5 Ways to Calm Down an Anxiety Attack

5 Ways to Calm Down an Anxiety Attack

Today, anxiety is more prevalent than ever. According to the National Council on Social Anxiety and Self-Concept, approximately 21% of Americans over the age of 18 experience some form of anxiety each year. 

This strong sense of worry can come at the worst possible times. 

For example, you may feel anxious before a job interview, presentation, or stressful social situation

. However, you may also experience anxiety as a symptom of another condition, such as depression or another anxiety disorder.

Anxiety attacks are sudden, intense feelings of fear, dread, and nervousness. 

They usually strike without warning and last from a few minutes to a few hours. 

It is important to note that these attacks are not a sign of something more serious. 

In most cases, they will subside on their own once the trigger disappears. 

However, it can be difficult to know when to trust our feelings. In that case, we'll explore some helpful tips for calming down an anxiety attack.

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Step Back and Take a Breath

When you feel an attack coming on, it can help to take a step back and take a deep breath.

It is important to remember that anxiety attacks are usually not serious.

Try to avoid thinking about the potential consequences of the attack.

Slowing your breathing will calm your parasympathetic nervous system. 

If you can, try to put on a song that calms and soothes you while you sit in a chair and practice mindful breathing. 

Even a couple of minutes of mindful breathing will be able to reset the flight or fight response that has taken over.

Make Peace With Your Thoughts

Most of the time, anxiety is a result of negative self-talk. 

We look at our thoughts and wonder why we are feeling the way we are. 

The first step in calming down anxiety is to make peace with your thoughts. 

It's normal to have anxious thoughts from time to time, but it is how you react to them that can make all the difference.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings without judging them. 

Try saying "I am having the thought that I don't know what I want for dinner tonight and that feels really uncomfortable for me" or "I feel sad about my friend moving away next week, and I wish I could stop worrying about it". 

Practice viewing your thoughts from a third-person perspective. 

Once you realize that you are the consciousness that is observing your thoughts, then you come to understand you are separate from the thoughts themselves. 

You are simply an observer. 

The Strategy of Thought Awareness

Anxiety is often caused by thinking too much. 

By practicing thought awareness, you can learn to become aware of your thoughts and how they are impacting your emotional state. 

It may be difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined when an anxiety attack strikes. 

The best way to get through these moments is to try calming yourself down.

A good strategy for this method is to use a mantra or short phrase that you repeat in your head until you start feeling better. 

For example, repeating "It's going to be okay" can be a helpful mantra during these times. 

You should also try challenging your negative thoughts by following them with positive ones. 

This can have the effect of energizing rather than depleting you. 

Go For a Walk

The first step to getting through an anxiety attack is to step away from the situation. 

Walking or driving can often help reduce the stress that is causing the anxiety attack in the first place.

If you're feeling particularly anxious, try to go outside and walk around. 

Fresh air can do wonders when it comes to calming down. 

If you have a nearby park with trees and plants, this will also allow you to feel more grounded.

Walking therapy is a combination of meditation and exercise.  

And is totally free!  

It just requires you to step out for a walk and allow your mind to focus on the external world, rather than on your internal conflict. 

Try Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a popular alternative to conventional medicines. 

Studies have shown that it can reduce anxiety and other emotional symptoms of depression. 

Simply find an essential oil that appeals to you and smell it throughout the day. 

Aromatherapy can be a powerful way to engage our other senses. 

Our sense of smell is a direct link to our emotions and can have a powerful impact on our mood. 

Scents can be uplifting and calming, pleasurable and soothing.  

There are many essential oils and combinations that are well suited to anxiety. 

Similarly, if you have a favorite cologne or perfume that brings you joy, you can use it throughout the day to alter your mood.

Conclusion

It's important to know what triggers your anxiety so that you can find a way to make yourself feel calmer.

If you experience anxiety attacks often, plan ahead for your next one.  

Decide which strategy you will use, or even employ a combination of techniques. 

It can be difficult to think clearly once an anxiety attack is already occurring.  

However, if you have your toolkit ready to go, you can respond with immediate action to quickly lower your anxiety level.

Lastly, talking with others who have the same experience can be very cathartic.  

Find someone you can trust and confide in.

If your anxiety attacks are severely impacting your daily life, seek professional help from a trusted therapist who can identify ways to overcome your struggles. 

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