The question of how to deal with panic attacks is now one of the most important challenges in the mental health field. We all know someone who is affected, or we ourselves have suffered from those waves of indescribable terror that seemingly have no obvious cause.
In my earlier articles I told of my own total nervous collapse which began with quickly recurring panic attacks. As a first step towards recovery I advised against an undue reliance on medication to alleviate the suffering.
Regardless of whether tranquilisers are resorted to or not, the sufferer of panic attacks eventually has to learn several important lessons before they can feel confident in preventing panic attacks. The essential requirement is to reduce the flow of adrenaline through the body, and this is done by enhancing the parasympathetic over a dominating sympathetic (‘fight-or-flight’ response) nervous system. Some simple methods for doing this are as follows:
7 steps for gaining inner peace
Breathe ‘like a baby’.
Learn to breathe more ‘like a baby’, pushing the stomach out as you breathe in, gradually moving away from the habit of chest-only breathing which causes the hyperventilation and the related symptoms of light-headedness, tingling in the fingers, and so on. Breathing in a more grounded way like this brings inner quietude and allows us to have more access to all of those hidden feelings which are ready to become conscious so that we can make friends with them.
Practise mindful breathing.
For stopping panic attacks, one of the best ways is to practise some form of mindful breathing, silently repeating a mantra, prayer or positive affirmation in time with inhalation and exhalation (eg. “I breathe in love. I let go fear”, with the in-and out-breath). This gives the mind something to hold on to, turning away from catastrophic thinking again and again. Focussing on the breath in this way not only calms the nervous system but also the mind, allowing insights and feelings of love and peace to arrive.
Panic attacks are not fatal.
Remind yourself that the sense of impending doom that comes with panic attack is not to do with the death of the body. We know that panic attacks do not kill people. They signal that the ego is about to undergo profound change – in a sense, who we think we are, is about to ‘die’, so we can become the person we are rightly meant to be.
Identify with the Witness.
For many sufferers it is helpful to remember that we are not the body, mind and feelings. Rather, we are the Witness, ever-present, who is untouched by the drama of life.. In this way we grow in equanimity and wisdom, observing whatever thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations arise – including all of the panic attack signs – without being unsettled by them.
Be true to your Self.
Take steps to be absolutely true to your Self, to your inner voice or soul’s compass. It is vital to not say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’, regardless of the social price we have to pay. This resolves inner conflict and leads to a feeling of belief in oneself, inner quietude and social fearlessness.
Let go of control.
Let go of the belief that we have to be in control, trusting that a benevolent universe will guide every action we take, as well as all that happens to us and around us. This ushers in a self-possessed calm-abiding, a profound humility and a new-found strength to face all challenges.
Love is the antidote for fear.
Expand the heart to encompass all. Do more and more loving things for others, every day. Love is the greatest antidote for panic attacks.
These are just a few of the more important steps for recovery from panic disorder. There are many more that you will discover along the way.
Learning how to prevent panic attacks in my own life as a clinical psychologist was uppermost in my mind for many years until my full recovery. To share what I have discovered about the emotion of fear I have created a series of self-help audio CDs, including ones on how to deal with panic attacks, phobias and nervous breakdown. The two most relevant ones are Mastering Fear and Nervous Breakthrough. You can find out about these at http://www.therapycds.com.au I have recently written an autobiographical book called Rediscovering the True Self. My wife Suwanti is also a clinical psychologist and together we have a clinic on the Gold Coast in Australia where we use the CDs as adjuncts to the therapy sessions we have with our clients.
Article Source: How To Control Panic Attacks – 7 Steps For Gaining Inner Peace