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Simple Steps for Managing Panic Attacks

I work with many clients who come for assistance with panic attacks. It’s important to remember that resisting or fighting initial panic symptoms can actually make them worse…here are some simple steps to help you manage panic attacks:

1. Panic attacks are often experienced as extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable. Remember that the feelings you are experiencing are time limited and *will* pass.

2. Stay as calm as possible – focus on your breathing. Breath in deeply, slowly through your nose slowly out through your mouth. Try to avoid shallow, quick breaths.

3. Think about how you feel and pay attention to any reduction, even slight, in your feelings of fear and anxiety.

4. Focus your attention on slowly stretching your muscles and tensing them, then relax and try to let the tension slowly slip away.

5. Accept how you feel in the situation…remind yourself that these feelings will pass. Be patient with yourself and try to calm down.

6. Focus your thoughts on the present and how you are working diligently to calm down. Try not to think about what could happen, but distract yourself by paying attention to reducing your physical discomfort.

When you try to fight panic, you simply tense up against it, which only serves to make you more anxious. Adopting the opposite attitude, one of letting go and allowing your body to have these reactions (i.e. sweaty palms, heart palpitations, etc.) will enable you to move through the panic more quickly and with more ease.

Allow time to pass…panic is caused by a sudden surge of adrenaline. If you can allow and float with the bodily reactions caused by this surge, much of the adrenaline will metabolize and be reabsorbed in three to five minutes…and you will start to feel much better.

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