4 Tips for Coping with Panic Attacks in Social Situations

Coping with panic attacks can be a big chunk of what getting your Social Anxiety under control is all about, learning to deal with those intense scenarios is probably the first step for recovery and toning down your anxiety is surely the first issue to tackle.

Calming down your mind is basically a life-long journey, in this case, coping with panic attacks means controlling those moments intense moments.

First, you need to understand what it all involves.

1. Coping with panic attacks - The Source of the physical symptoms:

Panic is a completely normal reaction to any important stimulus, if a wild tiger were to appear behind the bushes while you’re butterfly hunting; panic would save your life or at least prepare you to do so.

You heart rate increases and your breathing becomes faster, your mind perceives danger and prepares your body to fight or run.

Even though most of those dangers don’t regularly exist anymore, our instincts still remain intact. On some level we still feel those emotions when any perceived danger arises. Even when it actually represents a life threatening event or not.

Any panic attack means an extreme appearance of these emotions to the point where at some level we really do feel like there’s a life threatening situation going on right before our eyes.

2. Understand it:

Whatever is causing you to have such an intense panic emotion is actually something you must understand about yourself. Finding yourself stuck somewhere and surrounded by strangers is NOT a life threatening situation, however, it might FEEL like one and that’s completely normal.

The first step is to understand why these emotions are rising up.

  • Why do I feel such panic around people?
  • Is it really threatening my life?
  • What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t do ‘well’ in this interaction?

Don’t pretend that adding logic to it will fix everything and make the emotions go away, but at some level you shall actually come to a LOGIC agreement with yourself as to why such fear doesn’t make any sense.

3. Accept it:

Beating up yourself for how you feel is the absolute best way to destroy your self-esteem. Acceptance is not about conforming to your current situation but rather about fully embracing who you are and helping yourself reach that better position you want to be in.

Whenever you are facing a panic, attack you should already know why this is happening (understand it), the second step it to fully accept it for what it is. This is a normal reaction to a pretty scary stimulus; your body is actually doing the right thing.

Resisting it, fighting it, thinking ‘I shouldn’t feel this way’, are only going to make it worse. Because resistance will only make this ‘stimulus’ scarier.

4. Learn ways to calm yourself:

Once you get to that point where you fully accept it and you just think ‘yep, this is happening and I’m going to fully accept it for what it is and do my best to get good at calming myself down’, you take a huge chunk of the conflicting thoughts out of the formula and you can just start actually practicing ways to relax.

Breathing:

Countless sites tell you to practice your breathing, the reason why this works is because just like fast breathing stimulates your body’s high stimulus state; good, deep, and slow breathing stimulates your relaxation state.

Racing thoughts might not stop and the situation you’re in might not go away, but those aren’t really the problems at the moment.

Retrieve yourself calmly from the social situation. Take a deep breath that starts in your belly, then inflate your lungs and hold your breath for about five seconds, then exhale slowly. Repeat this counting up to ten then counting down from ten. By the time you’re down you should feel much more relaxed.

Exercise and Work on your Health:

Exercise is a natural way to release endorphins and endorphins make you feel good and confident. Complimentary working on areas such as your health and looks will help you enormously in all your social aspects.

Take your health seriously, not only to improve your confidence but to actually transform your brain chemistry.

See a therapist:

Nothing helps you more than a live expert who you can openly discuss any issues with, an expert’s opinion shouldn’t go underrated.

Competence Builds Confidence:

Avoiding those social situations that might make you panic only reinforces the idea that those situations are ‘dangerous’. Tackling these particular situations is the only way to build comfort around them in the long term. A long term plan to coping with panic attacks is to stop wanting them to stop right now and start thinking long term.

Sleep Better:

Researchers from various universities have found a direct relation between bad sleeping patterns and being more likely to suffer from anxiety.

Talking about sleep is just another very interesting can of worms, but the general guidelines on to help you on coping with panic attacks are:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours per night (oversleeping isn’t good either).
  • Make your room as dark as possible while sleeping.
  • Learn more about your sleeping patterns.

Coping with social panic attacks becomes a practice game in the long run, those panic moments won’t magically disappear. You can only train yourself to see them under a different light, practice ways to reduce the symptoms and work with it in the long run with an overall lifestyle change. Go out and get social.


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