Five steps to surviving a panic attack

Panic attackWe have all been there—in the middle of a normal day a thought or an event triggers a panic attack.   Sharon Dinur, a Vancouver based Registered Clinical Counselor, suggests five easy steps to moving past the darkness.

Talk about it: Contrary to logic, the best thing to do is talk about it with people you trust. You will be amazed how many of your “nice, normal” friends and family members have experienced similar episodes. Reassurance that you aren’t “the only one” is invaluable.

Go for a walk: Another helpful tool is going for walks. There is something specific to the rhythm of walking that coordinates the mind and body and encourages a sense of harmony. Be it brisk or lengthy, fifteen to twenty minutes per day is sufficient to give you real benefits.

Breathe deeply: The shallow breathing that occurs anytime one is emotionally charged can easily be prevented using a few deep-breathing techniques. Inhale for two seconds through the nose, hold for a moment, and then exhale for four seconds through the nose. This may sound simplistic, but a calmed body leads to a calmed mind.

Changing negative thoughts into positive ones: Start recording examples of your negative self-talk. This destructive habit can be broken and is the key to self-empowerment. When you begin to speak to yourself as you would to a good buddy, the shift in your psyche can be dramatic, despite any setbacks.

Be Grateful: Make a list of all the things your are grateful for, each night before going to sleep. From the simple appreciation for a mild winter’s day to an amusing chat with a co-worker – listing as many things as one can, makes getting up the next morning much easier.

Sharon Dinur, with two teenagers and her own counseling practice, is an expert on the topic of surviving Panic Attacks.   She is available to help you survive yours and can be reached at dinur12@shaw.ca.  

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