How to Cope with Anxiety Attacks

Feeling anxious can help to motivate us and to focus on important things; it can also help us to avoid potentially dangerous situations. However, when the feelings of anxiety are too powerful, and they culminate in an anxiety attack, the effect can be debilitating and very frightening. The following are some useful tips on how to cope with anxiety attacks:
First of all you should acknowledge that anxiety is completely normal and the fact that you feel anxious does not mean that there is anything wrong or abnormal with you. Realizing this is an important step in dealing with anxiety attacks. Another pre-emptive aspect of coping with anxiety attacks is to try to avoid them in the first place. Do this by avoiding their stimulus, i.e., avoid those situations in life which make you feel anxious. Do not do things which you don’t want to do or feel that they are not right. Do not burden yourself with too much work and committing yourself to more than you can handle. Learn to say no.
An important aspect of coping with anxiety attacks is to rationalize your thinking and to control negative thoughts which often come up during, or just before, an anxiety attack. For example, when you fail at something, do you tend to start recalling all the times in your life when you failed, and consequently feel that you are ‘a failure’? If this happens to you, remember that you have also had successes in your life and everyone has ups and downs.
Are your anxiety attacks related to the future? If yes, try to live more in the present moment and realise that the future may turn out very differently than what you envisage. In other words, the problem you are worrying about may never materialize.
One of the most effective methods to cope with an anxiety attack and stop it is to distract yourself from the negative or anxious thoughts. Concentrate on something else, e.g. count the passing cars or do some mental mathematics. A great way to distract yourself is to get physically active – do some jumping jacks, pushups, or go for a jog. Exercise has the added benefit that it dissipates physical tension and releases calming hormones into our blood.
If you suffer from frequent anxiety attacks, it may be helpful to join a relaxation class, where you’ll be thought how to relax mentally and how to cope with the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks. For example, during an anxiety attack many people will breathe faster, but this makes the symptoms worse. Instead, you should keep your breathing slow and regular.
Social support is also very helpful for coping with anxiety attacks, especially if these are frequent or a triggered by a specific recurring situation, such as a bad relationship. Talking to a trusted friend or family member can be very calming and will help you to get your anxious emotions off your chest.