1. Breathe deeply and fully into a large brown paper bag. This regulates the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your lungs. It can be especially useful during a panic attack.
2. Think positive thoughts! It sounds simple, but happy thoughts are essential in your journey of recovery! Your attitude can really impact your emotions.
3. Count backwards from 10. It can really take your mind off your worries and anxieties and can stop the unhealthy cycle of negative thoughts if you’re having a panic attack.
4. Count anything! Count how many colours are in a painting. How many cars are driving past, how many people have black hair etc. Count money, count buttons. All of these things can distract you from the panic that might be going on inside you.
5. Be MINDFUL! This is extremely beneficial for anxiety sufferers. Live for the moment. Be aware of the ‘here and now’. Concentrate on the sights you see, the things you feel, what you smell, hear, taste etc. Really focus on these things – it will make your life so much more enjoyable!
6. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – an emotional, needle free version of acupuncture that is based on new discoveries regarding the connection between your body’s subtle energies, your emotions, and your health. EFT has been reported successful in thousands of cases covering a huge range of emotional, health and performance issues. It often works where nothing else will. Click here.
7. Play video games. It is a great way to occupy your mind so that you’re not focussing on negative thinking patterns.
8. Sing to your favourite music. Even if you’re breathless, it seems to all level out and become stable. Breathe through your diaphragm whilst you do sing. It is the healthiest way to breathe.
9. Step away from the computer, it usually doesn’t help. And as tempting as it is, try not to label your disorder too much. When you read up on things too much, you can become convinced that you are suffering from it. Never self diagnose yourself.
10. Heating pads. Get one. It’s good for the chest and will make breathing easier. If you can’t get hold of one, try a hot bath. The heat will free up your chest and the water will relax you.
11. If you feel your heartbeat racing, sit down and hang your head to your knees, and slow down your breathing. If you can’t do that, just focus on breathing slowly.
12. Be mindLESS. Think of something so far off in fantasyland, until you’re basically mumbling to yourself in thoughts, hardly paying notice to either them OR your body.
13. If you can, get a doctor to listen to your lungs, get bloodwork, etc. Basically, have a check up with your doctor to make sure everything is fine. Make sure you’re not malnourished and that you’re perfectly healthy. One less thing to stress about.
14. Get the necessary amount of sleep that your body and your brain needs. If you are deprived of sleep, you are less likely to be able to handle tough situations. Teenagers should get 9 and a half hours sleep every night.
15. If you are in the middle of a panic attack, placing a cold compress or wash cloth on the back of your neck can help as it instantly takes your mind off the panic you’re feeling.
16. Try muscle relaxation regularly. Click here for a detailed script If you practice this daily, it can help you to recognise when your muscles tense up so you can release them more quickly.
17. “Music sways the human soul.” Listen to music when you’re feeling anxious. It will help distract you. Perhaps try putting some relaxation music onto your iPod or mp3 player like nature sounds to calm you.
18. Identify the problem, give your feelings shape and form, focus on it – and repeat to yourself that you “completely and fully accept yourself” until you get a feeling of calm and emptiness. Then, literally – let the sunshine in. Feel it warming your limbs and diminishing that shape or form you identified. Soon, your troubles will melt away and you will feel balanced and calm.
19. Try smiling. If you find myself stressing out, force yourself to smile. It really seems to help. Also, every day try to think of at least one thing that makes you happy or grateful.
20. Walk. It doesn’t have to be far, but if you’re prone to holing up in your room frequently or don’t have a space of your own at home, walking helps. Grab your mp3 player, and just go out for a bit. Or do it in silence if that helps you more. The important thing is to change your surroundings slightly while engaging your body in some sort of physical activity.
21. HUGS! Give them, receive them! It makes us all feel better.
22. Keep a journal. I don’t mean blogging…I mean actual pen-to-paper journaling. Keep a journal and a pen in your bag and write out what’s bothering you, jot down something to make yourself laugh, or doodle. You’ll find that it helps to center your thoughts when you start to panic.