Something disturbing has happened, and now you are stressed and frustrated.
What should you do?
The following tips are helpful almost in any situation. However, they do not have a long-lasting impact on panic disorder. You should consult a professional for severe cases of panic attacks.
Nevertheless, if anxiety is occasional and does not affect you physically, then these tips will definitely come in handy.
So, you are worried and scared.
The first thing to do is to go with the flow.
You should never bottle up your emotions (“I am not scared, I am calm and collected”). Do not tell yourself that everything is fine, and there is no need to worry. Under no circumstances should you do that. It is important to accept what is happening right now.
“I’m not fine! I’m anxious and frustrated,” is how your response should sound. Once the emotions are identified, they have no real power over you as it would have if you kept acting like everything was fine.
You let go of that massive energy, as resistance requires much effort.
Next, feel where your emotions are
In your head, your solar plexus, stomach, or heart? Most people have them in the upper body.
After identifying the location of your emotions, it is time to focus on them.
What does it feel like to have the emotions? Does it feel like cutting, burning, stabbing, or pressing?
Once you have managed to do that, think to yourself:
Example: I am worried (I fear, I panic, and so on.) and it feels like something is burning in my heart.
Put your hand where you think your emotions are. Breath in deeply three times and exhale through the mouth.
It is worth exploring neuromuscular relaxation according to Jacobson.
It is recommended that you get acquainted with the methodology beforehand. It is self-explanatory and available to anyone.
Leaving aside the medical and scientific details, the point is to do progressive muscle relaxation. Once you feel the panic attack coming, your body has already released a substantial amount of cortisol. As a rule, the situation also worsens due to muscular seizures.
Clench your fists slightly for 7 seconds, then release for 30 seconds. Stand on your heels, lifting your toes and squeeze your calves, stay there for 7 seconds and relax again for 30 seconds.
Make sure you repeat the routine three times. You can easily do it on public transport, or at the desk. If you are at home, you can squeeze any muscles. The main principle here is the 7-30 second rule.
Now you feel the stress die down, you are relaxed, and your head is much clearer. We cannot think straight when we are anxious.
Some people also practice body shaking. It is a great way to cope with stress, as well. This approach is widespread in body psychotherapy. Many children roll on the floor or even shake when they throw tantrums. That is what calms them down. Muscular seizures and cortisol release reduce. It goes without saying, this should be done at home only otherwise people around you might start to worry about you.
Take a glass of cold water to wind down.
Excessive cortisol release disrupts your thyroid, causes a faster heart-rate, weight gaining in the abdominal area as well as your inner organs, and weakens your immunity.
All these tricks will take you 7-10 minutes, making your anxiety fade away.
Keep in mind that these exercises cannot substitute a psychologist. If you know and use these tips, it does not mean you do not need the help of a mental health counselor.
Now you can let go of anxiety. However, it is only a bandage for your wound. The tips alleviate the symptoms and reduce the negative impact. However, the root problem cannot be eradicated with the help of the exercises alone. If you have repeated panic attacks or you have noticed them coming more often than usual, contact a health professional. They will help you find the foundation of the problem and get rid of it, using a more personal approach.