How to Talk Yourself Down When You Have An Anxiety Attack

Having an anxiety attack or a panic attack can happen anywhere – at school, at work, during an important meeting or standing in line at the grocery store. Sometimes you feel them coming on and others they pop up in full force before you even realize what’s happened. If this happened to you before, then you know how demanding it can be, how the panic overtakes you, and how it feels like the world is closing in around you and your left with nothing to do but waiting for it to pass.

Often, as it happens, the racing heart beat and racing thoughts, heaviness in the chest or an inability to breathe can stress you out more and send the anxiety that’s set you off through the roof! Here’s what you should do when a panic attacks threatens to limit your mobility, your ability to concentrate, focus, or escape the anxiety.

First, you should wait. Calmly, before you react (or panic!) just take a few deep breaths and wait. Often, our immediate reactions to anxiety/stress is to react as quickly as possible, to run, flee, or escape the panic but it’s actually counterproductive.

Don’t send your body into that fight or flight response, if at all possible. Stay right where you are and instead of trying to run away to find relief, wait for the relief to find its’ way to you. This might not work the next few times it happens but you should work towards it and keep trying.

You should also begin to observe. Be aware. Focus. Concentrate. Something is triggering your anxiety, stress, or fear. If you can remember to later on at the end of the day, document everything you can remember about the attack. The more you know about your anxiety, the better you will respond to it.

If you’re not in a position to be passive during the attack, you might have to work through it. If you’re giving a presentation, working, or doing something important, focus on your reaction and try to actively remain in the activity or role that you are in.

Of course it’s easier said than done, it takes time, practice, and awareness. But it’s achievable. You just have to try!

Reference
N.D. “The Key To Overcoming Panic Attacks”. Anxiety Coach. (website). 2017
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