Maintaining control during an anxiety attack may seem as impossible as harnessing a tornado, but you do have some power over your own mind and body. When the emotional and physical stresses of anxiety attacks occur, you have a choice to make: You can either let panic set in or you can work on keeping calm by practicing certain mental exercises.
Breathe and Visualize
Anxiety episodes challenge your body’s natural processes, and the first to be affected is your breathing. When you’re anxious, you may breathe more shallowly or subconsciously hold your breath. This can exacerbate your fear of losing control. To initiate a mind-body relaxation mode, practice square breathing, which is repeatedly inhaling and exhaling slowly for four counts each.
Another way to soothe your senses is through calming visualizations. Imagine yourself in a situation you thoroughly enjoy, such as relaxing on a beach or standing outside during a light snowfall. Picture every sensation you may feel during those moments. This will redirect your emotions and thoughts away from the anxiety symptoms.
Accept and Trust
Anxiety is just an emotional response, and it’s more tolerable than you think. Like any other feeling, it’ll pass. The key is accepting that your mind is tricking you into panicking. Rather than falling down the what-if well, focus on the present and decide if it’s really as bad as you imagine. When you start worrying about potential issues, take a pause, and allow yourself to come up with a plan for handling specific problems.
If it’s difficult to accept what your body is experiencing, try simply trusting yourself. Anxiety overrides logic, so concentrate on the fact that you have overcome many things in life already. Use these positive affirmations to alter the picture in your frenzied mind. Combine the constructive thoughts with yoga and meditation to quiet any alarms your brain sends during an attack.
The main thing to remember during anxiety attacks is that you have the choice to remain calm. It just takes practice, commitment and even some faith. These mental exercises work because they change the way the brain processes sensations and assigns emotions. You can be uncomfortable, but you don’t have to be so reactive to anxiety. Whenever you feel flustered, try a couple of these techniques. You may be surprised at how much authority over your body you actually have.