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Don't Panic - Eight Tips for Calming Down ASAP

We all know that panic is painful.  Uncomfortable.  Hard.  Scary.  All I have to do is get a scam call from the IRS and I'm jammed all day with brutal, miserable anxiety.  I work with young adults on this all the time.  I have it myself.  As soon as each of my girls got their driver's licenses I was a basket case.  Every time i heard a siren, while working from home, I had that sinking feeling in my gut.  

There are many ways to "make friends" with your anxiety.

Our understanding from science is that "fight or flight" or freeze takes over our body's regulatory system to make us primed for urgency.  This is in fact an ancient part of our bodies.  A panic attack is a false alarm.  All the symptoms with no real trigger.  Science tells us that when the stress hormone CORTISOL is released, we react with over reaction, the AMYGDALA forgets to regulate, and we feel out of control, like we might collapse, be embarrased or even lose consciousness.  This will likely NOT HAPPEN!

1. We remind ourselves this is not real.  

2. We acknowlege the panic.

3. We talk back to it: I see you but you don't control me; I control you.

4. Distract with creative, calming activities.

5. We argue back - no, this is not real.  It will pas in 10 minutes (usually).

6. We slow down.

7. We are safe, secure and loved.

8. And then we soothe anything IN YOUR BODY that needs rest, relaxation.

I have done this myself and it works. Whether by literally tapping or holding yourself, distraction or just time, we can reduce the fear.  

For young adults and teens this can be especially frightening.  With no school/work/camp etc. it is easy to get submerged in isolation, then by making your world smaller, you lose vital interactions for growth and adulting.  Try now to get a hobby that takes your mind to a peaceful refuge.  Try anything!  I will guide you.  My hobbies are writing, swimming, hiking, and reading.  What are yours?


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