3 ways to help slow your mind down when you are on the verge of having a panic attack (cliff notes)

Our lives move at an incredibly fast pace. Even if you don’t struggle from an anxiety disorder, it is very possible for you to get overwhelmed just trying to keep up with your daily tasks. Here are a few things that I do, when I feel like I am going to lose control, and have a panic attack:

  1. Breathe! Yes, it sounds cliché and easy enough but when you feel a panic attack coming out of nowhere, you need to focus on your breathing. I cannot count how many times I have been sitting at my desk at work, and had to completely stop what I am doing, close my eyes, and only focus on deep inhales and long exhales. If you start to panic in a busy public place, finding a place to sit down and breathe works wonders, especially if you have no idea where the nearest restroom is and hiding in a stall is not an option. Just breathe.
  2. Go for a walk. This is my all time favorite. Something triggers me, I go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be far, but I just need to exit the area that I am currently in, and go somewhere else. I  might only do a lap around the building, but the simple action of getting up and removing myself, shifts my focus and allows me slowly stop spinning and return back to somewhat logical thoughts. Ideally, I am able to not only leave the area, but actually walk outside, in the fresh air. (also an ideal time for some breathing exercises) The movement alone helps, regardless of how far you walk or how much time you are gone.
  3. Listen to music. This one has proven to be a bit tricky for me. I have fine tuned it, so that I know exactly what type of music calms me down, but it is very different for each person. Music in general has healing powers, but if you are looking to distract yourself from a certain subject, don’t listen to something that reminds you of that subject (seems logical, but when you are already struggling it is very hard to think straight!) Lately, classical piano has been the winner to calm my mind and body down. It also helps me regain focus when my mind is all over the place and I am unable to fully complete one task.

Of course, the above are all things that work for me personally and each individual has their own way of coping and dealing with their panic attacks. I chose to list those three ways, because they are ideal for our on-the-go lifestyle. We might not always be able to stop what we are doing to sit down and meditate with no interruptions, or stop to read a book, do yoga etc. These are tricks that have helped me through many moments of panic and anxiety, and have been key to overcoming the fear of “What do I do when I panic and I am not at home” feeling. Try to remember, that you can breathe through anything!

“Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

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