How to Deal With Panic Attacks With the AWARE Method
We can all experience anxiety from time to time but for some people, this can evolve into a full blown panic attack. Some of us will experience this at some time in our lives or will know someone who suffers from this and how crippling this worry can be of having a panic attack in a public place or while driving or even that falling asleep could trigger an attack.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with panic attacks and with the right approach, these methods can be highly effective at getting the problem under control and even preventing them altogether. One such option is to use the ‘AWARE’ strategy.
What is AWARE?
AWARE is an acronym that stands for:
Acknowledge and Accept
Wait and watch
Actions to make yourself comfortable
The key to this way of controlling panic attacks is essentially to accept that the attack is happening and not to try and ‘fight it’. Instead, you simply acknowledge it and then ‘watch’ it as you go about your business as usual. The very best thing to do when having a panic attack? To continue acting as though it’s not happening. This may not be easy, especially when you first try it, after all, when you first notice a panic attack happening, you may find yourself wondering whether you are having a heart attack. And this in itself can be a highly distressing prospect causing even more anxiety.
This means that someone suffering from a panic attack is not only worrying about whatever triggered it in the first place but also whether it is something even more serious. This can lead to escalation and even in the individual passing out or collapsing.
This is why it’s so important not to try and ‘combat’ the effects of a panic attack through sheer will. Fighting it can escalate it, whereas, by ignoring the panic attack, (after recognizing it for what it is) and by being comfortable and allowing it to run its course you can actually find that it goes away much more quickly. And it is possible that by practising the AWARE approach, you could lose the fear of the symptoms, and it may stop happening altogether.
Of course it is still important to try and remove yourself from any potential danger – which may mean pulling over if you are driving or removing yourself from a public space.