I used to have to see a therapist because my anxiety was getting way too bad. Fortunately, my health insurance covered the use of Talkspace for no additional cost, and I took full advantage of that. My therapist was so helpful and really changed the way that I look at anxiety. She told me that there are a few things that you should always do when having a panic attack, and I would like to share these with you guys.
- Give your anxiety a name
My anxiety was called Ang. She told me to do this because it convinces your brain that anxiety is a thing and not just a state of mind. Then you can “stand up” to it like you would a bully. I have used this method a few times, mostly to acknowledge that my anxiety is there.
2. Keep exercising no matter what
I walk a ton throughout the day and do my virtual races (see my previous posts). I also go to the gym almost every day. Staying active decreases muscle tension and diverts you from what you are so anxious about. I mean, you can’t really be worrying about something if your doing stadiums lol.
3. Meditate and practice mindfulness
This was a major point that my therapist brought up. Train your mind to be able to cope with things and to be able to calm down in situations where you are anxious. This is a daily activity but so beneficial. I try and meditate right after lunch each day, using my Headspace app. I have seen such a reduction in the severity of my panic attacks and anxious moments. Even last week I prevented a huge panic attack because of meditation. I will have another blog post going over methods to do this so hold on a bit 🙂
4. Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Look this bad boy up on the computer RIGHT NOW! This has saved my life multiple times and I am such a genuine person now because of it. This method focuses on changing cognitive distortions and behaviors by challenging your thoughts. There are so many YouTube videos on this so I won’t get into too much detail, but just know that it works but it takes time. Remember that this is a marathon, not a race.
5. Be kind to yourself
I think this may be the most important thing that you could ever possibly do. We have some really unrealistic expectations of ourselves and beat ourselves up if we don’t meet those expectations. My grad school marathon has been just that and I was miserable. I found that being kind to myself, laughing when I mess up, and being kind to others has helped me become less anxious and happier.
These are just a few of the many methods you can try. I hope that at least one works out for you. Remember, if you have questions about this, message me. I would absolutely love to talk about it.