Treat the Physical
- Asthma Action Plan. The American Lung Association has a fantastic resource to monitor, track and respond to increasing symptoms. Completing the plan as a family helps give everyone a sense of control through a recommendation of care. Writing and seeing information on paper reduces worry. Rather than asking yourself endless “what ifs,” you can simply refer to the action plan. Produce multiple copies of the plan and keep duplicates in places where symptoms are likely to strike.
Treat the Mental
If your physical health symptoms are treated to an acceptable level, you can move on towards mental health aspects of your well-being. Follow the steps below to MAKE anxiety a thing of the past. Here’s how:
- Monitor. Whenever you monitor your symptoms, you need patience, understanding and a willingness to perceive your symptoms as objectively as possible. Like in asthma, note the triggers including situations, people and stressors that spike symptoms. Listen to what your body is telling you by acknowledging your physical symptoms. Do you get sweaty, restless or tightness in your chest? Listen to what your thoughts are telling you to accept the cognitive symptoms. Do you imagine that you dying or think that you are going crazy?
- Action. If your monitoring system is sending you clues that anxiety is increasing, use your tested and reliable relaxation techniques. Only the best relaxation techniques will be helpful when it comes to damage control. Damage control could be using a medication, deep breathing or muscle relaxation. During the process, remind yourself that anxiety is always “discomfort, not danger.” This attack will not kill you. If medication is your most frequently used action, consider an alternative. Medication works quickly and is effective but does little to reduce future attacks. Preventive action will allow you to experiment with techniques and interventions appropriate for each situation while symptoms are low.
- Keep at it. You will not be successful in your first attempts of reducing a panic attack, but the drive to keep going will allow for future success. Stopping anxiety means a huge shift in the way you think and respond to these situations. These actions will not change without effort. Worry only increases anxiety. Imagine spending the energy you put towards worrying in ways that actually decrease anxiety. By keeping at it, you give yourself opportunity that you would not have otherwise.
- End it. If you keep at it, you end it. Just like every asthma attack ends, every panic attack ends. In fact, if you follow the information above fully, work hard to find new interventions and practice them until perfection, you could end anxiety altogether.
With the stress associated with asthma, you know that anxiety is soon to follow. It is not a question of if; it is a question of when. Knowing this allows you the occasion to move with purpose. By limiting the physical symptoms, you can lower the stress, and lower stress leads to a better opportunity to reduce the anxiety and MAKE it end. The best-case scenario is being so preventive that anxiety does not have the chance to fully emerge. Don’t let asthma and anxiety leave you breathless.