Dealing With Anxiety Attacks: Getting Anxiety Attack Relief
Dealing with anxiety attacks may seem daunting at first, but many people can overcome the unhealthy thought processes and behaviors that cause their normal, everyday anxiety to develop into a full-blown anxiety attack. Keep in mind; we're talking about anxiety attacks here, not panic attacks. The term panic attack, often incorrectly used interchangeably with the term anxiety attack, refers to a more severe subcategory of anxiety disorders that involve more complex negative behaviors and thought pathways than anxiety attacks.
Strategies for Anxiety Attack Relief
Depending on the severity of the attacks, many people can find anxiety attack relief without seeking professional help. You may find that practicing new thinking strategies, when faced with anxiety provoking situations, will eventually bring you long-term relief.
If you try these tips numerous times and still find you have issues with anxiety that adversely affects your life, you can always seek professional medical help. But, if your attacks seem mild to moderate, and don't seem to cause you to spiral out of control, why not try the following tips?
Don't Think – A Strategy for Dealing with Anxiety Attacks
It's counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways of dealing with anxiety attacks is to not think about having one. If you know that a particular circumstance always, or usually, causes you to become anxiety-ridden, stop thinking about the possibility of having an anxiety attack. Frequently, thinking about the possibility of having an attack can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy and actually bring on an episode.
For example, imagine that you know that speaking in front of a group of people makes you so anxious that you need to visit the men's room to vomit, or maybe it causes you to tremble visibly and break out in a cold sweat. Consequently, your boss, whom you're hoping will soon give you a raise, tells you that you are to speak in front of visiting company executives at the luncheon that afternoon. You can agonize and worry over the upcoming event and allow yourself to sink into the downward spiral you know so well, or you can take control of your thoughts and push that negative thought pattern away. Everyone feels anxious before speaking in front of a group of important people and peers. Talk rationally to yourself about the event; refuse to engage in self-dialogue about your anxiety.
Think about the worst thing that could possibly happen outside of anything having to do with anxiety or worry. You could get to the podium and freeze, you could begin what was a promising speech and stutter and stumble through it, you could cry up there (granted, a pretty bad outcome), you could start to sing or tell jokes and stay off topic until your boss waves you down (probably a recipe for unemployment), or you could give a stellar speech that wows the crowd.
Even if the worst of your imagined possibilities happen, you still own the outcome. It doesn't own you. And there's a possibility that you'll give a great speech. Even if you get up there and tell jokes until your pink slip arrives, you own it. Anxiety does not. You'll gain personal power and strength no matter the outcome.
Think – A Strategy for Dealing with Anxiety Attacks
Think – for dealing with anxiety attacks, but not before the attack as with the strategy above, but during an attack. When in the throes of a full-blown attack, you're already in the grip of excessive worry, your heart pounds, you may feel cold beads of sweat forming even though the room is cool, and you may feel as if you'll vomit.
It's hard to think rationally with all this inner turmoil happening, but healing comes from facing challenges, hard ones, head-on. Pull on your desire to defeat anxiety and its grip on your life and think about your feelings as normal to the extent that you control them. If the anxious feelings incapacitate you and threaten your ability to function, you are not in control of them and the feelings have reached a place where normal doesn't live.
Even rock stars feel nervous before they go on stage in front of their adoring crowds. The famed Ted Nugent, one of the most talented guitarists and performers of his era, claims he sometimes threw up before going on stage because he feared he would disappoint his fans.
So, with Nugent in mind, think about one anxious physical symptom that you (since you are in control) will allow to stay. Throw up if you must or keep a handkerchief handy if you decide that sweat is the symptom you will allow this time. All other physical symptoms and excessive thoughts must leave. You have the power to send them away. It will take practice and you may backslide at first, but you'll get the hang of it. Become the ruler of your body and your thoughts.
Next Step – Gain an Arsenal of Anxiety Attack Relief Tools
Take up yoga; go to a class that teaches meditative breathing, ask a clergyman to help you learn spiritual meditation. Practice the relaxation and meditative techniques you learn from these experiences daily – like brushing your teeth – and say goodbye to unhealthy anxiety attacks and yes to life.
Additional Anxiety Attack Information
- What is an Anxiety Attack? Anxiety Attack Symptoms
- Anxiety Attack Treatment
- How to Stop an Anxiety Attack
- How to Prevent Anxiety Attacks
- Can You Cure an Anxiety Attack?
Last Updated: 29 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD