Since the early 1970’s most doctors and psychologists have recommended a few common ways to stop a panic attack. These recommendations include things such as controlled breathing and image visualization or using distracted thoughts. The truth is while doing either of these may help you to get over or endure an anxiety attack these methods are really just helping you to cope with the attacks – not stop them. To put it into perspective these methods are like in the same as closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.
To really and truly stop a panic attack one has to take measures to prevent them from happening in the first place. Learning what to do before the onset of an attack is what will make the difference of whether you have a panic attack or not.
So what are some of the things you can do to stop a panic attack?
First you must realize that these attacks are not physical or medical related like some doctors and psychologists from 20 years ago would have you to believe. In fact the attacks are a behavioral problem and thus most often triggered by our behavior to circumstances and events in our daily lives.
This is good news; being that the panic and anxiety attacks are linked to behavior means that if we change our patterns of behavior and reactions to stimuli then we can control and even stop the attacks from occurring. In other words if we can learn to change our fear of having an attack if you do have one the experience is more readily and easier dealt with.
How do you lessen the fear of a panic attack?
Four simple steps I’m about to reveal will help you tremendously with this task. These steps are: Observe It – Label It- Watch It and Move On.
Step #1: Observe It
If you think back upon previous panic attacks and what you were doing or were involved in during the attack you may soon notice a developing pattern of what situations or instances may have been a common trigger. Identifying certain instances and environments that you may find yourself in and analyzing them for what they really are will make you aware of the possible trigger to an attack.
Step #2: Label It
After completing step one and identifying triggers now try and label them as to why you may have become uncomfortable and had a panic or anxiety attack. For instance you might label the instance as the fear of being confined or in a large crowd. Even simple things like driving in an area of a unfamiliar city could be labeled as why the attack was triggered. Once you’ve identified common situations or circumstances of a possible trigger it becomes really easy to determine what the main reason for being uncomfortable was.
Step #3: Watch It
OK you’re doing really well now. We’ve learned what events and circumstances to look for and labeled them as to why they may have been a cause. This next step is even easier all we need to do now is take stock in our daily activities and watch for instances when we may be subjected to the triggers. The best way to do this is to keep a daily planner or journal handy. Try and schedule our day so we can be aware of these events ahead of time.
Now what we don’t want to do is to avoid the trigger, that almost as bad as having the panic or anxiety attack in the sense of it limiting our abilities to lead a normal and productive lifestyle. Instead we want to continue with our activities but with the knowledge that we are about to enter a situation where a known trigger exists.
By recognizing the possible triggers and facing them with the full knowledge of the possibility that previous attacks have occurred during them we can begin to eliminate them as we come full face with our behavioral fear of the trigger.
Step #4: Move On
If you’ve gotten this far this step will be easier than you may think. At this point we just want to move on through the event or circumstance as if it will not become a trigger to the attack. If by chance you do start to feel the onset of an attack we can lessen the experience by referring back to steps one and two. In other words we know beforehand that this was a trigger and we why it may be so. Now we just have to rationalize in our mind that we can get through this and it is not going to be a debilitating as before.
By doing these fours steps we can finally relieve our inner tensions and be fueled by thoughts like: “I recognize my tensions and feelings about this.” and “I can deal with this and it does not affect me like it used to.”
You’ll find that by implementing these four steps alone you can lessen or even stop panic attacks much more effectively than before. Your life will no longer be filled with dread as you will become more equipped to deal with situations better than before and ultimately change your behavior towards them.