How to ex­ist in the 21st cen­tury and not have a panic at­tack

MATT HAIG SHARES HIS TRIED AND TESTED AD­VICE

In the Moment - - Wellbeing -

CHECK IN

Keep an eye on your­self. Be your own friend. Be your own par­ent. Be kind to your­self. Check on what you are do­ing. Do you need to watch the last episode of the se­ries when it is af­ter mid­night? Do you need that third or fourth glass of wine? Is that re­ally in your best in­ter­ests?

IN­HALE, EX­HALE

Breathe. Breathe deep and pure and smooth. Con­cen­trate on it. Breath­ing is the pace you set your life at. It’s the rhythm of the song of you. It’s how to get back to the cen­tre of things. The cen­tre of your­self. When the world wants to take you in ev­ery other di­rec­tion. It was the rst thing you learned to do. The most es­sen­tial and sim­ple thing you do. To be aware of breath is to re­mem­ber you are alive.

GEN­TLY DOES IT

Don’t grab life by the throat. As the writer Ray Brad­bury said: “Life should be touched, not stran­gled“.

SIM­PLIFY THINGS De­clut­ter your mind. Panic is the prod­uct of over­load. In an over­loaded world, we need to have a lter. We need to sim­plify things. We need to dis­con­nect some­times. We need to stop star­ing at our phones. To have mo­ments of not think­ing about work. A kind of men­tal feng shui.

FIND AC­CEP­TANCE

Ac­cept feel­ings. And ac­cept that they are just that: feel­ings.

SOOTH­ING SOUNDS

Lis­ten to calm noise; things that aren’t as stim­u­lat­ing as mu­sic. Think waves, your own breath, a breeze through the leaves, the purr of a cat, and best of all: rain.

MAKE PANIC YOUR PAL

If you feel panic ris­ing, the in­stinc­tive re­ac­tion is to panic some more; to panic about the panic. The trick is to try to feel panic with­out pan­ick­ing about it. This is nearly – but not quite – im­pos­si­ble. My panic dis­or­der was de ned by fre­quent panic at­tacks and the con­tin­u­ous hellish fear of the next one. By the time I’d had hundreds of panic at­tacks, I be­gan to tell my­self I wanted them. I didn’t, ob­vi­ously. But I used to work hard at try­ing to in­vite the panic – as a test, to see how I could cope. The more I in­vited it, the less it wanted to stay around.

MOVE IT

Stretch and ex­er­cise. Panic is phys­i­cal as well as men­tal. For me, run­ning and yoga help more than any­thing else.

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