6 MOOD BOOSTERS TO TRY IF YOU’RE SINGLE ON VALENTINE’S DAY

For individuals in relationships, Valentine’s Day can be tremendously thrilling. Particularly if you have an affinity for grand gestures of love, this day can be the perfect justification for going all out. However, if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, “love day” might remind them of how alone you feel.

For some, the day of romance can feel like a burden, especially those who are grieving the absence of a relationship. These can bring up bittersweet or unpleasant memories of the past and feed into feelings of loneliness. Below are some tips on how singles can stay upbeat and occupied on when you’re single on Valentine’s Day.

Do Not Stay In

Make efforts to ensure that the night of Valentine’s Day is not spent alone at home. If your loved ones are unavailable, do some volunteer work, check out a cookery class, seek out a singles event or get otherwise involved. Typically, there are some ‘anti-Valentine’s’ events going on and you’ll be surprised by how many individuals head out alone.  This might take some amount of courage. However, it is a great reminder of the number of people who are in a similar situation as you. Sitting home alone, it can feel as if you are the only individual in the world who is not in a relationship. However, this is not the case.

Go Out with Loved Ones

single on Valentine's Day

There are many individuals in our lives who we adore, and a significant other is only one of those individuals. There is nothing that stipulates that because you are not currently involved in a relationship that you cannot spend the day with someone you love and care for. Make Valentine’s Day plans with your best friends, siblings or parents. Remind yourself of how difficult pinning some people down can be when they are in a relationship. You should also rejoice in the fact that you are able to dedicate quality time to other individuals in your life who you love.

Pamper Yourself

Being single on Valentine’s Day gives you the opportunity to engage in whatever you want to do. You don’t need to check in with anybody else. This time away from needing to compromise without having to worry about another person’s needs or wants presents a tremendous opportunity to unselfishly and deservedly concentrate on yourself. “Love day” provides a wonderful chance to pamper and celebrate yourself. Go ahead and spoil yourself by indulging in loving, self-care gifts. Try a scented bubble bath, a facial, a manicure, a pedicure, a massage or a makeover.

Go Get Physical

Traditionally, yoga studios, running trails and gyms are crowded on Valentine’s Day and this is for good reason. Since the heart is way more than just a symbol for Valentine’s Day, keeping it healthy is an essential part of self-love and care. Not being a part of a couple on Valentine’s Day makes it a remarkable time to get into a workout facility. Or even try a Zumba class and dance yourself happy.

Quit Complaining

Loneliness is a painful feeling that can gnaw at your gut and make you miserable; but only if you allow it. It is quite understandable that you might want to vent and grumble for a bit. However, constant complaining tends to annoy other people and make things seem worse than they really are. Among the things that take place when you are complaining repeatedly — even when individuals are caring enough to listen for the first few times — is that you reinforce the issues you are having. You are basically causing your brain to become aggravated repeatedly. Which will only feed the negativity and cause you to feel worse.

Find Satisfaction in Your Situation

If your circumstances do not permit you to date or you opt not to, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Thankfully, your self-worth is not defined by the existence of a significant other or the lack of thereof. There is definitely no need to rush to be in a relationship by Valentine’s Day. Just ensure that you are happy despite your relationship status.

Can Positive Affirmations Create Positive Changes in Your Brain?

Positive affirmations have more power than you think for improving attitudes and challenging those negative thoughts. Growing up I heard two phrases” you are what you eat” and “you are what you think”. As a teenager both were equally difficult to accept and change. Affirmations are positive thoughts that can be used for support and encouragement. When you repeat them daily and believe in them, they will help make positive change in your life.

 

The Power of Positive Thinking

 

Truly successful people in all areas of life don’t just stumble their way to success. They work hard to achieve their goals, and positive thinking can be the key to success. Positive affirmations can inspire and motivate you to take yourself to the next level, whether that is an extraordinary athlete, entrepreneur or top author.  

