Anxiety often starts as a build up of worrying thoughts followed by, feeling overwhelmed and then the physical symptoms begin. Sometimes the worry can even leads to a full-blown panic attacks… and they’re horrible.
Occasionally you notice the physical symptoms first because you’re unaware that your subconscious mind (that’s the emotional, memory filled part) is going over and over something that’s happened in your past – that you fear will happen again.
The attacks usually produce heart palpitations, extreme sweating, blushing, shaking, nausea and sometimes if you’re really unlucky… actual vomit.
If you’re beginning to panic while at home, here’s what to do:
Settle yourself down in a comfortable place and position. Tense each part of your body individually and squeeze it in place, then after a few seconds, slowly release the tension and let that body part loosen… feel that part unclench as it relaxes again. Start with the soles of your feet and work your way up to your head.
Make tight fists with your hands and then relax them. Curl your toes, then relax them. Squeeze your butt cheeks and then let them go! Clench your jaw… and then let your mouth hang open. Sounds counter-productive to tense your body even more after it already feels tight, this method really does work.
Go on try it now, even if you’re not in panic mode!
This technique is called a progressive relaxation and I teach it to my one-to-one clients. You should start feeling more relaxed and like your anxiety is melting away with each muscle. Click here and in this FREE audio I’ll personally guide you through the process. It takes about 8 mins.
Move your focus away from thoughts onto your physical senses. What can you see, colours, shapes, textures? What can you hear? Listen to the sounds in your environment. Attempt to identify individual sounds, both nearby and afar.
I enjoy listening to forest sounds, so I search for them on YouTube. If you search for sounds, like a beach, garden or forest, close your eyes and imagine that you’re really in that location.
Breathe deeply and count numbers as you breathe. Take a long, slow breath in and as you breathe out, count 1… 2… 3… 4… so you’re focusing on the counting than the panicking. Your breathing will slow down and you’ll begin to reduce physical panic symptoms.
If you’re already out in public and you’re beginning to panic, try these:
Get Focussed. Start at the beginning of the alphabet and find several things you can see, touch, hear, smell etc. for each letter. This will bring you back to reality during an anxiety attack and it really helps to have something to focus on that isn’t your negative thoughts.
Move a little. Move away from the immediate situation causing the panic. Stay in the area but go somewhere to regain your composure… and the RETURN. That’s right!
Avoidance will only continue your anxiety into the future. You have to give yourself time to realise that your fears aren’t real, or catastrophic and that you’re perfectly able to move past the panic.
Remember a time in the past when you were scared, then remind yourself that you’re still here, and that you made it through the situation unharmed and alive. Use this memory to rationalise your thoughts and reassure yourself that you ARE capable.
Breathe Slowly. Remember the previous tip? You can do this in public too. You can even combine the breathing with the progressive relaxation technique and you’ll be calmer in no time!
Rehearse these tips while you’re calm, and the next time you find yourself in panic mode, put them into action. Let me know how you get on :)