Panic attacks are typically described as sudden and extreme bouts of fear and apprehension. While these attacks can happen at any time, stressful or traumatic situations can make you more prone to experiencing them. That being said, one major thing you can do to help fend off future panic attacks is to learn how to manage stress properly. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Count to Ten
Unfortunately, you don’t always make the best decisions in the face of stress or a crisis. When a stressful situation comes your way, step away from the problem and count to ten. Use this time to collect yourself and think about the decision that’s right for you.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep or abdominal breathing is the way your body naturally breathes when you are relaxed. Deep breathing comes from movement in the abdomen, rather than the chest movement that accompanies shallow breathing. When an individual gets stressed, he or she generally tends to take rapid (shallow) breaths. This, in turn, elevates stress and can easily trigger a panic attack.
Watch Out for Stressors
Make a list of the things in your life that frequently cause you stress. Then try to come up with a plan to deal with (or get through) these situations the next time they come up. Having a plan will make uncomfortable issues much less stressful to deal with.
Start an Exercise Routine
Exercising a bit each day goes a long way toward improving both your physical and mental health. You don’t need to adopt an intense, rigorous routine. Even 30 minutes of walking, jogging, swimming, or a similar activity every day will give you a workout and also establish a daily routine. This well-structured routine makes life feel more ordered and controlled, keeping stressful chaos to a minimum.
Turn to Friends
Panic attacks are very difficult to deal with alone. If you have a friend or family member who you trust to share your feelings with, ask if he or she is willing to lend you a hand. Chances are the answer will be yes.
Whether this person helps you deal with your stressors or simply gives you someone to talk to, having support is a great comfort. Just make sure that the person you confide in isn’t connected to the things that generally stress you out. For example, if your co-workers are causing your stress, talk to a friend outside of work.
Avoid Stressful Situations
When you feel that something is causing you stress, each time you find yourself dealing with it, it’s best to do everything you can to avoid the issue. If you’re getting stressed out at work, this might mean saying “no” when people try to pile additional responsibilities on you.
The bad news is this, though: you can’t avoid an unpleasant situation forever. You still need to deal with the problems you’ve avoided once you feel more up to it.
There isn’t anything you can do to guarantee you’ll be free of panic attacks. But, taking control of the stressors in your life will keep you from feeling overwhelmed or out of control. Just remember to take it one day at a time, and breathe.