If you’re relatively new to the idea of expressing positive affirmations, they come in different designs.  Some help you to acknowledge the good that can come from daily life. Here a few of those:

  • I will learn something positive from each mistake I make.
  • I will find someone to share my life with by taking a greater interest in other people.
  • I will not give up on my dreams but pursue each goal steadily until I succeed.

There are affirmations that focus on what you can control and the choices you make in life. Some example of that would be;

Being happy is a choice I make daily and I am grateful for the opportunities that I accept. 

My life is just beginning and I will design it for a peaceful life style. 

My marriage is becoming stronger and stable every day.

What is most important is to believe in yourself and use verbal expression to strengthen your commitment.

Some people have more success by placing their affirmations in the present tense:

  • I am succeeding in my business goals monthly.
  • I make progress in losing weight each day.
  • I support my children as they achieve their goals

Reprogramming Your Thought Patterns

You can reprogram your thought patterns with daily positive affirmations. There is research that supports affirmations to be proven methods of self-improvement.  Just like exercise, utilizing affirmations will increase the production of feel good neurotransmitters that make us feel more positive.

You might have to experiment to find the perfect formula for making positive affirmations, but the technique works and has been proven in scientific studies. The self-affirmation theory has been tested in neuroscientific research, and the findings include evidence that positive affirmations strengthen key neural pathways related to self-worth and taking positive action. Studies also show that positive affirmations reduce stress, reinforce media messages about the best practices for good health and have a positive impact on diet and exercise.

https://positivepsychology.com/daily-affirmations/

https://www.thecut.com/2015/11/why-self-affirmation-works.html

http://www.brainsync.com/blog/rewire-your-brain-with-affirmations/

Make 2020 the most successful New Year yet!

The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect and many of us have evaluated the last few months and are looking for what we can do better.   The new year, the new decade, brings hope and excitement for the future. In our enthusiasm we can set unrealistic goals that could leave us burnt out or frustrated. Here are some tips that will give you a clearer vision on how to set yourself up for success in 2020.

 

1. Ask yourself what is really important to you.

 

Make a list of all the things you would like to accomplish next year and think about why you have included each item. Why are they important? What do they mean to you? Are these goals part of a larger long-term plan? Are you just trying to impress your friends? You need to answer these now to have a solid mental foundation. When things get tough, you can draw on your motivations to keep going instead of giving up. For example, you might want to run your first 5K race to lose weight and be healthy for your children. 

 

2. Establish your priorities.

 

You have several goals and only one year to accomplish them. You need to set clear priorities in order to make meaningful progress. After all, you have a limited amount of free time each day. Your resources are also limited and, you still have work and other responsibilities to attend to. Focus your energies on those that matter most. What would make the biggest positive impact on your future? It really depends on where your priorities lie. Of course, priorities can change so be prepared if that happens.

 

3. Be flexible.

 

It is common to overestimate what we can actually finish. We also fail to anticipate possible challenges along the way. When we fall behind, we get frustrated and lose motivation. It is better to set realistic goals and provide a level of flexibility around each goal.  For example, you might want to read a book per week or 52 books in one year. When you set this goal consider your available time to read, and whether this is all done on personal time. If the reading is for professional enrichment may be some can be done during the work day.

 

4. Create a system that will help you achieve your goals.

 

It is easy to do something good from time to time. However, doing this consistently is difficult. Most people start out guns blazing in January but falter from February onwards. It’s not that they were lazy or incapable. They simply did not have a system that could ensure continued achievement day in and day out. Runners make it a point to wake up early every morning to finish their workouts before responsibilities take over. If they only ran when they found free time, then they are unlikely to train consistently to get faster.

 

5. Optimize your environment.

 

Discipline is surely a vital part of maintaining a system. However, you cannot rely on willpower alone. It will quickly get exhausting if you are in a constant struggle to do what is right. Consider optimizing your environment instead. Make it easy to accomplish your tasks. For example, set a daily alarm to wake yourself up early. Open the curtains facing east to welcome the sun. Prepare healthy meals in advance so you can just heat them up when you’re hungry. Get your shoes, socks, and running clothes ready before going to sleep.

