Getting Past Panic

The Panic Button

Sometimes we imagine things are more dangerous than they often are and as a result, we get triggered into panic. These triggers are like buttons that can easily and quickly set us off. Panic is a heavy emotional state that usually is accompanied by:

  • The inability to breathe
  • Numbness
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Feeling of unreality
  • Feeling sick or actually vomiting
  • A need to escape
  • An overwhelming sense of dread or fear
  • Sweating
  • Inability to think

Panic can come in waves. If you experience one attack, you may experience several in close proximity. This in itself can be very distressing. The only way to deal with panic is to nip it in the bud.

Identify Your Triggers

Learning what triggers your panic is an important part of conquering your panic. Write them down if need be, so that you can remind yourself to avoid these things, situations or deal with them with awareness should you be confronted with them again.

How to Get Past Panic

If panic has already set in, the sooner you handle it, the better. One of the best ways to gain a sense of calm is deep and focused breath work with eyes closer and with your attention on your breath, and how it feels in your body. Another great way to calm yourself is to tell yourself you will survive, and that this anxiety is just energy and that it will dissipate. You can also do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that right here, right now you are safe. Look at your present situation, look around you, see that you are fine and that there is no crisis currently in this moment, at this exact time and in this exact space. Observe that everything that is causing the panic is a future imagined event.

It is to be expected that we will experience panic over the next weeks and months as we move past this global pandemic. Don’t be alarmed when it shows up. However, be prepared to recognize it and deal with it. The sooner you get out of panic and back to a rational state of mind, the better you will be for yourself and your family.

Let’s Connect

If you are interested in knowing how my coaching can help you manage your emotional state so that you are experiencing more joy and less fear, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

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Panic Attacks

What Is a Panic Attack?

If you have ever experienced one then you can probably clearly explain the body sensation of an attack. Heart palpitations, sweating, trembling and shaking, feeling nausea and dizzy are what are most common to people.  What is equally scary however is the fear of losing control and even dying.

During the years of living with my anxiety, I had a number of panic attacks. Some worse than others and some forcing me to go to the hospital convinced that I was having a heart attack. What I found out later was that due to the intensity of the symptoms that a panic attack can bring on, they tend to mimic those of heart disease and breathing disorders and that it is common for people experiencing a panic attack to be convinced they are having a life-threatening issue.

What is annoying about panic attacks is that they can occur unexpectedly. Doesn’t matter if you start out feeling calm or anxious, the attack can occur regardless. And since they are so unpleasant to experience and very frightening, you end up becoming worried about having another panic attack.

Detecting The Onset of An Attack

Through my trial and error with panic attacks I discovered that having a plan, a way to respond when one came one was the best approach for me. It reduced my ongoing worry about getting another attack because I felt more confident that I could manage myself out of one and it also reduced the length of time that I was experiencing the symptoms of the attack. Here is what I found worked for me.

What Works For Me

Firstly, I just recognize that I am feeling afraid and starting to panic.  I found it is best to not ignore the symptoms and pretend they are not happening.  I also remind myself that I am not in danger.  Usually the thought of being in danger accompanies panic attacks.   I  found that reminding myself that I am safe is very useful.  How I do this is I look around and say to myself, “See, you are fine.  You are safe.  You are secure.”

Next, I choose to not fight the feeling.  This goes against all of my instinct.  I just say to myself, “Well, it looks like I am having a panic attack right now.”  Then, I allow myself to just accept the symptoms. I see the physical sensations that I am experiencing as a logical and expected response to whatever thoughts I am having that are causing the panic. My body is functioning exactly as it should, and I know that my thoughts are creating the physical response. I thank my body for being so well-built and responsive.  This is a nice twist to what I used to do which was to worry and struggle which actually made it worse.

I then remind myself that I have been through this before and it always ended.  I remember that my last panic attack and the one before that and the one before that all came to an end and so this one will also end.

Grounding Exercises 

And lastly and most importantly, I focus on something outside of myself.  I find that getting into the present moment and focusing on something that is in my sight I can stop my imagination from making up the future stories that are negative and which are probably triggering the panic in the first place.  I stop any thinking that is accompanied by “what if….” by turning my focus on something is actually happening right in front of me.  I then work with my body by relaxing it using breath work.  Relaxing the muscles of my jaw, neck, shoulders and back really help.  I also make sure I am not standing rigid with muscles tensed and that I am NOT holding my breath.

I have found that by following these simple steps I can start making myself feel better rather quickly when a panic attack comes on.  Sometime I have to do the steps a couple of times before I start to see any results.  The important thing is to keep doing them and not give up.

You’re Not Alone

Panic is a normal response to either a real or imagined situation.  If you are like me and it is your mind making up “what if…” stories that are triggering the panic, then give the steps that I use a try and see if you can shorten the length and number of attacks you are experiencing. And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen