Panic attacks make people feel like they are losing control, losing their grip on reality, feel helpless and completely alone, with a sense of an imminent threat looming above them. These experiences are not easy to forget or get over. And then starts the vicious cycle of fearing the panic attack itself and having another panic attack episode about it.
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Just know that there are ways to help you! For instance, you can start practicing mindful inquiry - at first, when you’re not in public, so as not to darken the situation further. Mindful inquiry means looking inside yourself and determining the very reasons that trigger your panic attack so that you can confront and address them, and feel more free.
Here are some preliminary things to consider:
Is it a good time to delve into your feelings? Do you feel safe enough in your current environment? If the answer is no to either or both these questions, it’s ok to wait for a more convenient time or place.
Be mindful of your breathing during the practice, notice the sensations and subtle body movements of breathing in and out.
This is the time when you acknowledge all of your feelings. Feeling out of control during a panic attack is a feeling, too, so, first and foremost, identify and recognize it. I feel like I’ve lost touch with reality. I don’t think/feel I can trust anyone. What are you thinking at that moment? I’m cold. I want to go home. The key is to realize what you are feeling at the moment.
Don’t resist your panicky emotions or try to alter them. Let these feelings and thoughts remain what they are.
Don’t forget to keep breathing consciously and be anchored to reality.
With time, you’ll learn the trick of non-judgemental awareness to find out the reasons behind your emotions and let them fade naturally so you can move on.
So, find a calm, quiet place where you are comfortable and can stay alert. Put your phone away, get away from the things that can interrupt your mindfulness exercises. Below, you’ll find a mindful meditation script.
#1. Congratulate yourself on dedicating the time for meditation.
#2. Look into yourself and become aware of your feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc.
#3. Acknowledge everything that you’re feeling and thinking, without judging or analyzing.
#4. Focus on your breathing.
Take just a few minutes out of each day to bring yourself to a state of calm and wellness and balance your life using a combination of guided meditations and mindfulness techniques. The techniques are a simple, practical relaxation method for anyone.
#5. You can concentrate either on the tip of your nose (feel the air go in and out), or the movements of your belly as you inhale and exhale.
#6. Keep focusing on the way you are breathing in and breathing out.
#7. After some time, shift your focus back on your feelings and emotions.
#8. Look deep into your emotions, thoughts, physical sensations that you feel are driving your panic attacks.
#9. Focus on how fear feels, what your bodily reactions are.
#10. Acknowledge the physical sensations, thoughts and emotions, again, without being judgemental about them.
#11. You may find out that these feelings and emotions break into a plethora of memories, older fears, thoughts and anxieties. Begin to acknowledge what you may have failed to acknowledge.
#12. Often, resisting these unacknowledged emotions isn’t the right way to deal with them. Learn to “go with it” rather than “be over it”. Let everything follow its natural course.
#13. Now, focus on your breathing again.
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#14. As you come to an end of the meditation session, congratulate yourself, take a moment to appreciate the feelings of safety and lightness. Before you get up, wiggle your fingers and toes and let the movements take you back into reality.
#15. Send some kindness your way. “May I dwell in peace”.
READ MORE: 3 road-tested mindfulness practices
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