 

6. Eliminate distractions.

 

Even if we know what we should do, we often drag our feet and give in to distractions. We waste countless hours on our phones checking social media, chatting with friends, or playing games. These aren’t bad as long as we limit them. Install an app that can track your phone usage. If you are distracted at home, then work or study in a library.

 

7. Stay focused on your goals.

 

Sometimes we can’t get a rhythm going because we keep thinking about other things we want to do. These may be good ideas you don’t want to forget so write them down in a notebook. Park them for later and resume working on your main task. Get back to these at the end of the day if time allows and tackle them one by one. 

The New Year is a great time to learn from past mistakes and establish better habits. Ensure that you reach your goals this time by keeping them realistic and setting yourself up for success.

https://www.success.com/44-ways-to-kick-start-your-new-year/

https://www.gailgazelle.com/new-years-resolutions-10-tips-to-set-yourself-up-for-success/

https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/why-set-yourself-up-for-failure-ditch-new-years-resolution-do-this-instead.html

GRATITUDE IS GOOD FOR YOU

With Thanksgiving this week, I thought it’d be appropriate to dive into thankfulness and gratitude a little more than usual. You see, there is a brain health aspect to practicing gratitude, as suggested by research, which links gratitude to personal well being. It’s also understandable that in actual practice gratitude can be hard to come by — or rather, hard to force. But perhaps knowing what little moments of thankfulness can do for you and your health will allow you to tap into that part of you, even in the toughest of times, without having to force it.

“Gratitude” and “Well Being”

Grateful CoupleAlthough gratitude is defined in several ways it is overall defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Well being is defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” Surely, it’s no surprise that feeling gratitude would cultivate positive feelings, which then would naturally contribute to feelings of contentment and happiness. Thus, a heightened well being.

But what if gratitude is hard to practice? How can we try to practice gratitude for our own good?

Try Out Some Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to moments of experience with an accepting and friendly attitude so as to observe with all the senses what is happening in each moment.” A lot easier said than done, practicing mindfulness can be very beneficial to one’s mental health and makes it a little easier to feel gratitude in that particular moment (with no pressure) and others going forward. Take a few minutes to nurture and nourish your mind, as it can help free up space for whatever life may throw at you.

Write It Down

Woman JournalingFor years, writing down one’s thoughts and feelings has been used in all types of therapy. Whether it’s writing a letter to someone and not sending it, keeping a dream journal, or perhaps just writing in a journal for contemplation, writing has long been a medium for healthy expression. In this way, it can also be used to practice gratitude. Even if it’s just a sentence, “I’m thankful for the blue birds outside my window this morning,” it’s the small moments that make up the big positive picture.

Say It Out Loud

Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to say how we feel, especially when we’re unhappy or going through something. How about when things are good? Or even when things are not good, what if we take a moment to think of something positive and express it out loud as we normally would, had it been something negative? Hearing that positive thing out loud could very well plant a positive seed in others’ minds as well as yours — a reminder that there are good small moments that, again, make up that bigger picture.

Spin the Negative

Again, easier said than done. And some things may be so difficult or so painful that you simply can’t “spin” it into “good,” or even find something good in it. That’s understandable. But for those moments when something feels like it’s just not going right, like maybe a family member unable to make it to Thanksgiving, try looking at it like this: “At least [insert other family member] will be able to make it this year,” or “at least they’re able to see their other family members this year,” or “this just means they will likely be with us next year.”

Helping Others Increases Gratitude

It’s true. Over the years, research has shown many documented examples of when volunteering or performing acts of kindness can be good for your mental health, increasing one’s sense of well being and lowering symptoms of depression. Even if it’s a small act, like making it a point to tell someone something positive about themselves, or holding the door, or even thanking them for helping you in a particular way in the past — it’s all good ways to practice gratitude.

