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Entries from April 2017

Quick tricks to help a panic attack and/or reduce anger and fear

This post complements my most recent post in Psychology Today that addresses Communicating through Conflict. (click title link to read)

The article describes how we can get into a state of fear or defensiveness when our basic needs of survival (food, shelter, love, safety and security) are threatened.

In today's world, such threats include job security, divorce and abandonment, cyber-bullying, racial-profiling, safety to love our loved ones, freedom to be our authentic selves, and even fear about our Soul's afterlife when religious attacks ensue.

Whatever the trigger, most everyone has experienced the emotional hijacking that comes from some kind of threat. The reptilian brain reactions of fight, flight or freeze can be alleviated by calming down and re-engaging your frontal lobe. To do that, try these quick tricks to redirect your neural pathways:

  • Take four long deep breaths (inhaling and exhaling to the count of five).
  • Look at the room around you and name the colors you see.
  • Clap your hands or snap your fingers.
  • Do the multiplication table in your head.
  • Recite the alphabet.
  • Say a positive mantra that you compose just for these situations, such as "I am safe and grateful and am learning something new from this situation."
  • Recite a meaningful poem or quote.
  • Stretch your body.
  • Smell an essential oil like lavendar or vanilla.
  • Massage your hands and temples.
  • Pray.

The list can go on and please feel free to share anything that has worked for you. The trick is to help disrupt your body's arousal system and regain better control, so that you can respond instead of reacting. Of course, please note panic attacks are not always curbed once the full attack has set in. Please be gentle with yourself and seek medical attention as needed. This list is not meant to suggest that it replaces any medical advice and/or medications from your doctors.