Distraction- As soon as you feel the anxiety rising and you get afraid – do something different. Really different. Change your environment, talk to someone, do something to distract yourself.
Immerse yourself in something that takes your whole attention and needs detailed thinking. Plan a party, write an article, learn a new hobby – something right brained is particularly effective such as a musical instrument or creative design, photography, dressmaking, art, singing, sport, research for a project.
See how much better you feel when your full attention is elsewhere.
Learn and be confident that you can overcome anxiety by distraction. Later on you will learn to stop anxiety before getting to this stage but for now take comfort in knowing you can control it.
This is often enough to dissipate the panic. Some folk like company during these frightening events, others prefer to be quiet and alone. Either is fine.
Comfort yourself – be totally positive - but do allow yourself to go with it and the symptoms. Don’t fight panic, it makes it worse. Keep giving yourself positive messages that this will pass naturally and cannot harm you - breath and distract.
Keep a journal. Initially get a blank book and just write whatever comes into your mind about who you are, how you got here, how you’re feeling today.
Going forward resolve to write in it every day.
Sometimes there may only be the bare facts of what you ate, where you went and that there were no issues but initially and on some days you may have lots to say.
Certainly in the initial stages track food, drink and sleep patterns, what your fears are, how they manifest themselves, what small task you set yourself to do, how it went and so forth. For ladies it is also worth tracking menstrual cycles.. As we move through stages in our female life it is possible that you may get PMS symptoms that you didn't have a few years ago.
There is really relief in writing plus it gives a massive boost to your confidence when you see progress in the making. When we’re anxious we forget easily and have poor concentration and only a few days later you may not recall just how you were on a certain day or even what you did.
Regular exercise – uses the adrenaline/ noradrenaline and the cortisol that are secreted when panic sets in and enhances endorphines (happy chemical) production. Walking or swimming are good places to start if you’ve not exercised for a long time.
Relaxation classes - good if you’ve got continual whirring thoughts: Tai’ chi, Yoga or meditation – promotes complete relaxation as well as stretching. This has a cumulative effect so try it regularly. The meditation part also helps learn to still the mind and cumulatively is a very effective exercise to learn to use during panic. Brings back down the body ‘normal’ stress level.
Relaxation CD's are extremely useful. Find one you like and stick to it. Play it every day whether you are stressed or not and soon whenever you feel anxious just putting it on will relieve that tension. There is a panic specific relaxation CD that comes as part of the CD set
Massage – This is good for headaches and unexplained pains in upper body or legs. It releases the tension that builds up in your tissues. Often with anxiety we store it in major muscle groups apart from the usual chronic areas such as shoulders and neck. Wit panic often major muscle groups such as leg muscles can go into spasm.
Intestinal disturbances : A fast reaction from the guts is extremely common, you may find you get wild disturbances. The flight or flight reaction can cause the guts to want to empty so you may have diarrhoea as a primary symptom. IBS is often diagnosed if you have chronic intestinal disturbances and you report it to your doctor and get it investigated. When you learn to control anxiety, it usually subsides to a manageable level . Dietary changes are often helpful.
A churny tummy with or without nausea can usually be relieved by tonic or soda water leading to a good big burp or two.
Bach remedies will take the edge off panic and anxiety. These are flower essences, are completely safe and have no side effects.
A couple of squirts in a bottle of water and sip liberally all day or 2 drops on tongue in a crisis.
Rescue remedy is the main one used which is a combination of 5 essences. Additionally I used Aspen for fear, Cherry plum for terror and Rock rose for fear of losing control.
Nutritional supplements – Having panic and anxiety is extremely draining on your body resources.
A strong 50 mg Vitamin B complex supplement is highly recommended as is Omega 3 oil ,Vitamin C and extra calcium and magnesium.
Unless you’re intolerant, warm milk at night contains tryptosan which promotes sleep and relaxation.
Aromatherapy oils - lavender, clary sage, Chamomile, vetiver. Just a sniff or two of lavender oil can be very helpful in getting you through a difficult situation.
Herbs - If you are really shaky you can take passiflora/lemon balm/valerian root/ hops tinctures for instant help or you can take tablets regularly to maintain calm.