Thanksgiving Resolution

I want to encourage you this Thanksgiving to start your resolutions a little early, and add to the list “Practice Gratitude,” as it can only be good for you and good for others. In hard times, seeing any little bit of good will help you stay afloat and will encourage others to try similar practices.

ALONE TIME WITHOUT THE GUILT

Women have come a long way in the workforce and family life, but Pew Research shows that women are still more likely to adjust their careers and work schedule to meet the needs of family and children. While men’s involvement at home has gone up significantly since the 60s, research reports that women are still giving more time to housework and childcare on average. As a result, it’s no surprise that women appear to receive less leisure time.

Leisure Isn’t A Luxury

Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. When the To Do List grows longer, our downtime gets shorter. In fact, it’s the first thing to go, as if it’s not a priority, but rather a luxury. What really is leisure? It’s freedom from “coerced” or obligatory tasks. It’s time to enjoy something for yourself.

Leisure, also known as “Me Time,” is necessary to one’s emotional and physical well-being. Lack of time to rest and relax directly affects one’s ability to cope and thrive in life. It’s the whole, “take care of yourself in order to take care of others” thing. Chronic stress eventually becomes a symptom of no downtime, as do other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive disorders, and sleep problems. Think about it. Someone who is sleep deprived, depressed, anxious, and stressed isn’t going to function optimally for their family, boss, friends, or spouse, are they?

Nope. But we’re expected to.

As women, we are much less likely to take time to nurture ourselves or partake in hobbies. In fact, some of us lose sight of what we even love to do, between helping others do what they love to do and helping them survive. Putting family first is great, but what happens when we over-function for them? As a result, we start to under-function for ourselves, which will eventually affect our quality of life, relationships, and the very ones we love.

Socializing is Great But…

…It doesn’t have to mean “Me Time.” Sure, you may not see your friends very often, and when you get a minute, it could be the best opportunity for it. After all, socializing with friends and family is one key to a happy and healthy life. All I ask is that you look inward at these rare moments. When was the last time you did nothing? When was the last time you painted or watched a movie just on your own? If there’s a craving in you for an emotional and social breather, do it. Don’t feel obligated to fill every minute of your time with an action, like finally getting to the gym or running that errand. You’ll drain yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Alone Time Feels Guilty

Feeling selfish about taking some alone time for yourself results from unearned guilt. Many of us believe that, if we have any free time, it should be spent doing things for others. It’s important at these times to remind ourselves that simply taking a moment to ourselves isn’t narcissistic; it’s necessary. Cherilynn Veland, MSW, author of Stop Giving It Away: How to Stop Self-Sacrificing and Start Claiming Your Space, Power and Happiness suggests that we tell ourselves this phrase: “Life isn’t all about me, but it is about me too.”

Make Time for Alone Time

Alone time allows personal reflection, an opportunity to unwind, increases productivity, allows self-discovery, encourages deep thinking, and improves relationships. There are a lot of ways you can spend your “Me Time,” whether it’s watching a movie, buying something nice you wouldn’t otherwise buy, reading a book, or just taking a nap. It’s easier said than done, though.
To help you prioritize time for yourself, make a list of things you love (or used to love) to do and use it next time you have a free hour. In fact, schedule your free time before setting any other appointments or events for the week. Then, set alarms for the Day Of to remind you to stop, unwind, and reboot. Try for twice a week, at least. Ultimately, shift your view of your downtime from being “disposable” to being “valuable,” and make sure to keep whatever activity you choose positive. That way, you’re more likely to associate healthy feelings with your “Me Time,” instead of guilt or restlessness.
It’s high time we start making alone time, even if it’s in small amounts, to heal ourselves and maintain our personal health and happiness. It doesn’t mean we don’t love others; it just means we love ourselves too.

Think Happy, Be Happy

Our thoughts are central to our character. They determine our emotions, how we react to the world in tragedy or in celebration, and how we live mentally, physically, and spiritually. In other words, our deepest thoughts and outlook on the world can directly impact our well-being and our daily lives in a big way.

