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What to do When You Have an Anxiety Attack

anxietyIf you have anxiety then you know what it’s like to have panic attacks that come out of nowhere. However, this is not to be confused with natural feelings. It is normal to feel uneasy when faced with an intricate situation like a job interview, an important exam, or a public speaking event. If your fear and worry about situations and events begin to interfere with your normal routine however, then you are probably suffering from anxiety.  While there are many types of anxiety disorders, there are just as many effective ways to deal with the situation.  Once you understand your anxiety disorder and the stressors that bring on anxiety attacks, there are positive steps you can take to diminish your symptoms and calm yourself down in the midst of the attack. Let’s look at a few of them.

 

Find a distraction or diversion

When you are feeling the onset of an anxiety attack, sometimes it is beneficial to find something to concentrate on.  Pick up a magazine and take a quiz; read an article, or just flip through the pages.  Do a crossword puzzle or play an electronic game.  Read a book, or the signs that are around you.  Listen to music or watch a video that relaxes you.  These are just a few examples of distractions that will often make the early symptoms of an anxiety attack subside.

 

Breathe profusely

We all breathe without even thinking about it. The type of breathing that will aid in anxiety however, must be practiced. Take deep long and steady breaths.  Inhale and hold it while you mindfully count to 5, then exhale while you also count to 5.  Repeat this as many times as necessary to control the symptoms.  If you are able to add stretching to the deep breathing ritual, you will relax much quicker.  While you are inhaling and exhaling, tell yourself that you are breathing out the negative thoughts and fears you hold inside.  This counting and positive thinking can act as a diversion (as discussed above).  

 

Leave the uncomfortable situation

If you are in a public place like a waiting room, it can be hard to physically leave the situation.  What you can do here is close your eyes and think of a peaceful place.  Surround your mind with the smells, sounds, and sights of the places and people you usually feel comfortable going to. If you are physically able to leave the situation that makes you uneasy, get up and go outside; breathe in some fresh air and take a walk. Feel free to stay out long enough so you have time to practice the breathing techniques discussed above.

 

Get physically active in the moment

If you are able to walk away from the stressor, perhaps you should take a run, do some physical activities to get your blood flow fast, and your mind clear.  If you are in a confined area, be physical in your mind.  Think about the jog you will take later, or the fitness class you will participate in.  Sometimes even the thought of physical activity will get your mind focused and put your body back in control.  

 

Write it down

Stress journaling is a very popular way to deal with anxiety and the symptoms that come with it.  Carry a notebook or notepad if you don’t have a memo app on your phone or tablet.  If you feel a stressful event coming, write about it before it happens.  If you find yourself in a surprising situation where anxiety was not expected but seems to be inevitable, write it down and extinguish the flame before the fire starts.  Keep the journal with you at all times so you can always have an out when stress appears.  Sometimes, you may not even have to write about the actual anxiety or the stressor. You could find solace writing about other people in the room, or the ugly wallpaper. Any active writing will take your brain away from the anxious feelings and perhaps prevent an attack.

 

Once you recognize what anxiety is, and you identify stressors that make you fearful, you will be much better prepared to utilize these techniques to help diminish symptoms. But you have to start by determining just how serious a problem your anxiety is. Feel free to take our Test My Addiction Assessment. From there you will be guided on the way forward dealing with your problem.

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