How to Stop a Panic Attack in its Tracks

 

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know how scary they can feel. Panic attacks can make you feel like time is moving very fast and yet very slow at the same time. Your heart feels like it may beat right out of your chest, and breathing feels impossible because you’re hyperventilating and can’t catch your breath. You feel paralyzed with fear and freeze up, trying to protect yourself from your panic.

Panic attacks are different than general anxiety because of how intense they are. When your brain goes into panic attack mode, it turns off the logical part of your brain in order to pour all its energy into fight or flight. That’s why saying “calm down” doesn’t always help! Panic isn’t logical. It’s chemical!

Fortunately, there are many ways to stop a panic attack in its tracks. Here are some skills to try if you find yourself in the midst of a panic attack.

[Related: 10 Tips to Help Someone with Anxiety]

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Social Anxiety Survival Guide: 8 Hot Tips to Keep your Cool on 4th of July

Social Anxiety Survival Guide: 8 Hot Tips to Keep your Cool on 4th of July

Happy Friday! It’s 4th of July Weekend– one of my favorite holidays of the year! I love the food, the weather, and most of all, the fireworks!

Every year, we get together with my husband’s family for a big 4th of July party complete with lots of barbeque food, swimming, family, and of course, a grand finale of fireworks. Since mortar fireworks became legal in Michigan, our firework shows have gotten pretty spectacular. And at the end of the night, we wind down with a bonfire and camping on my in-laws’ 114-acres.

Truth be told, going to these parties used to really trigger my social anxiety. I love my family and always have a great time, but my brain likes to try to convince me that I’m going to be exceptionally awkward. I used to have thoughts like “what if they don’t like me?” or “what if I have nothing to say?”

Over time, I became more comfortable (and embraced my awkwardness.) Today I’m sharing some of my best tips for overcoming social anxiety this 4th of July!

[Related: 10 Tips to Help Someone with Anxiety]

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The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude

The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude

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When I was in college, a professor of mine used to preach to us about the power of gratitude and encouraged us to express thankfulness in our everyday lives. I found it SO cheesy at the time. Anytime he would ask us to complete a gratitude exercise, it made me cringe. It felt forced because I didn’t feel like I had very much to be thankful for.

When I was in college, I struggled with depression and anxiety. It felt impossible for me to find things to be grateful for unless they were very big things like acing an exam, or seeing my boyfriend-now-husband. I was at a point in my life where I (admittedly) felt entitled. That’s sort of painful to say out loud. What’s worse, however, is that I had no idea at the time that I felt that entitled at all! (Self awareness is a beautiful thing, people!)

Seven years post-graduation, I see that I had an enormous amount of things to be thankful for. I was going to a prestigious private university, which my parents helped pay for,  I traveled abroad, and I worked with professors who mentored me and challenged me. I say none of this to brag but to show how these major privileges I had in my early 20s went unnoticed. It also makes me sad to think about how grateful I could have been for all that I was given if only I paid attention.

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10 Tips to Help Someone with Anxiety

Before I learned how to manage my anxiety, a part of me wished that there was a guidebook for my friends and family on how to help someone with anxiety. Having anxiety can make a person feel incredibly helpless and out of control. Oftentimes, a person with anxiety knows that their fears are irrational, but anxiety doesn’t work like that. It likes to make a person feel like the world is ending! Panic attacks can make a person feel like they’re dying. This was all true for me. Unfortunately, I got a lot of bad advice from people over the years, like “You just need to calm down,” or “you’re being unreasonable.” Of course I knew I was being unreasonable and calming down was exactly what I wanted to do! But when an anxious brain is in overdrive, it can be nearly impossible to think about things logically. This kind of feedback can, over time, lead an anxious person to feel ashamed and even crazy.

Over time, I learned how to manage my anxiety better. I also learned how to help other people help me. Now, panic attacks are few and far between. I think about how much easier my life would have been if I would have had some specific strategies to share with my friends and family in order to help me better! Today, I’m sharing some of the best tips to help someone with anxiety. For those of you who struggle with anxiety, feel free to share these ideas with your support network to better help you!

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Mindful Mondays Series Part Three: Mindfulness for Self-Confidence

Mindful Mondays Series Part Three: Mindfulness for Self-Confidence

Happy Monday! Lately, every day of the week has felt like Monday for me. I’ve been sapped of energy and motivation and in turn, I’ve noticed that I have been lacking confidence. I know I’m not alone in this. A few of my friends have also been talking about how they’re also doubting their abilities and, as a result, are doubting themselves.

Normally for me, a weekend is just what I need to give my brain a break from the self-doubt, but every once in a while, Monday comes along and I’m already questioning myself. Am I doing enough? Am I cut out for this? Lately I’ve been noticing that I answer those questions with  self-defeating conclusions.

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What Wonder Woman Teaches about Female Empowerment

What Wonder Woman Teaches about Female Empowerment

I went to see Wonder Woman in theaters on Saturday. Have you seen it yet? I had my hopes set pretty high because I’m a big fan of superhero movies, and all week I heard a lot of hype about the film on the radio and from friends. As expected, the movie was amazing, the cast was great, and I was left surprised in the end. I was also pleasantly impressed at the sheer number of empowerment themes in the film. Wonder Woman had both great story telling and a great message, particularly for women. As I was stuffing my face with popcorn (is there really a graceful way to eat it? Thank goodness the lights were off!), I was excitedly planning this article for you, talking about the inspiring lessons from the movie!

Before we jump into the girl power stuff, I’ll tell you a bit about the film. Don’t worry– I won’t spoil it!

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Mindful Mondays Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

Mindful Monday Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

Welcome back to my Mindful Monday Series! If you haven’t had a chance to check out the rest of the Mindful Monday series, check out last week’s post here!

Technology is pretty amazing right? We have wearable technology that tracks everything from our steps to our heart rate. We have apps to remind us to drink water and when to go to bed. I have a love-hate relationship with wearable tech. It has made much of my life more convenient and helped me become more mindful about lifestyle choices. But I, like many others, have at times become too reliant on technology to monitor how I am feeling. People are forgetting the art of listening to their bodies to tell them what they need.

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How this One Word is Destroying your Self-Esteem

How this ONE WORD is Destroying your Self-Esteem

Lots of people struggle with low self-esteem and don’t even realize how they got to that point. A few months ago, I was chatting with a coworker of mine as we were getting ready to host a therapy group. (For those of you who don’t know, I am a mental health counselor by day!) As I was stuffing my face with veggies, I told my coworker friend, “I need to stop eating!”

“Want.” she said.

“What?”

“You WANT to stop eating.”

A light bulb went off in my head. Who says I need to stop eating? Nobody. But I didn’t want to be miserably full, so I wanted to stop eating to save myself the pain. The way that I was talking about my behavior could have easily affected the way that I felt about myself and I didn’t even realize I was doing it!

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Mindful Monday Series Part One: What is Mindfulness?

Introduction to Mindfulness

“Mindfulness” has become a buzzword in the last several years. Lots of people have heard it but few know how to be mindful. So let’s start with what mindfulness is NOT in order to better describe what it is!

Mindfulness is NOT:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Clearing your mind
  • Overthinking
  • Thinking positively
  • Inherently religious

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the moment on purpose and without judgement. How many of you are like me and can be quick to judge an experience as either good or bad? I say “good OR bad” because you can be unmindful and positive at the same time. Confusing right? Well, not really. At the basis of being mindful is simply noticing or observing your own experiences.

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