming, you will be glad you did! If none of these help, just keep looking. Don’t give up! Show yourself that you can take your life back. You are the boss of your mind, not those pesky worries!
Anxiety can take over your body and your mind, if you let it, but you don’t have to take that! You are a strong! Show that mental illness who’s boss!