Top 10 Ways to Stop Anxiety Attacks
1. Understand the anatomy of an anxiety attack (understanding the physiological, psychological, and emotional components that contribute to anxiety attacks).
When you understand what anxiety attacks are; what causes them; how the body responds - the many physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that can occur and why; the many stages of the stress response; and how stress affects the body; anxiety attacks are no longer mysteries that have the potential to scare you. Becoming unafraid of anxiety attacks is the surest way to stop them.
2. Stop scaring yourself.
As we mentioned above, anxiety attacks are mostly caused by being afraid. So being afraid of anxiety attacks is one of the most common reasons why anxiety attacks sustain…and why people develop Panic Attack Disorder. Since fear is the most common reason why anxiety attacks occur and persist, refusing to scare yourself removes the main reason anxiety attacks occur.
When you eliminate fear, you eliminate the most common cause of anxiety attacks. Yes, you can learn to stop scaring yourself. This is the second most powerful way to eliminate anxiety attacks. For example, rather than thinking, “, this is awful. What if I completely lose it?” Use more affirmative language such as, “Ok, this doesn’t feel good. But it will end when I stop scaring myself.”
Or, instead of thinking, “This is awful. I can’t stand it!” Think, “This is what a high degree stress response feels like. Many people go to great lengths to feel this. It’s a normal part of the bodies survival mechanism. It is not dangerous.
Taking charge of your thinking puts you in control of your body’s emergency system
3. Calm yourself down.
Similar to point two, calming yourself down shuts off the mechanism that causes anxiety attacks. Calming yourself down ends the stress response. Then it’s just a matter of time until the body uses up or expels the remaining stress hormones.
4. Relaxed breathing.
Slow, relaxed, diaphragmatic breaths cause the body to trigger a natural tranquilizing effect. This tranquilizing effect counters the effects of the stress response. As you relax diaphragmatic breathe, your body will calm down, which again will end an anxiety attack. Just take a deep breathe hold it for a few seconds and then slowly release . Repeat 4 times. This will trigger the part of your brain that says that you are fine.
5. Relax your body.
Relaxing the body shuts off the stress response since the body can’t go in both (arousal/relaxed) directions at the same time. The more relaxed you make your body, the faster the body uses up and expels stress hormones, which will bring an end to the feelings associated with an active stress response. Go for a walk, listen to music. Exercise such as Yoga will help.
6. Acceptance and distraction are the key.
As we mentioned earlier, most anxiety attacks are caused and fuelled by thinking anxiously. Distracting your attention can prevent anxious thinking. As you prevent anxious thinking you also prevent voluntary anxiety attacks.
There are lots of ways to distract yourself, such as counting, calling a friend, playing a game, knitting, adult colouring, and so on. Anything that distracts your mind away from anxious thinking will indirectly end stress responses and anxiety attacks. The better you are at distracting yourself, the faster anxiety attacks end.
You might also want to distract yourself with more sensory experiences, such as with cold water, ice, strong tastes, touch, and so on. Strong sensory experiences are more distracting. Anything that takes your mind away from the sensations associated with the active stress response and thinking anxiously will assist in ending anxiety attacks.
7. Recognize all panic attacks end.
No matter how powerful the anxiety attack, it will end. We can end them faster by doing some or all of the above. Nevertheless, all anxiety attacks end. It’s only a matter of time. No one experiences unending anxiety attacks even though sometimes it can feel that way. Riding out the anxiety attack knowing it will end can help you remain calm, which also shuts off the stress response and anxiety attack.
8. Remember your body is doing what it’s supposed to in response to thinking you are in danger.
Many people go to great lengths to experience the rush of the stress response (skydiving, bungee jumping, Elite athletes will actually bring on the stress response in order to perform at their peak. So a high degree stress response isn’t a bad thing, but the body’s temporary emergency survival mechanism in action. We can shut it off.
9. Even though an anxiety attack may feel like it is out of control, it actually isn’t.
Knowing how to control anxiety attacks, and becoming practiced at it, eliminates them. Moreover, even though you may feel you are in danger from an anxiety attack, you aren’t. An anxiety attack is a common response to believing you are in danger, but not the actual cause of being in danger.
10. Live your life as if you have no symptoms and no anxiety.
What that means is normal patterns. Don’t allow something that is not an entity to control what you do. Anxiety does not have a personality. It does not control you. Take back your life.
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