4 Steps to Calming Anxiety and Stopping Panic Attacks
* Before reading this article, STOP now and take 3 deep breaths. When you feel calmer, continue with the article. I hope you enjoy it.*
Anxiety and panic attacks are very normal, in fact, it is something that many, many people deal with daily.
I am proud of you for visiting this site because it means that you are ready for help.
It is important to realize that anxiety is normal and that there are many individuals who have indeed conquered it. Also, there are many who have not.
With hard work and patience, you can too.
Below are the most important steps to take in calming and reducing your anxiety.
*Please seek professional medical attention if your sensations are too great to manage. This post serves as a guide and does not substitute for the highly trained health care workers who are available to assist you..
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a term for the multiple sensations that lead to nervousness, fear, and worry. These sensations are known to affect how we behave, our relationships, and can cause physical symptoms.
If you are new to the sensation, please know that millions of people around the world are affected by it. Also, there are communities of individuals who share their desire to end anxiety.
First off, nothing is seriously wrong with you. Since so many people face this issue, consider yourself normal. You are definitely not alone.
What if I don’t want to be like them? You don’t if you practice work hard.
You won’t have to feel this way forever because many people have dealt with and conquered their emotions.
This means you can, too. If you don’t delay and start today, these hurtful feelings will grow and become harder later to face and win against.
Stress and improper treatments are mostly to blame for your anxiety.
These sensations, sorry to say, are caused by you.
Why is that a good thing? Because you are in control of yourself and only yourself.
What else in this world do you have control over?
The weather? Other people? Your job? The outcome of the Super Bowl?
None of the above.
The fact is: Only you control yourself.
This means that you already have the ability to help and heal yourself. Just like you have the ability to harm yourself.
Don’t wait until anxiety and panic attacks to calm yourself. All of the steps below can be used in times of peace.
There are 4 steps to conquering anxiety and panic attacks. Practice them when before anxiety and calms, so you won’t be caught off guard and struggling to remember the steps.
Step 1: Be Aware
Let’s start by naming our feelings and being aware of their existence.
Do not hide from them. It only makes the hurtful ones worse. (It also makes the great ones even better.)
For example: When you start feeling stressed in traffic, say to yourself, “Hello, stress.”
Getting annoyed? Say, “Ah…My annoying friend.”
If you don’t want to spend all day trying to figure out the name of your sensation, just name it “anxiety”.
“Nice of you to show up while I’m in a meeting, anxiety.”
“Anxiety again? Whatever.”
Be aware of you sensation. Name it and treat it with an “I don’t care” and “I’m too busy for this”” attitude.
Doing this will thin your anxious sensations and take away some of its strength.
Your anxiety feeds of the your negative reactions to it, so stop now.
Be aware, name it, and don’t give it the time of day.
When you are aware of your negative feeling, you are in more control of it. It is no longer a mystery.
I like to use the example of an angry parent who gets so fed up with their children’s horseplay, that the kids get called by their full name. You’ve been there! Middle names and all! It stuns and makes the feeling know who is actually in charge here.
After you’ve named it, you now own it. It was a feeling you created anyways, so you may as well transform it into something beneficial.
Step #2: Accept it
Today’s the day that you stop running and hiding from your feelings. Today is the day that you will no longer push them away and hope they never come back.
If you keep hiding from your feelings, they will come back harder and stronger.
They feed off of your negativity and fear.
After you’re aware of the sensations and you’ve named it, accept it. Be there for it. Care for it!
“Hello, anxiety. Glad you’re here.”
“I am feeling panicky. I accept you, panic.”
Just like when you are excited and invite your good feelings to stay, you must do the same with the negative.
It’s like killing them with kindness.
Your feelings won’t know what hit them and will try and leave for another day.
If you’ve ever had to deal with a bully, you will know that they don’t know how to react when they are treated nicely or as an equal. They want a show; they want drama. I gives them purpose.
Love your feeling no matter had bad it is. You created it. It is a part of you. If you hate it an wish it never came back, you are treating yourself very unkindly.
You can even go so far as to think, “Anxiety, it’s good to see you. I love you.” Be excited it’s back.
Treating your negative thoughts (as well as the good ones) will put you in even more control of how you feel.
Remember, anxiety comes when we have no control of how we feel. Start asserting yourself with a kind heart. Name them and accept them.
Step 3: Engage it.
Get involved with your sensations. First, you became aware and named the sensation. Next, you accepted it and loved it.
Your sensations don’t seem all that big and bad now, do they?
Our feelings of stress and anxiety have lost a lot of strength, but to ensure it gets weaker, we must engage it.
Be with it. Get involved with it.
Picture this: A tiny cute and cuddly dog that hates excessive human contact. You hug it, and all it does is wiggle around trying to escape your love hold!
This is what we should imaging with our sensations.
Do the first two steps and then image you hanging out with the negative emotion. Eventually, it will dissipate because it has better things to do.
Giving it positive inviting attention is the opposite of what your sensations are asking for, therefore, they won’t be as strong.
And the more you treat these feelings with awareness, acceptance, and engagement, the less likely they will flare to such an intensity that they are not bearable.
Be Aware, Accept and Engage.
Step 4: Keep Living
At the point, when you feel like you anxious flare up is within you control, you should continue living.
Do the things you were doing before the anxious or panic sensation and move on with your life.
Where you in the middle of driving in traffic? Start transitioning you focus back to the road.
Where you preparing a lesson plan for you class tomorrow? Keep planning.
Steps 1-3 bring us face-to-face with our sensations so that they shrink instead of grow. They may not be completely gone, so it’s best that we move on with our lives.
Show your sensations who the boss really is and that you truly don’t have all day to waste taking care of it.
Have an activity, if you weren’t already busy that gets you moving. Don’t be idle.
Drinking water, washing your face, take 3 deep breathes.
Were you at your desk? Breathe and calmly, mindfully walk to get some water.
Wash your face.
Most often we feel panic or anxiety doing a stressful or non-preferred task. If you get back to that arduous task, most likely your sensations will flair up again.
Have a back up.
Additional Practice: Mindful Breathing
Make mindful breathing a part of your day. Don’t rely on it just when you feel bad.
Do it also when you feel well.
Being aware of yourself and the present moment gives you another tool to use when the stress and anxiety are building strength.
For a more thorough explanation into mindfulness and preparing yourself to face challenges better, click here.
We need simple exercise that we can practice daily that won’t take a huge chunk out of our already busy schedules.
Get a piece of notebook paper. You can as fancy as you want, I prefer a simpler approach.
Nice and big, write “Breathe.”
Tape it to your bathroom mirror so that you see it hopefully twice a day.
It is very important that you put this sign somewhere that you will see it at the beginning and the end of your day.
When you see “Breathe,” inhale thinking the words “THIS IS THE PRESENT MOMENT” and exhale thinking “IT’S A WONDERFUL MOMENT.”
Inhale = THIS IS THE PRESENT MOMENT
Exhale = IT’S A WONDERFUL MOMENT
When we mindfully breathe and focus on the present moment, we are reunited our mind and body. Often the mind and body wander mindlessly.
Mindful breathing brings the mind and body together.
By inhaling to “this is the present moment,” we become connected within our bodies and that of the present. The past cannot be changed and the future is uncertain. We only focus on the present.
Exhaling to “it’s a wonderful moment,” reminds us that we are alive! We are breathing and living! Our jobs, stress, obligations, and etc mean nothing! Why? Because you are alive and breathing.
Do this at least twice a day.
If you are like me, I do it twice daily and when I feel the anxiety growing. It is an activity that takes little time, but conditions me to act positively in good and bad times.