Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but if just one of them can help you avoid a panic attack, it’s worth keeping in your bag of tricks.
If you’ve ever had a panic attack or are struggling with anxiety, these tips will help you manage your symptoms and perhaps lessen your tension.
1. Breathe. Most people actually hold their breath when they get too anxious, which only makes you more nervous because it feels like you are smothering as well. So remember to breathe. It may be the oldest trick in the book, but it works.
2. Slow down. Panic will make you feel like you need to do something drastic. Be sure to look before you leap, and make sure the choices you are making will help.
3. Don’t drive. If you are driving and feel an attack coming on, get off the road immediately. We used to go on relaxing Sunday drives when I was a kid. These days most drives are anything but relaxing, so just stay out of the car until you feel like yourself again. And if there is a real emergency, have someone else drive.
Most Read Life Stories
- Is the Dirty Shirley the drink of the summer?
- This chipotle barbecue pulled pork recipe is perfect for sliders, salads and more
- Seeking spring comfort? Try this buttery, vegetable-topped polenta
- Rant and Rave: Reader thanks state trooper
- TSA warns of travel ‘hiccups’ as it braces for ‘very, very busy summer’
4. Take your meds (with you). If you are taking anti-anxiety medications, don’t forget to keep them handy, so you know they are available if needed. Keeping a bottle with a few pills in your glove compartment can be a subconscious reminder that things are okay, and perhaps make your commute a little easier.
5. Exercise. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to put on your sneakers and go for a walk or a run. Whole body movement will do more to relax you than lifting weights, but whatever it takes to release that nervous energy, do it.
6. Turn off the TV. If watching the news makes you nervous, stop. The world will not come to an end without you knowing it, but if the news is making you nervous, you need to give yourself a break and watch cartoons for a week or so.
7. Take a hot bath or a shower. This can sometimes be an instant fix, but you should let yourself soak in the peace of the moment. Allow the warmth to calm you, and allow yourself to feel safe. The feeling of being clean is also anxiety reducing, so the whole process can diminish any panic.
8. Take a nap. It may seem counterintuitive when you have all that adrenaline running through you, but anxiety is exhausting. Giving yourself a chance to sleep, even for twenty minutes, can revive you and reduce your nervousness.
9. Get some fresh air. If you’re staying inside by your own choice, at least open a window and let the breeze in. Being unable to breathe properly can cause panic, and sitting in a stuffy house can make that happen.
10. Just let yourself be anxious. If you know that you tend to get nervous sometimes, and you do your best to manage it, the next time you feel it in your body, remind yourself that this is what’s happening and that you don’t have to act on it. Tell yourself that you will be okay, and soon enough, you will indeed be feeling better.
Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but if just one of them can help you avoid a panic attack, it’s worth keeping in your bag of tricks. Panic is no fun, and it’s not mandatory.