This has a lot of views, so I wanted to post what I do to help myself!
1. Drop your shoulders.
2. Relax both arms
3. Focus on your hands – do some sort of activity that focuses on them, like knitting, drawing, typing, playing a computer game
4. Get a little notebook small enough to fit in a bag or pocket. When you’re feeling anxious, think of stuff you like and write it down.
Anything – wet pebbles on the beach, the noise a gas fire makes, fluffy pillows…
5. Read your previous entries in the little notebook
6. In the car: Read out number plates of other cars to get through a particularly scary bit of road
7. Recite a poem
8. Sing a song or hymn that you know the words to
9. Try to remember anything you’ve known at some point, like call signs (alpha, bravo, charlie, foxtrot etc) or PI to 20 digits, or the months
of the year in French. Anything.
10. In a car again: Feel the steering wheel under your hands – think about how dense it is – wonder how heavy it’d be if you removed it.
11. Focus on your feet and feel the ground under them
12. Smile like someone just whispered in your ear that everything was going to be OK.
13. Think to yourself “panicking is pointless and I don’t have to do it”
14. Remind yourself that if you want to stop panicking you just can – it’s not easy but it is within your power. You don’t have to be that
person who’s panicking.
15. Remind yourself that it’s just unpleasant, not dangerous
16. Remind yourself that nothing bad is going to happen to you and you’re still in control
17. Think about the worst that you think could happen. You die – so what? Not your problem. You pass out – so what? Not your problem.
18. On public transport – look at other people’s shoes
19. Imagine a therapist sat next to you. They say “so how are you feeling now?” Imagine what you’d reply. Have a conversation – be your own
therapist! This helps to get perspective on the situation.
20. Breathe slowly and not too much.
21. Try to keep as still as possible, barely breathing. Pretend you’re playing hide and seek and the seeker is right next to you.
22. Imagine you’re sitting at home on the sofa in front of the TV. Then think to yourself OK I’m in exactly the same physical situation as that
and I’m fine when I’ve doing that, so I’m in no more danger now than I am then.
23. If you really want to run around, remember that no heart conditions are made better by running around, so it must not be a heart condition.
24. Close your eyes, rest your head back and take slow breaths as it you were about to fall asleep. Relax all your muscles as far as possible.
Don’t be scared of physical sensations like dizziness – you’re not going to pass out. Just let them come.
25. Sip some water
26. Draw a picture of yourself panicking (thanks to another poster for that one!)
27. Write down how you feel – describe the sensations in detail
28. Keep an analysis of when you feel worst. Rate your anxiety levels each morning and evening (1-10) and also record how tired you feel, how
much caffeine you’ve had, how much external stress you’re under, how much you had to drink last night, anything relevant to you and your
situation, also 1-10. Record it in Excel and make it into a graph so that you can see what’s causing the worst panic. If you turn it into an
interesting experiment it makes it less scary.
29. DON’T take your pulse!
30. Get some exercise each day – doesn’t have to be much, just enough to up your heart rate a little bit.
31. Don’t be scared of your heart racing after exercise – it’s what it’s supposed to do.
32. Don’t be worried if you can hear your heart at night – you’re just noticing it – some people don’t.
33. For night panics, just let it peak and it will pass. It’s just your brain doing weird stuff.
34. Relax those shoulders again – they’ve probably tensed up again by themselves.
35. Smile. Mean it.