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Psychologically a panic attack is challenging because it make us feel out of control. The more out of control you feel, the worse the panic will be. In order to combat this, you want to have some ways to remind yourself that you do in fact have some control of your physical and emotional arousal.

Your first defense will be remembering to change your breathing. If you can change this, you have direct evidence that you have some control of the situation.

Your next step is to think about what steps you can take to gain even more control. Just like you do in problem solving, think of options you can use to take more control when panic is building.

For example, some people find that being active like going for a walk in or around your home, office, or school can actually help you feel better. Simply getting up and going to get a drink of water might be helpful. If you are driving, and if it is safe to pull off the road, do that and focus on your breathing or listen to some music in the car until you feel back in control.

Certain mental exercises can help when panic is building. Sometimes you can gain more control and short circuit fearful thoughts by mentally doing something incompatible with negative thoughts.

For example, try to count backwards from 140 by subtracting 7 until you get to 0. Or you can try to spell backwards  "Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream" or any other short phrase you choose.

The main point here is to generate some proactive problem solving steps and think of behavioral and mental strategies that you believe will help restore a sense of control.
Then, when you begin to have any signs of panic building, use those steps to give yourself more control of the situation. This will be a much better approach than waiting until you are in a panic attack to do your problem solving at that time.

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