Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Anxiety attacks! Coping under pressure

Published:Wednesday | November 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dealing with anxiety and stress is part of everyday living. Sometimes it's more overwhelming than we want it to be, and dealing with an overly stressful situation and anxiety attacks that leave us in panic can be very taxing. At home, work, on the road, wherever, situations often present themselves that cause us to panic.

Here are a few tips on dealing with those worrisome, stressful moments.

n Breathe: Just stop where you are and breathe. Take deep breaths and allow your mind and body to relax. The first step in tackling a problem is to relax, focus and then assess the situation.

n One step at a time: Remember the famous quote: 'The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time'. Take the situation in strides, one step at a time. Break down whatever the situation is and take it in stages. As you complete one step, simply move on to the next until you have successfully tackled the problem.

n Take a break: If you reach a stage in dealing with the situation where you feel a panic attack coming on, take a break. Do something that you enjoy for a while. Something that will make you smile or calm you down. Go for a walk, read, sing, watch a movie, exercise, gardening, whatever it is you enjoy doing. Once you have calmed down, go back to the situation.

n Refocus your mind: If you truly can do nothing about the problem, why let it stress you out? There is nothing you can do and worrying will not help. Focus on something pleasant or something you can actually do something about and work at that. Whatever is causing the anxiety is out of your control. It has already happened. All you can do now is focus on how to get through it.

n Think positive: If you just did a job interview or an exam, what's the point of stressing? You did your best going in so now keep telling yourself positive thoughts and visualise positive results. See yourself succeeding in that job or getting great results in the exam. Generating a positive, feel-good outlook will do wonders to relax you and put you in a happy, serene mood. Whatever situation you are faced with, try to always picture a positive outcome, and if it's in your power to achieve that outcome, do what you know you need to do.

n Learn to be content: Learn to be content in spite of your circumstance. Learning how to be happy and content with little and humble means is the key to a happy life. The reality is that you will not always get what you want out of life so you have to learn to be happy with what you have and make the most out of it. You will only make yourself ill by worrying.

n Have patience: Why the frequent angry outburst? Traffic is part of life, so is waiting in line or people making mistakes or people saying dumb, insensitive things. That's life. You're just giving yourself heart failure by sitting on the horn or quarrelling with everyone. Take a breath, relax and go with the flow. You really can't do anything about it. Why not see the lighter side and laugh or just ignore it and focus on the positive?

n Find a hobby: Having something to do that you love is a great way to reduce stress. Whenever you feel a panic attack coming on, just delve into your favourite hobby.

n Find a happy place: Find a happy place in your mind that you can go to every time you feel an anxiety attack coming on. Sit somewhere quiet and relax, and visualise being at that happy place. Create happy thoughts, let yourself get lost in it, generate a fantasy around that happy place.

n Get creative: When you look into the sparse cupboard and fridge, suddenly you feel overwhelmed with anxiety and worry trying to figure out what you will eat or feed the family and no idea where the money will come from. Get creative and think outside the box. You may not have chicken and rice, but you can find other food items that can make a nice delicious, nutritious one-pot meal that your family will be sure to enjoy. In other words, find creative ways to solve your problem.'

n Create a stress scale: Seriously, with all that's happening in the world, is the situation really worth getting all worked up over. On your stress scale, assess if this is one of those things that's worth a second thought. Reality check. Some things really are too trivial to be worth it, so why are you making it stress you? And trivial things happen every day - sometimes 10 times a day. Putting things into perspective will simplify your life as you casually decide that each trivial thing simply doesn't deserve another moment of your time and energy.