How to Calm Anxiety Before a Panic Attack
I am a strong and relentless woman. I had my feet granted, always knew what I want and where I was heading, well! at least so I thought. I had a rough childhood that made me stronger. I survived what others might call the impossible for my age. Today, I am dealing with depression and anxiety.
How did I get here?
You might be wondering how could someone with my personality be depressed and anxious. Well! No one is immune to depression or anxiety. It all started after my diagnosis with fibromyalgia a couple of years ago. I have to depend on my loved ones for care and moral support. I have an amazing husband that is always there for my needs, but that did not stop my depression and anxiety. And the surprising thing is that I have always had anxiety. I lived in fear of not knowing what is going to happen next, a racing heart, a sudden feeling of my throat tightening up and labored breathing, nausea, an overwhelmed feeling of emotions I couldn’t control.
How I learned to control my feelings before panic attack settles in
It took years of medication, therapy and finding new healthy habit to control my depression and anxiety. You can read more about my life with depression here. I will mostly focus on anxiety for the rest of this post.
I have found healthy ways to stop my anxiety before it gets worse. This did not happen overnight, it took patience, practice, and care to achieve my goal.
Here are my tips for when anxiety strikes.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption as they can aggravate your anxiety and trigger panic attack. I just don’t drink them at all.
- Take a time out. I found this to be very helpful when I am stressed. Stepping back from the problem helps distract my mind.
- Take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale, sometimes I follow a guided meditation if I can’t seem to calm down enough to do it on my own.
- Count to 10 and backward helps me sometimes.
- Maintain a positive attitude, replace a negative thought with a positive one helps calm my mind.
- Exercise daily, I could be just 15 minutes walk every day. It always calms my mind.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety, for instance, I get anxious when my kids are not ready for bed by 8 p.m because that is their bedtime. I had to learn to be fine with them going to bed a few minutes after 8. It’s not the end of the world.
- Keeping a journal, I cannot stretch the importance of writing down your feelings and thoughts. This is like an invisible friend I talk to and feel relieved. Moreover, it gives me a visual image of my thoughts and the facts.
- Talk to someone, I see a therapist for professional help. Communicate with your loved ones about how you feel. Join a support group where you will feel less lonely.
- Get enough sleep, this one might be obvious, but easy to overlook. If you’re sleep deprived, your symptoms will get worse.
- Accept that you cannot control everything. This was a difficult one for me to overcome. I realized that I can only control my actions and reactions to situations in my life and not what others do. It also helps to put things in perceptive, is it really bad as you think?
- Use fragrance, I find lavender to be especially helpful in calming my body and mind down. I keep a small bottle of lavender oil handy for a scent for when anxiety strikes.
- Find positive affirmations, I use this every day to help manage my mood. For instance, when I’m anxious, I remind myself that this feeling is temporal, I just need to take a break and I will be fine.
You need to be patient with yourself, this is not a quick fix pill or method that would make your anxiety better overnight. It takes time, care and consistency to get a better result. Most importantly, try these ideas one or two at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself. I understand it seems impossible to control your anxiety, but you can take one step at a time. The goal is to take small steps that make a big difference.