How to control panicky feelings
Most people experience stress in their lives at one point or
another – and sometimes this stress can lead to feelings of panic. Coping with
anxiety can be difficult, but there are little things you can do to help keep
your anxiety in check.
It’s important to remember that while panic attacks can
cause great stress, they are not in themselves dangerous. They can last from a
few seconds to a few hours, and can leave you feeling shaken, tense and
You might avoid doing certain things, and you might feel
that something awful is about to happen to you. This can also be unpleasant,
but you can learn how to control anxiety, through controlling your thoughts and
Panic can take many different forms. There are the feelings
of panic you can predict, but more often than not, panicky feelings can seem to
come completely out of the blue. Nocturnal panic can happen too, when you go to
bed feeling fine, but wake up in a state of distress. But although it might
feel like it, feelings of anxiety do not come out of nowhere. Panic feelings
are a reaction. Once you learn about what triggers panicky feelings, you can
take the first step in controlling them.
There are various things you can do for coping with anxiety.
Controlling your body can help you through anxiety attacks. Pay attention to
your breathing; breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three to
four seconds, hold this breath for three to four seconds and breathe out
through your mouth over a count of six to eight seconds.
Other breathing techniques can help with generalised anxiety
disorders, and can help to stop hyperventilation, something which can add to
the stress when a panic attack hits. Hyperventilation can make you feel dizzy,
confused, faint, breathless and can affect your vision, and can also make you
feel hot, flushed and even achy. While it can be alarming, it is not dangerous.
Controlling your thoughts is important too. Challenge the
way you react to certain thoughts. Prepare yourself, face up to them and
reviewing these can make a difference and prevent a big build up and stay in
So if you feel panic attacks coming on, there are some basic
steps you can remember: Stand your ground, keep your breathing under control,
relax your body and try and keep your mind under control. Fight the panic
attack all the way. Rule it – don’t let it rule you.
Finally, cutting back on alcohol and caffeine can help if
you’re prone to panic attacks. Get enough rest too, as panicky feelings and
stress can be made worse with fatigue.
Keeping your blood sugar levels up is also just as important, so try to
eat something every three hours.
For more tips on coping with anxiety disorder, read Stress
Control, A mind, body life approach to boosting your well-being (£8.99,
Robinson) by Jim White