10 Ways to Manage Your Panic Attacks

“In my experience, the words “now just calm down” almost inevitably have the opposite effect on the person you are speaking to.” – Elyn Saks

A panic attack is a sudden and intense feeling of fear or anxiety that can be overwhelming and debilitating. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, sweating, trembling, and a feeling of impending doom. Some people may also experience chest pain, nausea, and a fear of losing control or going crazy.

During a panic attack, the body’s fight or flight response is activated, even though there is no real danger. This response causes the physical symptoms of a panic attack and a heightened state of alertness and arousal.

Many things trigger panic attacks, social events, public speaking, conflict with family or coworkers, and situations reminiscent of past traumas. Sometimes, an accumulation of stress builds up over time and then pops up unexpectedly in a panic. 

Most people believe they have a heart attack when experiencing a panic attack. They often go to the emergency room or their doctor for a checkup. When the doctor cannot find anything physically wrong with them, they suggest that the individual might have had a panic attack and recommend talking to a mental health professional. 

Family and friends feel helpless around individuals who struggle with panic attacks. They can suggest useless advice or tell them to “calm down,” which never works. 

Mental health professionals might offer several strategies to cope with a panic attack:

  1. Focus on your breathing: Take slow, deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. This can help to calm your body and mind.
  2. Use positive self-talk: Remind yourself that you are safe and that the panic attack will pass.
  3. Find a peaceful place to relax: Find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down and relax.
  4. Use relaxation techniques: Try progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, or mindfulness meditation to help you relax.
  5. Find a focus object: Redirect your attention to something in clear sight and consciously notice all the details about that object, engaging all of your senses if possible.
  6. Picture a safe place, face, or space: Visualizing a place or location that holds a positive memory can be helpful to calm the nervous system. Additionally, you can picture someone safe or an activity that gives you joy. 
  7. Engage in light exercise: Taking a walk, stretching, or playing an outdoor game with someone can alleviate the stressful energy in your body.
  8. Use a mantra or affirmation: A positive statement, verse, song, or quote can redirect fear or worry about your condition and reset negative thoughts. 
  9. Change your life situation: If panic results from stress, consider distancing yourself from people, changing jobs, setting boundaries, or reorganizing living situations for your future health.
  10. Reach out to someone: Talk to a friend or loved one, or consider seeking support from a mental health professional.

The best time to deal with a panic attack is before you have a panic attack. Trying to deal with one in the middle is highly challenging to control. A daily practice of calming, affirming prayer and meditation, healthier living, and new perspectives can strengthen the body’s defenses, so the panic never comes up again. 

Panic attacks can be very distressing and may interfere with daily activities. It is essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you are experiencing panic attacks, as they can be treated effectively with therapy and medication. Consult Ron Huxley today if you are struggling with panic attacks and want help. 

4 Ways to Get Clear on Why You Care So Much 

Caring is an important quality in one’s life. What would the world be like if we didn’t have caring people? Too much caring can create problems, however. Overcaring can cause fatigue, burnout, or secondary trauma, enabling addictive behaviors, preventing healthy child independence, rejection and estrangement from loved ones, and so much more. Finding a healthy balance is essential to living a healthier, happier life. The first step in this process is learning WHY you care so much so that you can find that balance.

Here are four ways to help you get clear on why you care so much that you can use:

Reading

Sounds too simple, right? The truth is that it is that simple…mostly! There are a lot of books and devotionals for people who care too much. Melodie Beattie is one of my favorite authors. She wrote the books Codepency No More, The Language of Letting Go, and Codepence Guilt to the 12 steps. Another classic is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I regularly recommend this book to families. Of course, there are other great reads, such as Women Who Do Too Much, Raising Empowered Children, Keeping Your Love On, Caregivers Survival Guide, The Heart of the Caregiver, and so many more.

In addition to books, there are YouTube videos and online courses that you can take to learn healthier caregiving lifestyles. Try one now at FamilyHealer.tv

Journaling 

You can use your computer, buy a specialized journal, or you can simply use a notebook you have created to journal. It’s up to you what type of system you use and whether it’s modern or analog. 

The important part is that you try to use your journal to express your thoughts, emotions, and stream of consciousness about a problem you’re trying to solve or a feeling you’re trying to explore without judgment or censoring. 

Write in your journal every day when you’re trying to understand why you care so much. You may end up discovering your life purpose or a new reason for getting up each day that you had not realized before. 

Become a Patron Sponsor of FamilyHealer.tv and get free journals and many more tools for living a happier life at FamilyHealer.tv

Meditation 

Before you use your journal, it can help to clear your mind using meditation. Meditation practice is all about not thinking and not judging your thoughts or feelings even as they still happen during the meditation. 

Each time you meditate, you can have a purpose of self-discovery or have a goal to clear your mind and relax. To practice this type of meditation, you’ll want to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down. Then concentrate on your goals for the meditation, close your eyes, and start focusing on your breathing. 

Think about the situation you’re trying to understand for a moment, then clear your mind. If any intrusive thoughts come in, brush them aside by refocusing on your breathing. You mustn’t allow any outside information or sensation to distract you during this time. 

Try using an app, like Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier, Stop Breath Think, or Abide.

Therapy 

These days you’re so fortunate because you can get psychological therapy from the comfort of your home using your computer or smartphone. Numerous companies offer this service and varying price points, but you can expect to pay $60 or more per hour to get therapy. In addition, many insurance companies include several sessions as part of your benefits.

If you seek therapy, make sure you find someone experienced working with you on overcoming people-pleasing and putting yourself last in life. Remember, your wants and needs matter too. Most therapists can guide you through the self-discovery process to finally know what you want and feel good about it regardless of the reactions from other people. 

Any or all three of these methods help you become crystal clear regarding your motivations to seek approval from others and even help you stop doing it. Remember, what you want from life is important too, and following someone else’s dreams will never get you what you want and need to feel successful and, more importantly, satisfied and content in your life. 

Let Ron Huxley help you today by scheduling a therapy session online. Just click here to start!

Parenting and Pain

Parenting & Pain

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

It is hard to be on top of our parenting game when you are in a lot of emotional pain. This is especially challenging if the origin of this pain comes from the children that we are trying to parent. It might be simplistic to say but the pain is “painful.” It hurts! It shuts us down and drives a wall between us and others so we can’t be hurt anymore. We want to retreat to nurse our wounds before risking more in relationships. Unfortunately, the everyday tasks of life have to be completed and our children continue to need us. As a compromise to this situation, we become robotic in our actions. We are hyper-functional but we are hypo-relational. We get stuff done but we are just going through the motions and have no emotions to share. We are too raw!

If you are in this place, make a resolution to find some help through good friends, therapists, doctors, etc. There are a lot of support groups and parenting educations classes in your community. Be determined not to repeat past problems. Find new ideas and new support to achieve new, less painful interactions with your family. Second, be OK with being in a place of pain but don’t let it define you. You feel bad but YOU are not bad. Hurtful feelings are normal responses to hurtful actions they are not meant to be permanent. You will have better days again but don’t allow shame to pull you deeper into that dark place of despair. Set some boundaries, find some help and get mad a shame. It is not your friend!