A panic attack can come upon us very quickly.
That feeling of being overwhelmed and being immobilised with a blank mind, where a solution or any rational thought has gone clean out of our head.
It’s a horrible feeling. However, it can be managed.
When we go into a full on panic, we switch from the thinking part of our brain (higher cortex) being in control to the emotional part (amygdala) taking over. From from there it is very hard to access reasoning, problem solving and critical thinking.
The brain mobilises the body into its fight/flight/freeze response and we may feel tense, sick in the stomach, sweaty, lightheaded, and our heart begins racing, as blood is shifted in the body to our arms and legs to get us ready to either fight or run for it.
So we need to calm everything down. We need to slow down our heart rate by breathing slow deep breaths.
We can focus on relaxation strategies by using our muscles – going for a walk, do some gardening, exercising or playing sport.
Be mindful and bring yourself back into the present moment and stop thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, which can break a negative thinking cycle. Ground yourself by noticing things around you with each of your five senses.
Only when we are calm can we utilise thinking strategies, as the thinking part of the brain is now back in control.
Notice what you were thinking about. Ask yourself – Is this thought helping me or hindering me? Is my thinking helping me to achieve my goals? If not, what is another, more realistic way of thinking about the situation?
This all takes practice, but don’t be discouraged. In time you will recognise that you are getting better at manage those big emotions.
If you feel you don’t know why you are feeling overwhelmed or what is triggering your panic attack, seek out a Counsellor or other health professional to help support you through what could be a time of self discovery and realisation.
We can’t control what we are not willing to face.
I know you can do this. There is always hope.
Blue Skies Tomorrow – blueskiestomrrow.com – There is always hope.
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