Both anxiety and panic attacks are horrible, debilitating things. The moment you feel it, you want to know immediately how to calm anxiety and then fixate on never ever feeling that way again. Sometimes however it gets to the point where you become afraid of dying and at the same time afraid of living. You start to fear fear itself and are unable to get back on your feet. You feel like the world will never be the same again. So, with so much weighing you down, the question is: How to calm anxiety?
I know that the first step is always the hardest to take, but it’s the only way to reach the second step. I’ve been there, and I want to assure you, overcoming anxiety and panic attacks IS possible. Just remember that you don’t have to struggle with how to calm anxiety or panic attacks on your own. You are not alone and not the only one to ever feel this way.
This is post one of AKTC’s ‘How to Calm Anxiety’ series.
How to Calm Anxiety Prior to Visiting your Doctor
The overall goal in AKTC’s How to Calm Anxiety: The First Steps is to visit your doctor, but I realise that for any number of reasons this may not be possible from the get go. With this in mind I’ve put together a simple list of the things you can put into practice in the meantime. If you find yourself struggling for ideas on how to calm down, start here!
- Take a deep breath
It almost sounds trivial, I know – but it works, and that’s why it’s my first step on how to calm anxiety. In moments of extreme anxiety or if you feel you are having a panic attack, take a deep breath through your nose. Hold it for 3 seconds and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this until the anxiety passes. If beneficial, concentrate on the feeling behind the affirmation “This too shall pass.”
- Go for a walk
If you are able to, go for a walk and concentrate on your surroundings as you go. Let your eyes wander and make a mental note of what you see. If it’s sunny, how does the sun feel on your face? What noises can you hear? Focus on your movement as each foot lifts off the ground. Being present in the moment can distract you from the thoughts you may have that cause anxiety. This has got to be the best tip on how to calm anxiety that I picked up from my psychologist!
- Force yourself to laugh
I know.. Laughing is the last thing that you feel like doing, but trust me. Think about something you find funny. For instance, during my own times of feeling anxious or when I felt a panic attack about to come on, I would imagine myself in the exact same situation, be it on a bus or at home washing dishes, except.. I was a banana. Of course I then start laughing and the feeling of ‘impending doom’ slips away.
- Call a friend
Give a friend who knows about your anxiety and is willing to help a call. Tell them straight up that you’re struggling with feeling anxious or that you’re having a panic attack and ask them to talk to you about something lighthearted, like what they’ve done so far today. This will help take your mind off of any physical symptoms you might be experiencing as you will be focusing on your friend.
- Evaluate your bed-time routine
Upon inspecting your nightly routine you may find that there are small changes you can make. Getting enough quality sleep is key to having the energy you need to combat how you’re feeling. For tips on altering your bed-time routine to reduce anxiety, as well as a few points on how to calm stress brought on by worry, try my post on how to stop panic attacks at night.
- Visit your doctor
When you are able to it is important that you consult your doctor and have them assist you in overcoming anxiety. The mental health system has really come a long way and your doctor can discuss with you the various treatment options available, be it talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. Perhaps you could get a referral to a naturopath that can suggest some vitamins to calm anxiety. There are herbs to calm anxiety as well. Be open and honest with your doctor and don’t be afraid to tell them the approach you’d like to take.
AKTC’s ‘How to Calm Anxiety’ Series
How to Calm Anxiety is going to be a series of posts here on Anxiety Killed The Cat and this is just the first one so stay tuned! With each post I’ll be focusing on a particular aspect, or angle, and discussing specific ideas on how to calm anxiety, how to calm fear and also panic attacks. Keep an eye out for the next post! As I said above, please remember that you’re not alone and you definitely don’t have to struggle with how to calm anxiety or panic attacks on your own so feel free to comment below or even send me an email.
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