Anxiety rears its ugly head in the form of a panic attack. Learn some useful tips on how to distract yourself out of it.
Panic attacks are awful things. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy, to be honest. If you’ve had one, you know what they’re like. Most of the time you want feel like you’re dying and it can be really hard getting focused.
Most of the time you want feel like you’re dying and it can be really hard getting focused.
If you want some detailed information on panic attacks themselves, read this useful PDF that has been published. It’s got sections on behaviours and thoughts too which you might find interesting.
It’s got sections on behaviours and thoughts too which you might find interesting.
The same goes for when you are around someone having a panic attack. It can be just as terrifying for you as it is for them. It’s like you SO want to help them but there is little you can do. That in itself is a worrying thought.
It’s like you SO want to help them but there is little you can do. That in itself is a worrying thought.
But, I’m here to help!
I’ve found really good techniques that work for me. Now I’m not saying this will work for you. The thing with anxiety is that it affects everyone very differently. That means that although we may feel panic attacks, yours will be very different to mine.
That means that although we may feel panic attacks, yours will be very different to mine.
Heck, you may not even suffer from panic attacks but have anxiety sprees often. This is for you. Use it to either help you or others around you. It might be what you need!
Read over this post now and see how you feel about it.
Plus, I’ve included a really useful printable to go with it! Download it to your heart’s content and stick it somewhere that’ll help you.
Use it at times of crisis or keep it in your bag to help lower your anxiety levels.
Okay, how can you use a distraction to help panic attacks?
Accept you’re about to/are having a panic attack
Panic attacks bring up a whole range of emotions. Most of the time we try and fight the panic attack which can actually make things worse.
Not only do you panic about having a panic attack, you can feel frustration and anger towards yourself.
This isn’t helpful when you’re in the throes of such an emotional state.
By accepting that it is about to happen means you’ll accept the situation. Rather than trying to force it away and ignore it, consider why you’re having one in the first place.
What brought it on? Why? Is it getting worse or better right now?
Try and think rationally. Panic attacks are moments of extreme anxiety and stress so you might find this difficult to start off with.
Consider all of the above options to help you gain a bit of clarity on the situation. This will distract you from the panic attack in hand and take your mind off it.
After much practice, it’ll get easier. I’m at the stage now where I can feel it coming on and take steps to stop it.
Talk to someone
Panic attacks can be a lonely experience. Oftentimes you can be on your own trying to deal with the situation. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a housemate/partner/family member in the house.
If you think you’re about to have a panic attack, go find them. Spark up a conversation about something trivial.
You might find it hard concentrating on speaking to them at first, but the more effort you put into it, the easier it will get.
Some things you could talk about could include what you would do with 1 million pounds/dollars. Or you could talk about something in the news. Maybe you could talk about a good book you’ve read recently.
Maybe you could talk about a good book you’ve read recently.
All of these questions can help you distract yourself away from the panic attack. All of the above are completely unrelated to negative thoughts. This will surely help you bring yourself back to the present moment.
This will surely help you bring yourself back to the present moment.
My partner actually once told me to imagine I was in a bubble and I could have anything I wanted. This was a great way to change my thought process back to something nice rather than something horrible.
This was a great way to change my thought process back to something nice rather than something horrible.
If you don’t have someone close to you right now, do some of these:
– Go on instant messenger on your phone and chat to someone
– Find someone on Facebook and talk to them.
– Call a friend
– Start up a conversation on Twitter
– Comment on some photos on Instagram
– Look for some blogs that you can comment on
– Join a forum and ask for a chat/help
All of the above are ways to keep your mind busy and away from the panic attack. You’ll find yourself focused on this and not on yourself and your mind.
Forgot your printable?
Start writing like right now
The best therapy for me is writing. I cannot shout out enough about the benefits it has on anxiety, and how great it is for distraction.
If you’re feeling particularly anxious right now and are worried about having a panic attack, grab a notebook. Or just anything you can grab right now to write some things down.
It could be an open envelope, a letter, or on your phone/computer/laptop.
Just as long as you know you’ll get some use out of whichever way you choose.
Now you have something to write on/in, just start writing. You could start with things you enjoy. You could write about a film you enjoyed recently and why.
Keep all of your writings positive. I want you to focus 100% on it too as it can be hard concentrating in these situations. Plus, the harder you try, the better it will be for you.
Other ideas you could write about could be your favourite animal. Maybe even your favourite place to visit?
The longer you carry on, the better the distraction. Not only is it taking your mind away from the panic attack, it is bringing your mind into positivity rather than negativity.
Go for a walk
You might be thinking, “Are you crazy, Jess?!?! I can’t possibly get myself out the house right now!”
I understand. Really I do! You probably think you are a blubbering embarrassing mess right now. That’s a normal thought, by the way! This is how my brain works at least.
But forcing yourself outside of the house and taking a walk might be good. Even if it’s just to your garden, it might help you distract yourself.
If you think this might be too hard right now, think about being outside instead. That’ll keep your mind distracted just the same as actually going outside. Consider the points I talk about below.
If you manage to make it into your garden or outside, look around you. What do you see? What can you smell? How noisy is it? What colours catch your eye? Is there something that draws your attention?
What colours catch your eye? Is there something that draws your attention?
Think about how the ground feels on your feet too. Try and use all of your senses. This is such a great way to bring your mind back to the present and keep you grounded.
Not only will you feel better quickly, it’ll help lower your anxiety and stress levels.
Focus on your breathing
Breathing is probably the first step towards a panic attack. It’s the first thing that I notice when I’m about to have a panic attack.
It can become hard to breathe and it can feel like you aren’t getting enough air. Your chest might be tight and your body will ache.
A great way to distract yourself from a panic attack is by focusing on your breathing.
Again this might be very difficult when you can feel it coming on/are having one.
But what I’d like you to try and think about is your breathing. You will be able to feel your chest going up and down. You might be able to hear the air going in and out of your lungs.
If so, focus on it right now. Think about how your chest feels when it goes up and down. Your aim is to get it to slow down if you feel like you’re breathing fast.
Put all of your concentration into it as well, as hard as it might be.
Some posts you might find useful:
A letter to The Woman with Anxiety + FREE Printable!
Guest Post: How to Deal with, and Move on From Anxiety
What is Social Anxiety and Do You Suffer From It? Read This Now to Find Out
The Ultimate Resource On Writing to Help Your Anxiety
Things to remember:
– You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. You can beat panic attacks!
– Distraction is fantastic at taking your mind of stress and anxiety.
– You are stronger than you think you are, and you aren’t a blubbering mess!
– You can control anxiety, rather than it controlling you.
By the way, if you find this post useful, why not join my FREE 7-day eCourse now? It’s there to help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed: