Some of the Best Tips for How to Stop an Anxiety Attack. Right Now.
So, let’s dive right in because there’s a chance you’re in need, right? Whether you are suffering from an anxiety attack or feel one coming on, it’s totally normal to feel this way. It sucks – but everyone has levels of anxiety. What we want to do is find the best ways/tips that work for you to help you keep off an anxiety attack at all costs.
That said, our best efforts can sometimes fail. There can be triggers we do not account for and all of a sudden… here we go into full-on panic mode. That tightness in your chest, increased breathing, mind racing kinda feeling? Yeah, we know what that’s like.
So, whether it’s at night or during the day, here are 6 tips for how you can stop an anxiety attack that is already happening… and fast!
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and are purely speaking from personal experience. These are things that have helped us during anxiety attacks. If you suffer from anxiety, please consult a medical professional for any questions and concerns.
This is an easy one but one that is so important. You need to focus on your breathing. You need to make sure you are taking in deep, meaningful breaths. Regulating your breathing can help slow your speeding pulse almost instantly – and it helps your body better gauge what kind of struggle you are in.
Plus, breathing properly and deeply gets you more oxygen – something your brain needs to process what is going and to adequately handle what you are feeling. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4, breathe out for 4 seconds. Repeat as needed. We talk more about the importance of breathing in our other post on coping strategies for anxiety on a long-term basis.
We have already talked about some helpful mantras for calming the mind. Having a repeatable go-to set of words is important for focusing on a task as well as self-reassurance. The trick is to find a word set that resonates with you on a personal, emotional, and spiritual level. One of Bruce’s favorites was always “That cave is not meant for you”.
For Bruce, this meant that he was peering down a dark cave with a lantern but would not enter it. The cave was his mind and the darkness was always the tangled web of worry that was hard to escape. Some days, you aren’t meant to walk down that cave. So acknowledge that the entrance is very close by… but wander elsewhere. It’s that simple. You don’t have to feel it today. You are in control.
A super powerful tool Bruce used when he would feel his chest tightening was visualization. There are endless things that you can think of – scenes, patterns, movements in your mind. They all have different merits and values for your own brain – you just have to figure out which one is best.
Bruce’s was always like this: Imagine a bunch of green rolling hills with blue sky on the horizon. From right to left, he would let a puffy white cloud enter the blue sky and blow across the scene in his mind. As the cloud was passing, he visualized pushing the negative thoughts and energy into the cloud, filling it as it floated by.
Once the cloud was full, he would speed up the wind and send it off into the distance of the scene in his mind. He would repeat as needed filling new clouds until the tightness in his chest was gone. Once it worked the first time, it worked 97% of the time after that for years. Try it out or find your own!
Engaging in vigorous exercise is another good way to stop an anxiety attack. One of the mechanisms for this is simply because you are putting a greater physical stressor on your body and your mind focuses on it for the time being. Once you begin exercising, other mechanisms kick in like endorphin release. All these together can have a powerful effect on reducing and eliminating anxiety.
Rowing, running, cycling – these are all good high-intensity exercises that can put your body through stress (safely) and quickly to forget about what’s going on in your mind. If you like hiking and live near the woods, there are benefits to hiking as well since you include the therapeutic side of nature in there!
As much as our phones enslave us, they also connect us – and they can hold tools that can help us when we are in need, too. There are plenty of great apps for breathing techniques or practicing yoga, mindfulness, or de-stress sessions right on your phone wherever you are.
Lots of these sessions are focus-based to make sure that your anxiety doesn’t spin out of control. Headspace is one such useful mindfulness app out there and it can help keep anxiety at bay and stop it from even ramping up.
If you are having an anxiety attack, one of the best things that you can do is to talk through your feelings. Talking to someone like a friend, counselor, or help phone in your community or country are all great ideas.
Often, thinking through the ideas/thoughts logically makes them less scattered in your head and you can pinpoint exactly what the trigger was this time so as to avoid it or deal with it next time. Word vomit if you have to – just get those words off your chest and you will physically feel the tightness lessening.
And there you have it – 6 ways to stop an anxiety attack. In the end, these will work differently for everyone. Some will work right away while others won’t. That’s okay – just try something else. You’ll get it – and you aren’t alone in having those feelings! Get in touch and tell us which of these tips worked for you – we’d love to hear if you want to share. Get us @boardandlife on Twitter or email us!
As always, Stay Curious,
Pin it for later!