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Some useful tips on dealing with Anxiety and Panic
I expect you're familiar with anxiety and panic symptoms such as shaking, shivering, sweating and increased heart palpitations. I used to have anxiety attacks in crowded places such as supermarkets. Even airports. And my fear of walking into a crowded room made me want to turn around and run back out. Here are some useful techniques things you can use to handle the rise of panic and anxiety. I found them very useful. The great thing now is I hardly ever suffer anxiety and panic. With regular practise I believe you can, too.
Before we start though, please talk to your doctor or heathcare practitioner. Get advice from them first.
Think for a minute. Anxiety is not dangerous - it’s just uncomfortable. I won't die or go crazy. But I remind myself that my body is body is having a false alarm, that's all. Nothing, I remind myself, is going to happen. I've survived anxiety attacks before so I will this time, too. I'm not going to fight my feelings. I'm going to let them come and then I'm going to ride them out. So I focus on a task like counting backward from 100. Or sitting in the park in the shade of great big tree and there are squirrels around, and lovely green grass. All is peaceful. I've closed my eyes to think on these things. And our lovely garden at my famhouse. All green and peaceful with pretty flowers with bougainvillea swaying in a gentle breeze. Use this to help you relax and keep your mind focussed.
During a panic or when having an anxiety attack, get your friend to come and sit with you. Here are some things I'll want my friend to help me with........
Talk to me and assure me that you will not force me into anything I don't want to do, and that you will take me to my safe place if need be. Just gentle conversation, please. And some laughter would be great. Help me get involved with something - like focusing on something else. For me, I need to hear sounds and laughter but the most important thing for me is to have someone to talk to who understands and we can just talk through this, all this that is troubling me. Try and find something that distracts me. Start talking about other things. Be supportive, listen to what I am saying. We all need different things- all of us have different things that help us. Encourage me in my successes and buoy me up when I feel like I've had a failure.
And please stay with me! Do not leave me - talk to me, touch me, rub my back, and reassure me. Just keep talking about anything so that I have to concentrate on your talking and can try to ignore the panic.
The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from your abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs like I did. When we take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from our upper chest, we get to inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen we get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious we feel.
1. Sit comfy with a straight back.
2. Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little. That's what I found.
3. Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles, like I did. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little, that's what I found.
4. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale. Slowly, after a few of these deep breaths, your anxiety begins melting away.
If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying down. Put a small book on your stomach, and breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale. You can do this on your bed, or on a sofa.
5. Don't treat me any differently once you know about the panic.
6. Don't force me to go someplace I feel very uncomfortable about going. Do not surprise me by doing it anyhow.
7. And if I leave early, please try to understand. Don't bad mouth me behind my back and then let me hear about it later.
Some time ago I read a lovely story called "The Colour of Ink". This an edit.
"This is one of the strongest tools, in my opinion, to help me through panic. And by this I mean just TALK to me, about anything or nothing at all. Talk about the clouds, the grass I am standing on, the light across from me, THE COLOR OF INK. Talk about the different colours ink comes in nowadays. These little calm thoughts send me messages that I am ok and that life is calm. Ink comes in many colours and we can even name them - very calm talk about nothing at all and I am under control."
Another method involves pets. Out of all the pets, cats have been scientifically proven to be the most relaxing animals. This, however, does not mean none of the other pets aren't relaxing! When you have a pet, you can usually train it to be loyal. You can stroke it, comfort it, and be comforted by it. For instance, if you take a dog out for a walk you can see it is enjoying itself. For me though I don't have a dog now, this gave me a wonderful feeling and made me feel happier for the rest of the day. If you own a dog, going a run with it may be a good idea as it can help take out anger and stress on the pavement. Or if you own another well loved pet, spend time with it whenever you can.
My ex gave me a lot of those tips. Some more very useful tips on relaxation can be found here.