What to do after a panic or anxiety attack. Tips to recover from anxiety and panic attack:
Having a panic/ anxiety attack can feel extremely frightening but rest assured, it will pass. As a wave in the ocean, they can be big and overwhelming, but just as they come, they will go. One of the aftereffects of a panic /anxiety attack can be depersonalization, which is the feeling that your body is somewhere else, disconnected from your mind and awareness. This is a very strange feeling that can in itself increase the already high levels of anxiety.
Follow these tips to help alleviate depersonalization, also called dissociation (feeling detached). The goal is to slowly restore the mind- body connection:
Deep breathing: Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose until you feel your lungs expand, hold the air for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth very slowly and with control. Close your eyes and focus your mind on sensations in your body as the oxygen enters and exits your body.
Heart connection: As you take deep breaths, close your eyes and focus your mind inwards and try to feel your heart beating. Once you can feel your heart beating, allow your heart to slow down by slowing down your breathing and reaffirming and validating yourself with kind and loving words.
Hot bath or shower: focus your mind on how the warm or hot water feels as it touches your body. Focus on the sensations in your body and skin.
Massage your body: use your hands with some warm oil or scented lotion to massage your shoulders, arms, hands, breasts/chest, legs, and feet. Focus on the body sensations and continue with deep breathing.
Massage your hands with a scented lotion, bring your palms open towards your nose and inhale deeply.
Have a close friend, partner, or family member you trust massage your shoulders, head, arms, legs, and/or feet.
Brush your hair softly or have a person you trust brush your hair.
Drink warm light liquids such as tea (non-caffeinated), chicken soup, or something cold like vanilla ice cream, sorbet, or yogurt. Focus on the sensations in your body as the warm/cold liquids travel down your throat.
Lay down or sit down next to a pet or person you trust and feel the warmth of their body traveling to your body.
If you have a pet, pet your pet or brush their hair.
Grab a large piece of paper and with a medium brush paint it with any color. Focus your eyes on the paint covering the large white paper. Use as much paint as you want.
Sit in any room comfortably, take some deep breaths, and look around the room, notice details you hadn’t noticed before, such as the colors, shapes, objects, etc. point out things you hadn’t noticed before.
Grab some headphones and play some relaxing music (preferably classic music). Focus your mind on trying to discern the different instruments in the music (drums, guitar, bass, violin, piano, etc). Switch your focus and attention between the different instruments.
Lay down on the floor and see if you feel any vibrations coming from the floor.
Sit comfortably or lay down and listen to sound bath healing sounds (such as this: (https://youtu.be/gq8snFSEwlU). Allow yourself to feel the vibrations in your body. Allow your mind to wonder and travel with the sounds.
Throw a robe, blanket, or towel in the dryer for 5 minutes then take it out and throw it on your shoulders. Focus on the warm sensations on your body.
Affirmations: as you take deep breaths, repeat in your head these affirmations as long as necessary:
“I am ok”
“I am alive”
“I am breathing”
“I am here”
“I am safe”
I hope these are helpful to you and remember that:
You are Adequate
You are Whole
You are Enough
You are Valuable
You are LOVED
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