St Johns Wort can also help with depression but doesn’t kick in for 3 weeks or so.
Kava Kava is brilliant for anxiety but is currently withdrawn from the market whilst investigations go on into possible liver side effects complicated by anxious people often taking to alcohol for relief.
For constant insomnia melatonin is excellent. It’s not available in the UK but widely available in the US where its main use is for jetlag.
With all of the herbs above if you are on any other medications at all then you must check it out carefully and ask for professional advice. SJW is a definite No if you’re on the pill, immunosuppressants or anti coagulants.
Food and drink: - It is worthwhile when acutely anxious, trying to eat little but often and keep to mainly protein and complex carbohydrates - nuts/seeds are a great choice, it’s recommended to have a protein based breakfast when you get up and then a snack within 2 - 3 hours – please avoid sugary things.
This takes the strain off your adrenals glands and maintains and regulates your blood sugar.
Caffeine – reduce intake slowly if taken to excess. This includes the new drinks advertised for energy and stimulation and colas as well as tea and coffee.
Alcohol: many people do resort to a glass of wine or 2 to help them relax. Before they know it - it's 3-4 then day time drinking - then all day drinking.
Do not go down this route. Alcohol is a popular and easily available 'sticking plaster' treatment for anxiety.
It is also a disaster waiting to happen. It promises much initially, but is always a disappointment later. It is a depressant drug.
Many ‘spontaneous’ Panic attacks come shortly after alcohol and recreational drug intake.
Talking does help but unless it’s an informal chat with friends, try to make the talks productive.
Think of the messages you’re giving yourself every day.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the gold standard treatment of choice now which addresses how your thoughts affect you every minute of every day.
With about 90% of panic attacks you can revise your self communication and stop these happening, you can also address your excessive worrying traits. It is not easy and takes time and patience but it is extremely successful and this is included within the chapters of the CD set.
Part of this is restructuring the neural pathways in our minds. Once we have done something once or twice our minds learn the sequence so can help us perform better ie know the way to a specific location.
Once we’ve done it a couple of times it’s an anchored route, it’s the same with our fears. Once something has succeeded in frightening us, our minds automatically learns the process and therefore almost automatically leads us to a continued fear of certain things. Next time it senses something similar it gives us a warning and asks wit symptoms whether this is to be avoided too.
Thus the continuing list of growing fears where we had none previously. These neural pathways need to be broken and new ones built. This takes about 30 - 45 days to anchor and is a case of safe repetition.
Drive over the bridge you dread and you’ll feel extremely frightened and experience all the awful symptoms and maybe panic. You survive - just!!
Next time you do it again - you’ve positive messages to tell yourself and to reassure yourself with as you’ve already survived once. You still feel awful and frightened but again you survive. Next time may already be getting a bit easier and once you’ve been doing it daily for a month the fear will almost have dissipated – providing you are reinforcing the positive messages each time. Doing it with gritted teeth still actively visualizing all the possible extreme troubles and misfortune that could befall you will not help ridyourself of the fear.
Do watch out for your thought patterns , they can be very powerful in keeping you anxious and in panic mode. Our thought process and what we actually do to ourselves ….
Take a minute : Is this following statement true ? …..
When your mind is sexually aroused, the body responds in an unmistakable fashion.
This is also true for every other aspect of your thought process...
If you think thoughts that frighten you then you will feel fear
If you think despairing negative thoughts the body will respond by feeling worthless and depressed.
Your perception of events is of critical importance, not necessarily the events themselves. And by manipulating these perceptions, it becomes possible to diminish discomfort & pain.
Do not allow yourself to start avoiding anything or anywhere. Agoraphobia soon sets in. You are your own safe person and place.
Where you are at the time may be a trigger but once you learn to not have panic any more it just doesn’t matter.
Look after yourself emotionally, physically, spirituality and nutritionally and you will be making a head start in your recovery.
All these points are covered in great detail within the Ultimate Anxiety Solution.
You can overcome this anxiety and rid yourself of panic attacks.
Proactiveness + Positivity + Persistence + Perseverance + Practice = Progress
I wish you every success on your recovery path.