Coping with Panic Attacks
Learn some basic breathing techniques for coping with panic attacks and reducing anxiety.
When we are having a panic attack we hyperventilate (rapid breathing or over-breathing), the result of this is that we blow out too much carbon dioxide, which in turn means that it increases the acidity of the blood (which can cause confusion, dizziness, pins and needles etc) and increases the percentage of oxygen in the blood, which in turn means our heart has to work harder, causing the racing heart you describe. All that lot makes us feel even more panicky and so it gets worse! Learning how to regulate our breathing helps to break the cycle, so that we not only have a way of coping with a panic attack when it happens, but we can also learn how to recognise when we are getting more anxious and can even prevent an attack. Practising breathing techniques regularly means it is easier for us to use them when we need them.
If you are having a panic attack:
Breathing to calm
Breathing exercise to generally calm yourself down when you are feeling anxious:
Slowing down breathing rate
Breathing exercise to slow down your breathing rate and thereby become more aware of your breathing:
Practise this at least once a day and you will find yourself more aware of your breathing and better able to voluntarily slow it down.
The Pranayama or deep breathing exercise is a breathing exercise/technique which is generally beneficial for us physically and mentally - supposedly (!) and I must confess that I have found it somehow makes me feel better in myself, though it is quite difficult at first and I don't understand why it should make any difference! Try starting with maybe a minute and build up slowly from there:
After you master this technique of deep breathing, you should also try breathing alternating between the left and right nostrils.
As strange as this exercise sounds, and as amused as bystanders might be when you are doing it (especially children!), it really does seem to help in reducing anxiety generally and coping with panic attacks!
Next: Awareness of the Self
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In This Section:
Domestic Violence Articles
It's My Life Now - Starting over after an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Dugan and Roger R. Hock. has been found to be helpful by a number of people recovering from an abusive relationship. Have a look at the portions available online to decide whether it may be of help to you - recovery is a very personal issue.
Life after getting out of an abusive relationship often continues to be a struggle, and It's My Life Now offers guidance to overcoming common pitfalls, blending worksheets with insights on self exploration and ongoing growth. From handling feels of loss and guilt to overcoming feelings associated with having loved an abuser, this book continues to offer invaluable lessons and be a real source of help and strength:
To order in the UK: It's My Life Now
The Self-esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi - recommended by workshop facilitators.
The Self-esteem Journal: Using a Journal to Build Self-esteem (Overcoming Common Problems) by Alison Waines - A very helpful work book with exercises to dip in and out of while recovering.
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