How To Control Panic Attacks (For Toxic Relationship Survivors) – The AWARE Method for Overcoming Panic Attacks (Actionable Self-Help Tips)
All of us experience anxiety from time to time but this is especially true for people who have been in toxic relationships with narcissists. And, it’s tougher when it evolves into a full anxiety attack or a panic attack. This is something that most of us will experience at some time in our lives and that can ultimately become crippling as you worry that heading out into public spaces could result in fainting, or that falling asleep could trigger an episode.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat 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
Each of these parts is described in detail in this video.
The key to this 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 way to fight a panic attack? To continue acting as though it’s not happening.
When you first notice a panic attack begin, you will find that the symptoms can be somewhat similar to what you imagine a heart attack to be like.
As you may expect, this in itself can be a highly distressing prospect and actually creates much more anxiety. Other people are actually afraid of anxiety attacks themselves because they dislike the experience so much.
Thus it’s common to start worrying about the panic attack itself as well as whatever triggered it. It’s this subsequent panic that can lead to escalation and ultimately result in the individual passing out of collapsing.
And this, in turn, is why it’s so important not to try and ‘combat’ the effects of a panic attack through sheer will. Instead, by ignoring the panic attack, by 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. What’s more, is that once you lose the fear of the symptoms, it will eventually 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. Be sure to see your doctor before using any self-help tips you find here or anywhere on the internet.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.