Life on this planet is short and if you suffer from panic attacks and agoraphobia, I am betting that you have spent a lot of time in the house and very little exploring the joys that life has to offer. Let’s get you out into the world again! What do you gain from having panic attacks? What a ridiculous question this seems! Let’s take a deeper look though and see if any of these apply to you.
Agoraphobia and Anxiety Symptoms
Are you able to avoid being an empowered grown up and all the responsibilities and freedom that go with that? Do panic attacks enable you to be the controlling force in all the things your spouse or family do…even if it is a negative thing? Are you able to justify your lack of motivation or energy on panic attacks? What is your currency? What would get you moving again? What have you got that means more to you than panic attacks?
Let’s say that you won the lottery, started a new relationship, took a tropical holiday, would that get you moving again? What I am suggesting is that we all have a personal currency and what you need to find is something that is of more value to you than panic disorder. I was housebound with it for many years and my currency was getting a dog. I loved my new dog, Murphy, a great deal.
At first, I could only go a few feet from home with him before I would have to run back to the safety of my front door. He must have been very bewildered as to why he took such short walks when the other neighborhood dogs went around the park! As time went on, however, my love for this dog and his needs for a daily walk of substance became more important to me than the panic.
I remember reading once about a man who was housebound with panic attacks. He and his wife had tried all sorts of therapy but with no success. Finally, his wife packed a suitcase and called a taxi. While she waited for the taxi, she told her husband that she had no choice but to leave him as her own health was suffering from his panic disorder.
When he saw that he was about to lose the wife he adored, he jumped into the taxi beside her and never looked back. They went on to a new life that was panic free because he realized that she was more important to him than the panic. In his future, whenever he felt panic coming on, he let it do its worst and quickly lost the fear of the sensations of fear.
Agoraphobia and Anxiety Strategies
I am in no way suggesting that leaving your spouse or family is the way to manipulate a spouse to get over panic disorder. I am only pointing out that we all have a currency that works better for us than panic disorder. Do you have an orange in the house? When we over breathe (hyperventilate), we can bring on a panic attack. We tend to breathe from high up in our chest and breathe in a shallow rhythm. Lie down on the floor and place the orange about belly button height.
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Now practice breathing slowly and at an even pace from your diaphragm. As you watch the orange move slowly, up and down, up and down, you will know that you are doing this exercise correctly. This tip alone will cut down your panic attacks. Practice, practice, practice! You are better off cold than hot if you have panic disorder. Studies have proven this.
Invest in a personal cooler that fills with water and sprays a fine cold mist around your neck or wrist. Another way to feel cool is to always carry mints with you. When you feel a panic attack coming on, chew several of them. The burst of cooling mint will ease the panic. Another tool is to carry a small freezer gel block, the sort that you would use for a cooler. If you feel hot and about to panic, place the block wherever it will soothe and cool you. It works!
Watch out for the second fear. When we feel a panic attack coming on, if we let it whoosh through us, it will go quite quickly. It is when we add a second fear, such as,
“Oh, no, what’s going to happen next?”
” I can’t stop it! I’m going to make a fool of myself in front of these people”.
“What if I pass out?”
These second and third and fourth fears are what give the panic attack more energy. Rather, sit or stand quietly, try to make your mind blank, breathe slowly and rhythmically, and the panic attack will go away. It is the fear of the sensations of fear that keep us bound. Once your brain sees that you do not attach undue importance to these feelings, it will stop trying to protect you by going into the fight or flight mode. Of course, we want this protection if a hungry lion is sitting beside us but we don’t usually need it when we are standing in a line at the grocery store!
What we focus on, expands. If we fill our mind with negative or frightening images, that is what our mind will hold on to. Focus instead on happy and uplifting things. Re-evaluate the movies, magazines and video games you play. Focus on seeing yourself panic free. Where would you like to see yourself panic free, on the beach watching the clouds roll by, playing games with your children or grandchildren, watching their happy faces? Your imagination can transport you anywhere and is better than any television or movie. Practice day dreaming scenes where you are panic free and enjoying yourself.
It might be hard at first but please persevere. Your life is too precious to waste in panic attacks. If you can’t imagine being panic free just yet, imagine being in beautiful surroundings, having a mild panic attack that goes quickly. When you see that it’s gone, quickly return to having fun again in your day dream. Are you eating well? Most panic attack sufferers could improve their diet but often lack the energy to cook. Easy peasy! Start the day with a delicious, nutrient packed smoothie. Most supermarkets will deliver the ingredients to your door or ask a friend to shop for you.
Each morning, put in one cup of milk, one scoop of protein powder, (vanilla or fruit flavor), a cup of frozen berries or other frozen fruit and a vitamin capsule with the outer case removed. Blend it all together. You will find that the frozen fruit will thicken it so it is like ice cream. Ice cream with nutrition, that is! This tip will set you up for the day and make it less likely that you will have a panic attack. Do you know that millions of people around the world suffer with panic attacks and agoraphobia? Bet you do. Do you also know that many can recover completely using these tips? Give them a try. You may well be the next.
June Steed is a caring and experienced life coach located in Western Canada. She coaches worldwide by phone, email or Skype. Her special expertise is in helping those who suffer with panic attacks, and housebound agoraphobia. She will also coach the housebound live, on their cell phone, as they venture out from the safety of their home. Compassionate and dedicated to her clients’ success, she can be contacted at her websitehttp://www.junesteedlifecoach.com on Twitter as @JuneSLifeCoach or at junesteedlifecoach on Facebook.