Coping with panic attacks can be difficult, to say the least.
I’ve had well over… um… well, I’m not exactly counting, but it’s certainly more than 300 or 400. And I mean bona fide panic attacks. Not high anxiety — true panic.
Even after 8 years, I’m still working on coping with it effectively. A series of heart palpitations in the cereal aisle will still send me dashing for the exit of the grocery store. A twinge of nausea on a car ride will send me reaching for Xanax.
And a little unwelcome heat & humidity will make me clammy and lightheaded… just like it did today. Just as I started filming this video, I panicked. My apartment was too warm and I couldn’t get the AC to work. Frustrated, I started feeling woozy and like I needed to sit down, lest I panic. Then, when I finally did sit down, I became worried that I would simply grow hotter and hotter until I finally passed out. So, feeling even woozier, I stood up again to plead with the thermostat, shaking, and extremely fearful of passing out.
Fun fact, eh? A panic attack distracted me from recording a video for Psych Central about how to distract yourself from a panic attack. Go figure.
But anyway — on to the video. While distraction isn’t the best long-term solution, certain distraction techniques can help you to get through a difficult panic attack. Ideally, desensitizing yourself to panic triggers is key — and that can be accomplished via Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. But until your figurative “Coping Toolbox” is well-stocked, these distraction techniques can help.
In a pinch, what helps you to get through a panic attack?
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 May 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Beretsky, S. (2012). Video: 6 Ways to Distract Yourself From Panic. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/05/05/video-6-ways-to-distract-yourself-from-panic/