Managing Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be very disturbing. It’s not uncommon for a person to go to the emergency room mistaking a panic attack (or anxiety attack) for a heart attack. Panic attacks are not only extremely stressful, but they can also be embarrassing. It feels as if we are out of control. In fact, when panic attacks occur frequently, it is called Panic Disorder. If you believe you may have Panic Disorder, regain control again by meeting with a qualified counselor. Here are two ways using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you begin to manage panic attacks:
Slow the Body Down
Opposite of being in a state of panic is calm. Think of relaxing as sort of an “off” switch for the panic attack. However, this does take practice. Useful ways to accomplish this are to practice deep breathing like yoga or mindfulness meditation. Also effective is PMR or Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Keep in mind, the body is unable to be simultaneously in a state of panic and relaxation.
Our thoughts run very wind when we experience a panic attack. Common cognitions include, This is terrible! Or, Here we go again! Or, I’ll never get over this. The panic attack feels 100 times worse when our thoughts run wild with our bodies. However, repeating rational thoughts to yourself like, I’ve handled this before, I can handle it this time also. Or, I have the tools to successfully manage this. Or, This will not last, it is only temporary, the panic attack ends in a much shorter time. The reason why is because rational thoughts turn off panic attacks by relaxing our bodies.
These are two important steps in managing panic attacks. If you want to learn more about how to manage panic attacks, contact Lisa for guidance.