Preventing anxiety attacks; it’s the goal and wish of so many who suffer with chronic anxiety. And it’s totally understandable. When you are stuck in an anxiety attack, it can feel as if you are trapped. There’s just no way out, and that’s scary.
But what if you could prevent these attacks from occurring in the first place? Is that even possible?
The answer is yes!
However, there is no Holy Grail of preventing anxiety attacks. Rather, it’s a combination of many things. Some are quality of life matters that you can learn to implement every day.
Consider practicing the following five viable strategies for preventing anxiety attacks.
1. Breathing Exercises are Key
There’s a reason why breathing techniques and ideas pop onto your screen when you do a quick Internet search about anxiety prevention. Staying in control of your breathing is vital for anxiety attack prevention.
For some, it’s because they hold all of their tension in their chests. With others, it’s because when they start to get anxious, they begin to experience shallow breathing. Some even hold their breath when they feel anxious.
By implementing a regular breathing practice every day, you can train yourself to keep breathing regularly even when stressed. One way to do this is simply practicing taking in very slow, deep breathes through the nose and out the mouth. Try a couple of different breathing exercises and see what works best for you.
A good anxiety therapist is likely to have a number of breathing techniques he can teach you.
2. Know Your Process
Know and understand why you have anxiety attacks. When you do have an attack, what does it look like? Which symptoms to you experience more than others? Asking these questions and doing some deep thinking on the issue can help you with developing a prevention plan.
Then, when you start to feel the beginning of those symptoms, switch gears and put your prevention plan into action. This will help with keeping low-level anxiety from ballooning into a full-blown panic attack.
3. Exercise Regularly
If you struggle with anxiety, then exercise has to be included in your overall anxiety attack prevention strategy. Why? Because physical movement is great for relieving stress, not just in the moment but also long-term.
Interestingly, when you exercise—especially vigorous exercise—you are actually training your body to respond to a self-induced “panic attack.” Only this time, you are gasping for breath from having worked your body. It’s like a little practice session.
Find exercise boring? Even if you are not a “gym rat,” there are plenty of exercise options available that get you moving, increase your heart rate, and are just fun to do! … Dancing anyone?
4. Reduce Stress in Your Daily Life
There are lots of little “hacks” that you can do to reduce stress every day. For instance:
- Wake up with a positive mindset (and have consistent times you wake-up and go to sleep)
- Take a daily walk
- Have 15-30 minutes of dedicated quite time
- Budget yourself no more than 30 minutes a day for social media use (there are apps to help you do this, of course!)
- Sleep in a room that is quiet, comfortable, and free of technology
- Get out into nature
- Incorporate physical movement throughout your day, not just on workout days
- Practice yoga
- Approach life with a sense of joy and gratefulness
If all those ideas sound stressful to you, hold on! Try practicing one idea at a time until it becomes a habit. Then, move on to the next one. You might be surprised how easy that can be.
5. Include Anxiety Therapy into Your Prevention Plan
Anxiety therapy should definitely be a part of your anxiety attack prevention plan. It’s another resource that you can utilize to head-off anxiety before it becomes a major problem. If you get good quality anxiety treatment, you’ll accomplish two things:
- mastering the symptoms of anxiety
- healing the roots of your anxiety
An anxiety counselor will help you to connect the dots and make sense of our symptoms. Maybe your anxiety is connected to something that’s on your mind and that you just can’t shake. Or perhaps you want to learn better ways of communicating your thoughts and feelings about anxiety to others. Sometimes, it’s a huge relief to talk to someone who really understands anxiety and how it affects you and who can skillfully give your practical advice.
There are many ways that you can prevent anxiety attacks. It’s part “know thyself” combined with part stress reduction and management strategies—with a dose of therapy thrown in for good measure. Using a variety of tools, including anxiety therapy, will help you with preventing anxiety attacks.
If you would like to know more about how I can help you manage and prevent anxiety attacks, please feel free to contact me.