Tip #12: Find one thing that completely occupies your mind and when feeling an incoming panic attack, do that thing.
The Why: Panic attacks can completely occupy your mind when they happen. You focus on your heart rate, your breathing, how you’re feeling. Trapped in the moment. Distracting yourself enough to calm down can be a very difficult task.
This is why I, at the onset of an attack, began to try to name every single country in the world. Sounds like a pretty strange habit. But it worked.
It took me two weeks of doing it once a day to learn every single one, but I realised that when I was filling in the different countries, my brain was so distracted and so occupied that I stopped feeling anxious. I was forced to concentrate by the threat of my time running out on the quiz.
If I was sitting in class or at home and began to feel the oncoming storm, I’d sit down for seven minutes, fill in the blanks (so satisfying) and immediately calm down.
The beauty of this method is that eventually, because my mind associated the task with feeling calm and calming down, even thinking about it made me feel a little more zen.
Your brain builds up an expectation of calm, stopping panic attacks in their tracks.
Another great thing about finding a distraction such as this, is that you can use it as an opportunity to gain a skill or a talent (being able to name every country in the world has made me a much-desired addition to a pub quiz team).
You could practice calligraphy, learn a language, try a makeup look you’ve always wanted to. The possibilities are endless!
Find a distraction that occupies you completely, and do that thing.