The bare bones of this post are of one I wrote a couple of years ago when I was just coming out of my first huge bout of anxiety. It was a post that really helped other anxiety sufferers especially Mums so I wanted to update it. Having anxiety can be crippling and when you are in the full throws of an anxiety attack it can be scary. I have taught myself ways of dealing with it after lots of research and most of the time manage to calm myself down. Here are my 5 ways to help yourself through an anxiety attack.
As always with my anxiety posts please remember I am not a professional, this is all from my personal experience.
Breathing – Don’t underestimate breathing, after all it sounds so simple doesn’t it? When I feel my breathing getting quick or a bit out of control. I breath in for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds and breath out. Doing this not only helps to control your breathing but it also gives you something to focus on rather than the thing that is making you anxious. Dizziness is one of my biggest symptoms of anxiety, this wasn’t something I understood at first until I realised I was hyperventilating. Once I manage to slow my breathing down I really feel a difference.
Distraction – Distraction is my biggest way of getting through an anxiety attack. If I feel it coming on I change what I’m doing if I can. It can be as simple as putting some music on or maybe read a few pages of a book. Singing or reading out loud can help too. Sometimes it is the physical symptoms of anxiety that make me panic more so changing what I’m doing tends to help. Cleaning is a good one for me as it gets me moving and thinking about what I am doing.
Talking – At the beginning of my anxiety experience I couldn’t talk about it. I was ashamed that I wasn’t coping and if I was having an anxiety attack with other people around then I tried to cope with it alone. But I wasn’t alone. People wanted to help and nobody judged me for it. Now if I am feeling anxious I tell someone that I am with. Just saying it out loud and knowing I don’t have to deal with it alone or if I need to leave they know why helps enormously. This is something I have found comes with time but it does get easier to be able to admit to feeling anxious.
Practice Grounding – Grounding is a technique I use all of the time now. I found out about it from a friend and it works wonders for me. Sometimes when you are having an anxiety attack you can feel out of your own body or distanced from the situation that you are in. The grounding exercise below is one I found on Pinterest. I keep it on my phone all of the time and use it when I feel things getting a bit out of control.
Acceptance – One of the hardest but most worth while techniques to use when you are having an anxiety attack is to accept it. It has taken me a long time to be able to do this successfully. However, now if I feel anxious in a certain situation. I know what the physical symptoms mean, I know there is no danger to me. So in my head I just think ‘this is just anxiety’ and I let it be there. You would be surprised how quickly it can go away if you just face it. Don’t let it scare you. You are in control.
So there we go, my anxiety hacks. I hope they help anyone that is struggling a little bit. Always remember you are not alone with mental health. If we keep talking about it it will be normalised.