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JOSE L. |  MSW, MHP

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Techniques for panic attacks

Meet Jose L.

I myself have anxiety and oftentimes I go home and start to process or rethink what happened throughout the day and then start to think about what’s going to come tomorrow. And I get myself into a situation in my own mind — and then physically after that — where I am dreading tomorrow. Where I am not even wanting to look forward to tomorrow, my stomach starts to hurt, I start to heat up, I am shaking.

I mentally feel this pain that I don’t even want to think about.

There are things I can do
But I’ve been through this situation before and I realize that there are things I can do. I can’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow because it’s not going to be effective. I can’t worry about what happened yesterday because I’m not going to change it, but I can do something to impact the here and now, the present.

And how I do that is to practice mindfulness — concentrate on what I can change currently, and that is my thoughts. How I approach my thinking, taking deep, long breaths in order to allow more oxygen to my brain so I can think clearly. Counting backwards from ten to one is effective for me. 

Actually using some form of grounding technique is effective. I fidget a lot. I have ADD, so it’s something that I’ve been dealing with through my entire life. And I’ve realized when I’m not addressing that component of my mental health, I get even more anxiety. So grounding is a big aspect of peace of mind. Dealing with my anxiety, I even have a fidget spinner and I find that very effective to occupy my hands as a form of grounding. I can occupy that part of my brain so I don’t focus on the little anxieties and the tomorrows that I can’t control. So mindfulness is very effective to find a way to actually hone in on it and make it work for you.

I can occupy that part of my brain so I don’t focus on the little anxieties and the tomorrows that I can’t control.

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