The reason I reiterate counting in anxiety so often is because it uses a different part of the brain. What happens when we begin to panic, our brains shrink down into, essentially, survival mode. It changes our perception of our surroundings. I understand this because, if I’m anxious, but absolutely have to go somewhere, store, Dr.’s appointment, etc., I feel like there’s a damned sign on my head flashing “ANXIETY…PANIC…ANXIETY…PANIC”. I know that people aren’t mind readers and most of them, frankly, aren’t even looking at me. People have their own little bubble that you’re not a part of so, their not noticing you. Those are what’s called “cognitive distortions” and are part of the system in our brain telling us faulty thoughts that cause us to panic in the first place.
Let’s take the Box Breathing technique, in this instance, practicing DOES makes perfect. So, look at it this way, you already know how to breathe, so practicing it is just a step away from being prepared to fend off a panic attack. Meditation is a great way to frame this because, what you want to do for any of these techniques is find a quiet place where you feel safe and practice the breathing. Challenge yourself to see how far you can increase (from 4 seconds to 7, per say). This way, when you’re in a high-stress situation, or, what your brain perceives as a high-stress situation, your mind already knows what to do BEFORE your brain goes into primal survival mode.
Be sure to keep getting back up and want fighting. I KNOW that sometimes you just give up, but, if you can just hold on tight to these methods and with the right therapist and, possibly, psychiatrist, you will be able to overcome and stop being afraid of the big, bad panic attack monster.
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