• Anxiety and panic attacks can make you feel out of control.
May is mental health awareness month. It is important to address mental health in all spheres and aspects of life.
Anxiety and panic attacks are often both physically and mentally exhausting. If you are someone or know someone with anxiety and panic attacks, here are five ways to keep them under control.
Focus on your breathing
Many symptoms of anxiety are related to poor breathing habits. Controlling your breathing can help. When you feel like you can’t take a deep breath, try to slow down and reduce your breathing.
Try to take more controlled, slower breaths and use the following technique:
Breathe in slowly through your nose for about 5 to 7 seconds, hold your breath for about three to four seconds, and then breathe out gently through your mouth for about 5 to 7 seconds.
Repeating this exercise 10 to 20 times will help regain the Co2 balance in your body.
Find someone friendly you can talk to
Find a trusted friend or family member you can call up or speak to. Tell them what you’re feeling.
Talking to someone can help you with a boost of confidence, and give you the reassurance that if something were to go wrong, someone will look out for you.
Try the following grounding techniques
This is a common technique for people with anxiety to help you gain control of what you are feeling.
Look around for 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
Counting can help
Counting requires a form of concentration. Try counting the numbers from 1 to 9 out of order, or you could even try doing some quick math like subtracting 8 from 100 or 4 from 100.
Anything that will require you to concentrate, really!
Knowing your triggers
Learning about your triggers can help control anxiety. You will be able to talk yourself through the attack. And acknowledging your triggers is a form of understanding what has caused you to feel anxious.
This can also help you come up with things you can do in that period of time, and let your body and mind know that you are in control and that you are safe.
If you or someone you know are suffering with mental health, reach out to the Befrienders Kenya helpline.