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Panic Attack Coping Tips

Having an anxiety disorder can often lead us to feel as though we have very little power over panic attacks and our anxiety. Finding ways to help  yourself can be one way of bringing back a little more control and  minimizing the affect panic has on us.  Not all of the techniques  below will be personally suited to everyone. The key is to find  the techniques that work for you, and that help you cope with your anxiety disorder.

What to do if you are having a panic attack.
 
There are a number of things you can do to help ease a panic attack and to stop some of the symptoms. Try some of the following -

   
* Cup your hands over your mouth and nose and breathe slowly. This works in the same way as breathing into a paper bag but its a lot more discreet.


* Take a long slow breath in, hold to the count of 7,  slowly let it out. Follow with a few normal breaths. Then  repeat as necessary. This also helps with hyperventilation. It also feels some what comforting if your breath feels short and high in the chest.


* Re-assure yourself. Try not to add fearful thoughts on top of the anxiety such as 'I'm going crazy', 'what if I cant leave here' or  'what if someone sees me like this'. Instead try and think about the  reality of the situation. For example, try telling your self 'I have been through this many times and nothing bad has happened' or 'it's o.k. this is just my bodies normal reaction to anxiety,  nothing more.


* Lower your gaze. Often when we are panicking the stimulus from all around us seems overwhelming. Light seems brighter, noise  louder etc. One good techniques is to lower your gaze towards the floor or ground until your panic has passed sufficiently.


* Talk to someone. Often being reassured by someone or just  making a little contact can not only distract us from the panic but also can make us feel safer and less alone. Hugging someone is even better. Touch is very comforting and reassuring.


*Listen to music. If you are at home or have headphones or a car stereo. Put on some relaxing ,or other, music that makes you feel good.  Lie down and do some breathing exercises. Let yourself relax.


* Move your focus but in a positive way. try and read, watch something  on t.v or perhaps write in a journal. Don't just stay still and focus  on the symptoms.


*
Realize that you have probably gone through this  many times, even hundreds of times. It has never hurt you, nor have the horrible things that come to your mind while you are panicking ever happened. Trust that the symptoms caused by panic attacks are just your fight or  flight response.  It wont harm you. It is just your bodies way of reacting to anxiety. There is nothing wrong with you physically, or mentally.  It will pass.


* Don't add more stress, or feelings similar to panic, by having  caffeine, nicotine, or other recreational drugs. While these  things are definitely not recommended to anyone who has a anxiety  disorder (nor to most other people)  Especially don't use them while  you are having a panic attack you will only make yourself feel  more anxious.


* If you feel while you are having a panic attack that you have  shortness of breath or heart palpitations. Try sitting in front of  a fan or an open window for a while. The breeze will ease this and ease your worries about your breathing.

 

 

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