Anti-panic tips

Here are a few easy anxiety relieving activities that I’ve used to work myself down from having a full blown panic attack.

1. Take note of the time.

  • I usually look at the stove or microwave (since I’m most often in the kitchen, also my place is so small that no matter where I am the stove is nearby :). Then say to yourself, “If this doesn’t get worse over the next 10 minutes, I know it’s just anxiety and nothing serious.” If you can stand being uncomfortable for 10 minutes you are well on your way to overcoming anxiety and saying goodbye to panic attacks.

2. Count your breathing.

  • Follow these steps:
    • 1. Count to 4 as you inhale.
    • 2. Count to 4 as you pause between inhalation and exhalation.
    • 3. Count to 4 as you exhale.
    • 4. Count to 4 as you pause between exhalation and inhalation.

*There’s nothing magical about the number 4, if it doesn’t work for you choose a number that does.

3. Get some cold air on your face.

  • When I have moments of intense anxiety, I often find that feeling cold air on my face (and body) helps me feel more grounded, more connected to this world.
  • Also, from a traditional Chinese medicine point of view, feelings of anxiety (heart racing, sweating, etc…) are yang and the antidote for rampant yang energy is yin energy (cool, slow, etc…) – this also explains why the cold air theory works.

4. Focus on someone else.

  • If I start to feel anxious when I’m at home with my son, I will divert my attention totally to him and focus on something like singing him a song or changing his diaper. I find something as simple as shifting your focus from yourself to another can dampen the experience of anxiety and thus help it resolve more quickly.