Helping yourself with panic-attacks….
Following on from our last two blog entries on panic-attacks (click for part one and part two), our Psychologist, Dr. Austin Bayley, has outlined some more tips for overcoming panic. We discuss some ways to help you move forward and how to deal with episodes of panic.
Practice relaxation and mindfulness techniques daily
Become expert at calming your body through daily practice. Use techniques available in books, cds, and online. Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing), progressive muscle relaxation, body scan, guided imagery exercises etc are very helpful to keep grounded and calm.
Being able to breathe properly is an essential skill in managing panic-symptoms. Reflect on the following: “Breath is the horse, mind is the rider” (an ancient Tibetan Buddhist saying). Your breath is the connection with the present – begin to check in with your breath, noticing its rise, fall, pacing etc. Breathing has happened effortlessly all these years, allow your breath to do its own thing, and keep your mind in check. During a panic-attack, the mind races ahead to what might happen next, but breathing takes place in the present moment. Remember to trust in your breathing and do not allow negative thoughts take over.
Observe your bodily reactions without getting hooked onto problem thoughts
Notice the changes in your body now in a removed and curious way. Try to keep doing what you had been doing before you notice the sensations. Keep relaxed. Remember the body will calm down, once the thoughts have not been fuelled by believing them or paying attention to them. Accept the feelings as normal, without interpreting them as dangerous. Let them run through you and allow them to reduce naturally. Try not to fight the panicky feelings in the body, flow with it. Monitor the feelings and notice the anxiety level drop down.
Stay in the present moment
Thinking about what might happen is unhelpful and often completely inaccurate. Only now matters. Focus on the present moment, rather than paying attention to worrying thoughts about future disasters.
Try not to avoid situations that have led to panic-attacks previously
Stay in the feared situation if you can. If you run away or continue to avoid the situation, it will be more challenging in the future to face it.
Move forward from panic in your life
Move your attention to other aspects of your life. Remind yourself of your strengths and attributes. You are more than your panic symptoms. Broaden out your life again.
What if these Steps Don’t Work for Me?
Hopefully this series of blogs has been of some help to you or someone you know. Of course they might not work for everyone and so should you wish to speak to one of our psychologists do not hesitate to book an appointment with us, where any problems which are being encountered can be dealt with.