Anxiety attacks can be exhausting, draining you of confidence and well-being. Nonetheless, they can be overcome. It’s possible to learn how to stop them in their tracks, and with time prevent them.
Step One: Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a powerful and natural way to calm the body and mind. When you achieve a peaceful state physically and mentally, you’ll handle attacks quickly and effectively.
Notice that you breathe high in your chest when you are anxious. Shallow breathing can cause symptoms such as panic, a rapid heartbeat, chest pains and sweaty palms. Taking long, slow breaths way down into your belly region will automatically help you relax, creating harmony in your system and reducing symptoms of anxiety.
You can use deep breathing as a tool to aid calm when an attack strikes. You’ll also benefit from practicing daily, making a mental note of how your body and mind respond as calmness floods your system. Remembering what calmness feels like will help you recreate tranquil feelings again.
Step Two: The Relaxation Response
Once you’ve mastered deep breathing, learning how to relax your muscles will reduce anxiety attacks further. Begin by lying somewhere comfortable and quiet, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply until you feel calm, and then focus on tensing all areas of your body, one-by-one, working your way slowly upwards. As you tense areas, hold the sensation of tightness, before letting go. You will progressively relax more as you go through the exercise.
Understanding how to produce relaxation in your body using this technique will make dealing with anxiety attacks easier. Additionally, knowing you can get through attacks will reduce stress. You won’t worry about the possibility of having them because you’ll know you can manage them if they occur.
Step Three: Self-Awareness
The next step, which could prevent anxiety attacks altogether, involves becoming more self-aware. Your thoughts cause you to feel anxious or serene. You need to notice them as they occur to gain control over them. When an anxiety-provoking thought arises, question whether it’s reasonable and accurate. Since most negative thoughts are unrealistic, you’ll find that applying simple logic reduces them.
For instance, thinking you can’t cope with an anxiety attack can be countered by the new thought that you have managed previously and can again. Test stressful thoughts, asking yourself whether they are based on facts. The voice in your head can be calmed when you recognize that it has exaggerated potential danger.
If you use the methods described regularly, but still need help, don’t feel like a failure. You may benefit from professional support. There’s no shame in asking your GP for advice. At the same time, carry on practicing as changing your thoughts and learning how to relax takes time.