Practicing New Ways To Prevent Panic Attacks
If you have panic attacks, you are probably experiencing a lot of tension in your life. You may feel wound up or pressured, and probably for very important reasons. This high level of anxiety can cause you to overreact to stressful situations.
For this reason, we are including descriptions of simple techniques you can use to help reduce this general level of tension. Try them all to see which works best. When you find one that works particularly well for you, write it down so you can read it later when you may be too anxious to remember it.
Many of the symptoms you're experiencing are really aspects of the way you are breathing, called hyperventilation. Feeling slightly nervous, you begin to breathe shallowly, faster than usual, in short, choppy breaths or forced breaths, all of which tends to increase the severity of the symptoms.
For many people, it's extremely helpful to practice even, slow, gentle breathing before and during a stressful situation. One way to be sure you are breathing this way is to take a slow, gentle breath through your nose, hold it for a second, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth, pursing your lips as if you're sipping through a straw. Try inhaling to the count of eight, pausing, and exhaling to a count of eight.
You can also try putting your hand on your stomach. lf you are breathing properly, slowly, and from your diaphragm, you should be able to see your hand rise and
fall as you inhale and exhale. lf you continue breathing in this slow, deliberate way, often you will notice that your symptoms will be less severe, and your level of anxiety will lower dramatically.
You might also try to think of a cue word that is calming to you, such as the word calm itself, or the word relax, or peace. Often it helps to say the calming cue word to yourself each time you slowly exhale, This will help you concentrate on the physical sensations of relaxation, allowing yourself to become calmer and more in control.
Practice these breathing techniques two or three times each day during calm intervals for a few weeks. After practicing during uneventful times, begin to use these breathing
techniques as coping strategies during panic.
Another technique, which combines slow breathing techniques with imagery, is to imagine that you are lying on a beach, feeling the warm sun shining from above and
the warm sand beneath you. Center your breathing in your diaphragm, repeating "warm" on the in breath and "release" on the out breath while you switch off your muscles, letting the tension go.
Sun and sand work well in this exercise, but any images you find relaxing will work. For
example. if you don't live near the coast, maybe for you, the relaxing image is lying on a picnic blanket on the lawn in the warm sun. Use whatever image is meaningful to
release your tension.
Other techniques can also be effective in helping you learn to relax when you experience a great deal of tension in your body. Even though you have nothing to fear,
it's very likely that you are holding your muscles tightly, as if you had to prepare for a disaster.
It's possible that you've never really learned to relax. lf that is the case, learning to relax
can help with panic attacks, because your body will be less stressed and you can practice physically letting go of tension when you begin to feel low levels of anxiety.
If you are experiencing anxiety rather than relaxation while doing these exercises, then you gain an opportunity to feel these physical sensations and interpret them as harmless. You will learn to think about what is really happening at the moment, instead of
worrying about what horrible tragedy could possibly occur.
This is just a sample of common panic attack prevention techniques. The most effective ways are found by clicking the button below:
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