Learn to cope with anxiety and panic attacks

Most people have been anxious at least once in their lives. Some have even ended up enduring awful panic attacks that can strike without warning. There are plenty of times where people can’t even pinpoint why they’re experiencing these terrifying episodes.

Learning how to cope with these moments in this hustle and bustle of such a chaotic life can sometimes take a long time. It’s a process, and one that people who do suffer with panic or anxiety need to focus on when they feel like life is crashing down around them and consuming every fiber of their being.
Steps to possibly maintain a panic attack or anxiety episode:

· Focus on what is causing you to have these episodes. Has something happened? Is something going to happen? Do you believe you are in danger? This also stems from the fight or flight momentum.

· Do you avoid certain situations because of it? In this case, it might be wise to keep a journal and write down how you feel during these moments, what you were doing, who you were with when you felt an attack coming on and what you did before, during and after the attack. Also, jot down the level that the panic/anxiety was at, one meaning being the lowest and 10 being the highest on how you felt during the episode.

Easier said than done, but you should also accept the fact that you’re having one – and that you will make it through. Don’t fight it because that might make you panic even more and also increase your anxiety.

You should also try to recognize the signs/symptoms of an attack:

• Irregular heartbeat

• Dizziness or lightheadedness

• Shortness of breath

• Choking sensations/nausea

• Shaking/sweating

• Fatigue/weakness

• Chest pain/heartburn

• Muscle spasms

• Hot flashes/chills

• Tingling sensations

• A fear that you might be going crazy

• A fear that you might die

• Paranoid thoughts

Helpful Suggestions:

· Try relaxing or breathing techniques

· Exercise

· Walking

· Yoga/stretching

· Confront your fear head-on (This might take some time to do, so
don’t push yourself.)

· Listen to music

· Play with your pets

· Paint/draw

· Read

· Write

· Play games

· Join a support group

· If you’re religious, pray or meditate

Sometimes changing your diet can help, too. Caffeine has been known to promote anxiety for some and even some types of medications have a mild dosage of caffeine, too. Just read the labels if you feel like this could be the culprit.

Remember that you’re not abnormal, even though you might feel that way. Many people around you are probably suffering right along with you.

Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs to ease the panic/anxiety. This is only a temporary reprieve and could lead to more serious medical issues.

You can always seek help by talking to a counselor or therapist. Talking with friends could help, too. Some people think that if they tell someone, it shows a sign of weakness. It doesn’t. Many people are going through the same things you are.

There are many things that can help if you feel like life has just thrown you the most horrendous curve ball. Do whatever works for you. Don’t give up, though. There are so many alternatives and if you do suffer from panic/anxiety fight that battle to take back your life.

Eastern Michigan University’s Snow Health Center also has Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) which offers individual, couples and group counseling, emergency services/crisis intervention, consultation to faculty and staff and workshops/educational. There is also psychiatric medication management, which is available for a fee, but all other services are free to EMU students. All services are confidential.

To contact CAPS, 734-487-1118, or counseling.services@emich.edu.

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