Stress Management Can Aid in Preventing Panic Attacks

When you are put in an unpleasant situation do you shrink back or come out fighting?  Knowing how to properly deal with unpleasant or stressful situations is important to your health.  As stress plays a major part in each of our lives, learning to deal with it constructively can make a big difference. Ask a panic attack sufferer about what precedes an attack, and they’ll most likely tell you it was stress.
What is Stress?
Generally we think we know what stress is, often throwing the word around freely.  But what really is “stress”?  Stress is the response, both emotional and physical, to an outside event.
Let’s say you are in the living room on a very stormy evening and suddenly your lights go out, leaving you sitting in total darkness; that can certainly cause stress. Or perhaps the company you work for is laying people off and you don’t know if or when it will happen to you. This is another big stressor.
How well you deal with situations such as these can indicate your level of stress management and coping skills.  Avoidance is not a useful coping skill in either of the these situations. If a bully tries to pick a fight with you, avoidance may be useful; however, it is not helpful in most situations that adults face every day.
Deal with the Problem
Dealing with our problems is a stress management technique that many people struggle with.  When you face a problem head-on, you leave no room for speculation or doubt.  The more you roll a problem over in your mind, the greater the chance is that you will talk yourself out of doing anything productive.
For example, let’s say that you are having an issue paying your bills, as just about everyone does at one point.  When you find that you have more bills than money, do you ignore them? Or instead, do you call the companies and ask for a way to lower your payments?
The second choice leads to a better result, as you are actually discovering your options rather than just imagining them.  Our imaginations can often conjure up doom and gloom scenarios, instead of looking for the silver lining in our problems. The simple act of making a phone call can put you back in control of a situation and it can reduce the amount of stress that you’re feeling. If taking charge can work for one problem, you can implement this as a coping skill and use it in other stressful situations as well.
Stress Management
The following are a few examples of how to manage your stress and lessen your chance of experiencing stress related panic attacks. If you already suffer from panic attacks, these tips can help reduce the chance of experiencing repeated attacks and decrease the chance of developing a panic disorder.
Getting organized is an excellent way to reduce the stress that everyday life can bring. By using a calendar to keep track of due dates for bills and other events, you are better able to keep your daily schedule straight. Knowledge and understanding of your responsibilities is empowering. By controlling the irritating things in your life, you can overcome and reduce both stress and panic.
Talking to a trusted friend or family member, even if it’s just to get your problems off your chest, can reduce your anxiety. Sharing your burden with a supportive circle of people can give you an emotional boost, while at the same time keep you grounded.  You never know, by sharing your problems with others, you might be able to get some insight and information from someone that has experienced the same thing.
Using relaxation techniques when faced with difficult situations offers you a chance to take a step back and prepare yourself. Simple deep breathing exercises will do wonders for your stress. Instead of focusing on the unfavorable outcomes that might occur, try to think about the good; for just as negative thoughts can produce panic attacks, positive thoughts can help reduce them.
How well are you managing your stressors? If the answer is “not very well”, you could be heading straight towards a panic attack.  Try using some of the techniques discussed above to take control of your stress and find ways to reduce your anxiety.
Capt. Sarab Sandhu

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