When living with anxiety, any moment can become one that creates a slow rising feeling of panic. Life feels normal one second, and then the next, chest tightens, and heart began to race. Hyper-focus on events in the future seems to dominate thinking, and you find yourself getting lost in future-tripping.
You may then find yourself beginning to berate yourself for allowing the panic to get the best of you. There are many things you can do at that moment to help support yourself.
Deep Belly Breathing
The moment you feel panic and anxiety coming on, the first thing to do is to stop and manage your breath. Deep, slow breathing in the belly sends a powerful signal to our brains that there is safety.
Controlled belly breathing is one of the most effective ways to activate your bodies natural relaxation response. Inhale for two seconds and exhale for four, pushing your belly out as you exhale.
This simple exercise will help your mind and body to move out of fight/flight mode, encouraging it into a calm and relaxed state.
Accepting When We Feel Anxious
It is essential always to remember the anxiety is just a feeling. Like all feelings, it can leave as quickly as it came. All that is happening is that you are having an emotional reaction to a string of thoughts. Trying to pretend it is not happening can make matters worse.
Let’s be clear, by accepting anxiety; you are not suggesting that it is ok. You are merely cultivating a more mindful moment of present moment awareness.
Remembering Your Emotions Will Not Kill You
One of the most frightening things about an anxiety attack is feeling like you are having a heart attack. But you are not. Your brain may try to trick you. It may try and convince you that you are in physical danger. However, you are not in physical danger. You are experiencing overwhelming emotions, and they will pass. Remind yourself of that fact as many times as is helpful.
Kindly Questioning Your Thoughts
When your panic attack comes on, your mind may throw out all sorts of outlandish ideas at you, hoping some of them stick. These thoughts fuel the panic attack.
You may find yourself thinking untruths; no one likes me, I am sure going to screw this up, I probably left the oven on, I’ll no doubt get stuck in traffic on the way home. Maybe I will get a flat tyre, so then I will be stranded, and the worry goes on and on and on.
Gently question these ideas. Are you truly not liked by anyone around you? Most likely not. Are you going to screw up? Probably not. Traffic? Well, maybe but a flat tyre? Chances are not.
As you gently question your thoughts; you will usually find that the majority are not very realistic or probable.
Take a moment to picture somewhere serene that brings you peace and calm. Maybe this is a place where you spent time. Perhaps it is a fantasy, somewhere you would love to visit. Just picture it in your mind eye and imagine yourself there. Try to engage all your senses; see it, smell it, feel it. Relax into being there, Feeling
how calm it is to be in this place.
If anxiety is affecting your relationship, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how couples or relationship counselling may be able to help.