As somebody who has struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for fifteen years, I understand what you’re going through. The first time I ever had a panic attack, I thought I was dying. The worst part about panic attacks is when you’ve had one you’re always afraid you’re going to have another one, which makes your anxiety worse. It’s a vicious cycle but it can be broken if you take the right steps.

First, when you’re having an anxiety attack or feel like you’re going to have one, it’s really important to focus on your breathing. Forcing yourself to take as full and deep a breath as you can and letting it out slowly will give your mind something else to focus on while you’re in a panicky state.

Second, while you’re concentrating on your breathing, distract yourself. If you’re walking in a busy shopping mall, look around and find something interesting to take your mind off your fear. “I wonder what they sell in this store” or “Who in the world would wear that top with those shorts?” You’ll get your mind off your fear and onto another subject, even if it’s a silly one.

Third, it may seem a bit corny at first but saying positive affirmations to yourself can help nip a panic attack in the bud. Something simple such as, “I am calm and at peace” combined with consciously relaxing any tense muscles should ease anxious feelings.

If you find yourself becoming anxious while driving, turn up the easy listening station and hum along. Humming is used often in Tibetan meditation and has a soothing, calming effect on body and mind.

One thing you might want to try to ease anxiety before it becomes a panic attack is journaling. It can help you to sort out any jumbled, anxious thoughts or worries you may have and make more sense out of them. You might surprise yourself with what you learn after five or ten minutes of uncensored writing or typing.

Exercise is a great way to keep fit but it’s also good for the mind and emotions. Just twenty minutes a day can increases the levels of serotonin in your brain and may reduce anxiety. You don’t need to join a gym unless you want to. Walking, hiking, biking, dancing to your favorite CD, light weight training or yoga can all be done in or around your own home.

Certain foods can increase your anxiety levels so you should limit your intake of caffeine, processed foods, sugar and alcohol. Though a glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage can be soothing, more than that dehydrates the body and deprives it of essential nutrients, which, in the long run, makes you feel more anxious than you did when you started.

Also, when it comes to food, here’s something you may never have thought of. If you have an unknown food allergy or intolerance, it could be what’s causing your anxiety. I know from personal experience that when I found out about and eliminated the foods I was intolerant to, my anxiety decreased dramatically and I became a much more positive, healthy person all around. The most common food allergens are wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, citrus fruit, nuts, shellfish and eggs. It might be very beneficial to you to cut all of these foods out of your diet for one week and then reintroduce them one at a time. If you have a physical reaction, it’s possible that whatever food you’re allergic or intolerant to contributes to your anxiety as well.

Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, causes magnesium depletion and magnesium deficiency has been linked to anxiety and panic attacks. Therefore, it may be beneficial to increase your intake of this vital mineral. Magnesium occurs naturally in foods such as: chicken, green, leafy vegetables, oats, cocoa, nuts and seeds and whole grains. If you choose to take a supplement, take chelated magnesium as it is best absorbed by the body.
Note: If your anxiety is related to a past or recent trauma, it is a good idea to consult a qualified therapist who may have additional suggestions for healing from panic and anxiety. If, at any time, you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, call a crisis center immediately.

Click the link below for a suicide hotline.

Author's Bio: 

Jaime is the creator and founder of It's a website dedicated to validating mystery symptoms and offering natural, alternative methods of treatment. Her articles focus on getting to the 'root cause' of a problem, not merely masking the symptoms.