For some people, anxiety attacks are regular occurrences of their everyday lives. Some learned to live with these attacks, and some treat them as unwanted triggers that habitually encroach on their lifestyles. While a little anxiety can be positive at times, isolated and chronic anxiety episodes can become extremely unbearable if left unaddressed. To help you get through these challenging occasions, here are six short and long-term strategies you can use.
Manage your breathing
One of the basic things you can do during a panic attack is to mind your breathing. Whenever you feel the familiar panicky sensation, try to take deep breaths. Taking slow and deliberate breaths can help your body relax. Breathing deeply can help boost the blood flow to your brain, enabling you to think rationally so that you can better manage the situation at hand.
Inhale slowly for a few seconds through your nose, then exhale using your mouth. Instead of focusing on the things that are making you anxious, divert all your attention to your breathing and nothing else. There are several breathing exercises available online that you can use. Make sure to practice these breathing techniques often so that you will be more equipped for the next panic attack.
Another strategy you can do is to distract yourself temporarily. Choose an activity that can take your mind away from your anxious thoughts. It can be as simple as washing the dishes, cleaning the house, petting your cat, going for a night run, listening to music, riding your bike, watching a romantic movie, or reading a book. Remember that your goal is to break the pattern of your negative thoughts and channel it to something productive or positive. What might work for others may not necessarily be effective in your case, so make sure that you choose an activity that suits your personality.
Drinking a glass of cold water is another simple way of stopping an anxiety attack from its tracks. Water is known to have a calming effect, and drinking a sufficient amount can help your body calm down. If you don’t drink enough water, it can cause palpitations, leading to a panic attack. The next time you feel anxious, remember to reach for a glass or bottle of water.
Get professional help
If your anxiety attacks become chronic, it would be best to seek help from a professional. Talking with a licensed therapist can help you face your anxieties head-on and prevent these fears from taking control over your life. Make sure you choose a good and qualified professional. An experienced and reputable mental health professional will not only help sort out your emotions and thoughts but can also assist you in choosing the right therapy approach that suits your situation. Some of the common therapy methods include:
- Internal family systems (IFS)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Emotional freedom therapy with tapping (EFT)
- Exposure therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Consider supplements or medications
Aside from stress-relief techniques and getting professional assistance, you should also consider taking supplements or medication for anxiety. Make sure to consult with your doctor or a licensed health professional first, so you can get the proper medication to help treat or manage your anxiety. Certain vitamins and minerals can also help lessen your anxiety, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, B Complex, iron, magnesium, zinc, chromium, and calcium. Try to regularly consume foods rich with these essentials to strengthen your mental health and reduce your chances of an anxiety attack.
Calm yourself with ice
Another way to sidestep an anxiety attack is by using ice. Calming yourself with ice can be an extreme method of stopping a panic attack, but it is considered safe and highly effective. There are several techniques you can utilize using ice. You can either use an ice pack and place it on specific body parts, submerge your face in a bowl filled with ice cubes and water, or take an icy shower. Regardless of the method you choose, the important thing is that the coldness of the ice is enough to remove your attention from the source of your anxiety.
Choosing to live with these anxiety attacks may work for some people. However, going with this resigned approach can be detrimental to your mental well-being. While the above tips can help you effectively manage an anxiety attack, it is vital that you proactively address the underlying causes of these panic attacks to prevent them from getting worse.