Panic attacks are a bitch. It’s as if the weight of the world has suddenly landed on your chest, your thoughts have gone rogue, and you’ve developed the energy level of a cat that decided to practice its acrobatic skills in the middle of the night in a small apartment. Seeing that I just woke up from a dead sleep, having a full-blown panic at 3:30 A.M. I figured now would be a good time as any to talk about how to ease your attack and start to have more rational and calming thoughts to address what’s causing your anxiety. Ways that can quickly help you find your breath again.
✨BREATHE! Even though this breathing tip has probably been beaten into your brain by now, it’s the truth. Breathe hard breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I’m not talking in a calm rational let’s have a quiet moment way either, you’re losing your shit, so take that opportune energy and get as much oxygen in your system as possible. In sharply through your nose, bringing in as much air as you can then open your mouth wide on the exhale pushing out loudly. Imagine that you’re a toddler asking their mom and dad if their breath smells funny, give zero fucks and let it all out like lions breath. You want to get as much air into and out of your lungs as possible and as quickly as possible.
✨PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: We all suffer some level of anxiety or stress. That stress whether caused by our career, an estranged family member or friend, having to handle a severe or unexpected life event or getting rear-ended by a jerk who was texting causing you to go over the edge. What’s important is to realize that you’re experiencing a panic attack, but YOU can bring yourself out of it. What thoughts are coming to your mind? Find a focal point somewhere and breath. Is your reaction proportionate to what caused you to panic? Start saying positive and affirming statements out loud to help bring you back down.
This morning I woke up suddenly and I couldn’t get a relationship out of my mind. It is one that has caused me years of stress, and I’m still not at a place where I can efficiently find peace within that particular situation. Some things take time, and that’s okay. To calm my thoughts, and not wake up my family I began to type my feelings on Microsoft Word as a way to get it out of my head. Usually, I would talk to my husband, but because it was so early and he heads to work first thing, I knew I could do it on my own and let him sleep. When my computer decided to update itself -real helpful by the way automatically!- I rushed to put as many words down as I possibly could in sixty seconds before it began updating. Stressful in itself! Haha. I then moved on to self-help blogs. We all need help! No one is free from life’s stresses. By being mindful and practicing deep breathing techniques, I was able to start calming down, and this was well before I found an article that helped me find clarity.
✨RELAX: Close your eyes, imagine yourself in a happy place, and feel your muscles one by one begin to soften and relax. Like Adam Sandler’s character Happy Gilmore imagining his “happy place” to find his sense of calm and not rage think of the things that bring well-being to your being. Drink a tall glass of ice-cold water. Sit in front of a cooling fan or near a warm heater. Put yourself in a place that relaxes you and will help bring you back.
Life can throw unexpected curve balls your way, and no one chooses to have a panic attack, they happen! It’s important to know that you can take control of your mindset and your body. When you begin your self-improvement journey, there’s a significant chance that you’ll end up finding yourself in extremely stressful situations and experiencing a panic attack that takes you by surprise. Everyone experiences these attacks differently but if you remember to breathe, be mindful, and to relax you will be able to empower yourself and find your calm when you need it most. Even if you are doing it by yourself at 3:30 A.M. sitting under a blanket on top of your in-floor heating vent being a mouth breather like I was, no shame here!