Many people suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, especially today’s busy parents. Panic attacks come unexpectedly, so those that get them often live in fear of the next attack. The fear of the next panic attack is paralyzing and disabling for those that get them. Worse yet, it is difficult for panic attack sufferers to trust that any treatment will eradicate their anxiety. Here are some tips on how to use meditation for managing anxiety and panic attacks.
Does Meditation Really Help with Panic Attacks?
Many of those with severe anxiety are on medication or in professional mental health treatment. Professional therapists and doctors advise their clients to make lifestyle changes to help them cope and prevent panic episodes. In fact, many therapists receive training in mindfulness meditation and recommend this practice to their clients with anxiety. Also, they prescribe meditation to augment or replace other treatments that come with troubling side effects.
Some of the symptoms that accompany anxiety attacks include heart palpitations, hyperventilation, difficulty catching your breath, dizziness and unrelenting worry. Focusing is difficult during times of moderate to severe anxiety and panic. However, many people get relief by using meditation for managing anxiety and panic attacks with great success.
How Mindfulness Meditation Can Help Those with Anxiety
When feeling an impending panic attack, it is helpful to ground yourself in the present. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing. Manage your breathing in even, full breaths. Panic attacks are often marked by increasingly rapid and shallow breaths, which can quickly develop into hyperventilation. This method is useful as a rescue meditation.
The most long-term effective way to use a meditation program is preventive. By practicing meditation daily when no anxiety symptoms are present, meditation prevents symptoms from appearing. Experts know that most anxiety contains thoughts about regrets about the past and worry about the future. But when you put your focus on the present moment, you can head off some of those distressing thoughts.
Practicing being mindful, being present in this moment, helps prevent anxiety and stress. Breathing exercises, body scans, and meditations help calm you and provide the tools you need to cope with whatever life throws at you. Meditation is effective as both a prevention and an immediate treatment for anxiety and panic. But you need to practice, practice, practice. Mindful meditation can even help the most anxious people.