Relaxation:  A Healthy Tool to Control Anxiety and Panic Attacks

By: Michael Smallwood

A never-ending nightmare is often the best way to describe the daily life of an anxiety or panic disorder sufferer.  They live in constant fear and uncertainty as to when the next attack will come or how strong it will be this time around. An anxiety or panic attack overwhelms your nervous system, and causes you to have a sense of confusion, leaving you disconnected from the world around you. 

Irrational thoughts and fears force you to lose all self-control of your emotions. By learning how to control your emotions with various relaxation self-help techniques, you will be able to bring yourself some relief and control over your disorder; that is sometimes hard to come by depending on medications alone.  

Many relaxation programs are available to help you find relief from the disruptive affect anxiety and panic disorders have on your life. Effective relaxation techniques range from meditation, hypnosis, and visualizion to the more common and simple deep breathing with music that you can do anytime from the comfort of your home. These different methods have similar goals.  They provide you with skills to help you relax and to gain confidence in your abilities to face any attack without first becoming overwhelmed.

Basic deep breathing is a common and simple relaxation exercise where you may turn on some calming music and close your eyes while taking slow deep breaths. This method is the basis of all the other techniques mentioned. It helps you learn how to relax your emotions with deep breathing and thought distraction through the soothing music.

Non-spiritual meditation, can assist you in learning how to focus your thoughts on your breathing instead of your disorder's symptoms.  By concentrating more on your breathing, you will be able to distract your mind, even if for a moment, away from the attack, giving you a chance to regain control of the situation.  

Visualization works in a similar manner to meditation, by using a voice recording or your own imagination to describe a peaceful and pleasant place to focus on. Again, the goal is to distract your focus away from your disorder and onto something more relaxing. As you visualize your pleasant  image, you will start to notice that your breathing is more relaxed, your muscles are not as tense and your blood pressure is returning to a normal level. All of these emotional effects contribute to the overall force of an attack.

Hypnosis is sometimes used when sufferers cannot find the confidence hidden inside them and need additional support to overcome and manage their irrational fears that trigger panic attacks. With anxiety attacks, gaining positive self-confidence provides reassurance that you can face and get through any situation.  

Facing anxiety and panic attacks everyday can be overwhelming.  Using any form of self-help techniques along with any medications that you may be taking; is an effective strategy to bring relief and freedom from anxiety or panic disorder's grip on your life.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Michael Smallwood
Michael Smallwood is a freelance writer, specializing in but not limited to, anxiety and panic disorder self-help recovery. He also suffered from anxiety and panic disorder for 15 years, before finding relief through self-help techniques supported by medication. You can contact him for questions, comments, or assignment inquires at: Contact Michael Smallwood  

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