One of the most important things I have learned is to detach yourself from a panic/anxiety attack and observe your symptoms. You do this by flowing with the feeling you have, not fighting them. There are certain degrees of anxiety and if you can maintain control before you get to level 4, you can prevent a full blown attack. Here is my anxiety scale (the symptoms will be different for everyone):
7-10 Major Panic Attack: All of the symptoms in level 6 exaggerated; loss of control ofmy body and throwing up; compulsion to escape.
6 Moderate Panic Attack: Palpitations, difficulty breathing, feeling disoriented or detached (feeling of unreality); panic in response to perceived loss of control.
5 Early Panic: Heart pounding or beating irregularly, constricted breathing, definite fear of losing control, unable to think clearly, compulsion to escape.
4 Marked Anxiety: Feeling uncomfortable, heart beating fast, beginning to wonder about maintaining control, feeling nauseas, burning in the back of my neck or face, trembling body o shaking hands.
3 Moderate Anxiety: Feeling uncomfortable but still in control, heart starting to beat faster, more rapid breathing, trembling hands.
2 Mild Anxiety: Butterflies in stomach, definately nervous, negative self talk starts.
1 Slight anxiety: Passing twinge of anxiety, feeling slightly nervous.
0 Relaxation: Calm; a feeling of being undistracted and at peace.
The coping strategies in summary to enact when you start to detect your early symptoms are:
- Practice Abdominal Breathing
- Repeat Positive Coping Statements
- Use Abdominal Breathing in Combination with Coping Statements
- Talk to Supportive Person on the Phone
- Move around or Engage in Physical Activity
- Stay in the Present
- Use Simple Distraction Techniques
- Get Angry with Anxiety
- Experience something Immediately Pleasurable
I will go into more detail about some of these that help me the most later, and will link them to this blog, but for now I wanted to get this down so I can use it at work as a quick reminder.