Don’t worry — everybody gets panic attacks.
First and foremost, know that the people around you are mentally supporting you. You are not alone — because we’ve all been there too.
So, whether you freeze up during a company presentation or are it just comes out of nowhere, cycle through these seven steps to get back to the old you.
1. Acknowledge the anxiety
First step is to realize the situation. Don’t pretend that it’s not happening, because then it just may completely take over when you are trying so hard to squash it. Instead, acknowledge that the panic is starting to simmer.
2. Breathe deeply
When our anxiety heightens, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow, we don’t get enough oxygen to our brains and, thus, we get dizzy and lightheaded. Taking deep, slow inhales and exhales will begin to physically get your body back to its normal state.
3. Concentrate on something
Several sources suggest to focus on something else. Force your brain to forget the situation at hand by reciting the alphabet backward or counting backward from 100 by three’s.
4. Downplay the situation
Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to look at the big picture. Panic attacks last only about 10 minutes — the situation will be over before you know it. Think about something that you’re looking forward to (like your friend’s birthday this weekend or tonight’s dinner date), and think of your current situation as just a tiny item on your to-do list.
5. Envision success
Imagine all the positive things that can come of this situation. Turn that frown upside down, and get excited. You could score a job! A date! A promotion! Come on, baby, let’s get psyched up!
6. Fake it
Celebrities are some of the most insecure people — but you’d never know it. Because they fake it. They pretend they’re confident and strong and beautiful (Sasha Fierce) even when that’s the last thing they are thinking (Beyoncé Knowles). So even if speeches aren’t your forte, go ahead and “fake” the stage by storm.
7. Ground yourself
The simple tool of touch can be very powerful. Panic attacks can make you feel so disconnected from reality. One of the best ways to bring me back down to Earth is to literally feel the real world. Feel the shoes on your feet, smooth your hand against the wood of the podium, or slide your hand along the armrest. It will pull you back into the moment and get you out of your head.