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What calms you down during an anxiety attack?

21 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Im talking non-pharmaceutical here...

For me, it's cold water. Specifically sipping cold water. When i have an attack my mouth gets dry as a bone, so my mum used to give me a glass of water to sip, and now for me it's synonymous with calming down. I have a bottle of water with it's own straw (great because then my shaking hands cant spill anything!) and i've been known just to refill and refill it during a bad attack.

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Posted · Report post

My positive anchor is to a hot shower, thought it's not like I can say, hey dmv people, I'm just going to take a shower now, so unfortunately it doesn't help me much.

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Posted · Report post

Talking to certain people will help calm me down. (some stress me out; that is why I say certain people). Also sometimes doing something that gets me active and my mind off of it, like walking, or cleaning, or organizing something.

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Posted · Report post

I've thought about the dive reflex when you mentioned cold water. http://www.emoclear.com/thedivereflex.htm

For me, taking a deep breath, holding it for five seconds, and slowly releasing it helps.

Also, i try to tell myself that it's just my anxiety acting up, and that the roof isn't really about ot crash down on my head, and that it will pass. This seems to help me a decent amount.

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Posted · Report post

I find that telling myself that it is just a panic attack and won't hurt me to be helpful, though it can be difficult. Once I have done that I can work on things like slowing down my breathing.

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Posted · Report post

I focus on my breathing, slowing that down. My Mum taught me to do that what I first started having panic attacks when I was much younger, and I've kept on doing it. I find that if I calm myself down physically then it's easier to break out of the panic cycle. I also have a sort of "safe place", which is an image that I focus really hard on recreating in my mind. It's a location that I feel safe in, and it gives me something to focus on by trying to recall it in as vivid detail as possible.

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Posted · Report post

I use the mammalian dive reflex and dunk my head in ice water.

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Posted · Report post

Anxiety at home: long shower, hugging my stuffed animal

Anxiety in public: holding my mother's hand, staring at something very tiny (small text, screw, etc.)

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Posted · Report post

I hold out my arm and raise it slowly to the count of three, and then back down to a count of three. I then make sure I breathe in when my arm is going up and breathe out when it goes down again. Being able to focus on the speed and depth of the breath by using my arm as a anchor really works. This also works really well if someone else does the arm bit and you just follow with the breathing.

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Posted · Report post

At home: Music, usually loud enough to drown out my thought processes. And hiding under the blankets with a stuffie.

In public: Getting the heck away from whatever's triggering it. (If that's not possible, I'm pretty screwed.) Then having a cold drink. Calling a friend and ranting.

If all of the above fails, I'm stuck either riding it out or resorting to the PRN pharmaceuticals. Trying to control my breathing doesn't work for me, meditation or relaxation techniques don't work for me. They never have, and in general anything that tries to force me to sit still will send me into an even bigger attack or outright rage.

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Posted · Report post

Like Miss Blue and Enlightened Plutonium, I repeat to myself, "these are just symptoms of my illness, they will not last and they will not hurt me". I also have a book called, "The Little Book of Zen". Its full of quotes that are grounding.

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Posted · Report post

at home: being held by my boyfriend, hiding under the covers or in the closet

in public: staring at the ground, trying to regulate my breathing, a cold drink of water

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Posted · Report post

Breathing into a paper bag, as I'm doing now! lol and hiding and distracting myself too.

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Posted · Report post

Face in a bowl of ice water, or cold shower to the face helps a lot.

Jumping up and down for a good 5 minutes (intense physical activity)

Those are both good if I want to try to change my brain chemistry rapidly.

Followed by counting my breaths, mindfulness of sensations/self soothing, and cutting down environmental stimulation.

Petting Nugget, while she's squishing me and smelling her also help.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Breathing slowly and deeply always helped me. Also telling myself that nothing was going to happen, that I had been through this before, and it would go away.

Never be scared of an anxiety attack, if you are scared you will bring more panic attacks, if you are not afraid, they will become less

Edited by CookieN

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Posted · Report post

drinking cold water or grounding myself by touching something cold

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Posted · Report post

I'm going to have to try the cold water head dive. I'd never heard of it before reading it here, and it seems a lot of you all do it. Thanks for the idea.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

M, apparently mammals have a reflex that gets triggered when our faces get into cold water (hairline to ears to chin) that instantly slows down our breathing and heartrate.

ETA: So make sure your bowl is deep enough that you won't bonk your nose on the bottom.

Plus, its FRIGGING COLD!

:)

A less messy alternative I've seen is to put ice cubes and water in a gallon sized zipper top bag.

Edited by Wooster

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Posted · Report post

I try thought diffusion. Label the anxiety, breathing, panic, and send it like a leaf down a stream. Sometimes I just make room for it and accept it (I'm learning ACT therapy) I'm getting less anxiety using these techniques, along with meds.

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Posted · Report post

If I'm at work, I go use the rest room. Go into the stall and breathe for a few minutes. I then wash my hands (slowly) and focus on that instead of my panic attack symptoms. I look at myself in the mirror and breathe some more, metally telling myself to calm down, then I smile at myself. I also get a drink of water. Another odd thing, putting on deodorant when I'm panicking seems to help me. My biggest fear is other people knowing I am having a panic attack, so by putting on deodorant, I feel I am stopping the sweat response and therefore hiding my symptoms.

Hope this helped!

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Posted · Report post

M, apparently mammals have a reflex that gets triggered when our faces get into cold water (hairline to ears to chin) that instantly slows down our breathing and heartrate.

ETA: So make sure your bowl is deep enough that you won't bonk your nose on the bottom.

Plus, its FRIGGING COLD!

:)

A less messy alternative I've seen is to put ice cubes and water in a gallon sized zipper top bag.

LOL

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