How to Overcome Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Struggling with anxiety and panic attacks is hard. It has the power to overwhelm you and take over. Everyone experiences different symptoms, but these are some tricks that I’ve learned throughout my years of treatment and experience with anxiety and panic attacks. I hope they help!

  1. Awareness and Acceptance (Mindfulness)This is the newest treatment technique that is being practiced for anxiety and OCD. You need to first acknowledge the anxiety, accept that it’s there, and let it go away on its own. Remember that this anxiety will pass, that you are safe, and that there is nothing wrong with being anxious. Don’t force the anxiety to go away, just use the tools listed below to help the natural process of it subsiding occur.
    1. Breathing Breathing is the best technique for myself and was the go-to advice for many of my doctors. When I feel myself starting to hyperventilate, I know that’s the time to start counting my breaths. I breathe in on a four-count and exhale on a four count.breath..1…2…3…4..exhale..1…2…3…4..This helps relax the body and slow the heart rate. An optional addition to breathing is visualizing. I imagine golden sunlight entering my mouth and spreading through my body and then when I exhale a black smoke comes out of my fingertips and mouth (or nose depending on how you are comfortable breathing….I’m a mouth breather).

      The black smoke is all the negative energy inside me and the golden sunlight is everything good in the world.

      * Edit, I have been told that exhaling for 12 seconds is better! It lowers                      carbon dioxide levels. Will definitely have to try that out! 😀

  2. Relax the body Many people (including myself) tend to tense their body or tap when anxious. I often shake my leg and tighten up. I thought it was the only way to get rid of my anxiety. I felt I needed to release that energy inside me, but I learned that the action of tightening and shaking increases the heart rate and tricks my body into thinking there is a reason to panic. This was a hard habit to stop. This is when I would concentrate on my breathing and visualization that I talked about in step two. It took my mind off the need to move my body. I found that my anxiety passed much faster when I didn’t shake because my mind wasn’t focused on getting rid of the anxiety, it was just allowing it to slowly go away on it’s own.
  3. Play relaxing music I personally tend to play Zen or yoga music when I feel my anxiety coming on. I have a playlist on Spotify for free that I put on shuffle. I let the relaxing sounds fill the room and concentrate on the music. The goal is to keep your mind away from racing thoughts and focus on relaxing the body and mind.
  4. The Body Scan This is a type of meditation that focuses on the sensations of your body. There are many CD’s with body scans, but I tend to use YouTube or Google. This is a type of mindfulness. Like I mentioned in step 4, the goal is to keep the mind away from racing thoughts. To slow down the brain and relax the body the body scan has you focus deeply on what your body is feeling. Many have, you start at your feet and slowly move your way up to your head. It’s a great way to step out of your mind for a while and relax. On those days where you just seem to be extra anxious, it’s a great technique to calm the body and soul. Another way to use the body scan is by doing it every morning for a few minutes to start the day relaxed, or if you tend to have trouble falling asleep at night doing the body scan before bed.This link is a great link to a body scan on youtube. The channel also has other meditations that I’ve enjoyed and worked well.And for a little fun…
  5. Coloring! (Or any arts and craft)

    This is a great way to have a little fun while trying to get your mind off your anxiety. When I was in residential treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital we all loved coloring! I personally type in google images “Adult coloring pages” and print away! It’s nice to have a folder filled with pages you like so when anxious it’s easy to grab and go. Coloring books can be fun as well. I’ve kept some of my favorite coloring pages from Rogers and have them hanging in my room. Honestly, any craft is great for the mind. If you want to get more in-depth than just coloring making collages are very fun and easy. Below is my favorite collage I’ve made which says “Fly High”Fly high.JPG

This list is the main set of tools I use, if you have others that work for you, share them in the comments! Remember, these emotions of panic, fear, and anxiety will pass…even if it takes a while. You’re safe and will be okay.
~Stay Chipper~

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9 thoughts on “How to Overcome Anxiety and Panic Attacks

  1. I think you have done a great job with this list! 🙂 I would just like to add (if that’s ok?), that if you are on the verge of a panic attack, breathing out for 12 seconds automatically levels the amount of carbon dioxide in your brain, instantly calming you. Hope this helps! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really good list! I’ve tried body scans, but they’re hard to do. I’ll try the link you shared later. I would add that any music is good, as long as you try to focus on it, because it’s impossible for our brains to be anxious while listening to music.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Chelsea, I miss your smiles and positive attitude. How are things going with you? Are you still in school? I think we should plan on getting together sometime and catch up:) We could meet half way or something. I loved your post on How to Overcome Anxiety, I’m a foot tapper and wiggler. I’m going to forward this to my daughter, I think she’ll like it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim! Oh I miss you too. I find myself thinking about everyone I’ve met through my Rogers experience almost every day. I am still in school I graduate from college next year and am pretty sure I will be going on for my masters if not doctorates. I’ve been doing amazing and feel like I’m on top of the world! I would love to meet with you and catch up! That would be amazing! How have you been doing?


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