Positive Thinking Doesn’t Mean Never Feeling Sad

Woman BalancingPositive thinking is an attitude or mindset in which a person generally waits for or expects good or favorable outcomes, whether it’s about how you look at yourself, at others, or at situations you’re in. Keep in mind, though, that positive thinking doesn’t mean you never feel gloomy or pessimistic. It doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be angry or sad. The key to having a positive outlook is balance–making sure you’re not leaning too heavily on the negative side to where it’s making you miserable.

What Affects Your Brain Also Affects Your Life

Our thoughts are released as brain signals, and thoughts that are positive cause the generation and reinforcement of new synapses in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of cognition, and the amygdala, which regulates emotion, work together in a framework to mediate emotional influences on cognitive processes. As a result, we experience increased brain functioning.

On the other hand, a heavier focus on the negative can slow your brain down, hindering one’s emotional wellness. Things like rumination on the past and situations you can’t change, or constant fear and worrying about the future can dim your brain’s functioning, as it leaves no space for pleasurable thoughts. Again, balance is key for your emotional wellness.

Signs of emotional wellness can be seen in one’s degree of resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. Another sign, according to studies, is the ability to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate joyous times. Having self-purpose and meaning, as well as knowing what is important to you, are also contributing factors to your emotional wellness.

Positive Thinking and Your Health

Happy WomanHaving that balance between positive and negative thoughts not only makes you emotionally healthy, but it’s also believed to improve physical health. Studies have shown that an “upbeat mental state” might be linked to “improved health, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk for heart disease, healthier weight, better blood sugar levels, and longer life.”

Similarly, negative thoughts can lead to stress responses, which can hinder your emotional wellness. Positive thinking in various forms, including those with relaxation techniques, can help with stress management and improve one’s health.

When Positive Thinking Doesn’t Come Easy

Identify the Negative

Start noticing your negative thought patterns. Are you blaming yourself every time something goes wrong? Do you let one thing ruin the rest of your day? Throughout the day, notice the areas of your life you’re negative about. That way, you can try approaching those areas differently.

Humor It

Sometimes, not-so-pleasant situations can have humorous aspects to them. Try to notice those, and allow yourself a moment of laughter at the situation.

See “Failures” as Opportunities

Everything we “fail” at, we can learn from. Try to view it as a learning opportunity.

Be Healthy

Having a healthy diet and exercise schedule positively impacts all areas of health. This sets you up for easier, more natural positive thinking throughout your days.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

Negativity breeds negativity. Try to surround yourself with positive mentors and friends who are realistic, but try to magnify the good, allowing it to outweigh the bad.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

This also means overcoming negative self-talk. It may feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first, but its long term effects are valuable. Here’s the best rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else. If you do think something negative, look at it rationally and respond with positive things about yourself, as well as gratitude.

Start Off Positive

While waking up is hard early in the morning, try to start your day with a positive affirmation, whether it’s reading quotes or self meditation.

Live in the Present

It’s true; the present is a gift. Allow yourself to really dwell and live in the here and now, as it’s everything that was and will be. As you enjoy the moment, you’re freeing yourself from past ones and protecting yourself from future ones.

With that, I will leave you with this popular and meaningful affirmation:

Albus Dumbledore Quote

 

Note: This blog was previously posted in Prime Women here.

How Winter Affects Your Brain

Studies new and old have shown that, in fact, moods and behaviors do change depending on seasons, and similarly, brain activity also changes. Here’s what you should know about our brains as the seasons change.

The Season of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Cloudy DayI’m sure you’ve heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that varies with the seasons, often being triggered in late fall and early winter, and subsiding in spring and summer. It is said the lack of light, more clouds, and shorter days in winter are the contributors to seasonal affective disorder, but the causes aren’t concrete. Researchers have found people with seasonal affective disorder may have an imbalance of serotonin, which is a chemical that affects your mood. A person with this disorder could also make too much melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep) and not enough vitamin D. There are ways to combat the symptoms: through light therapy, exercise, eating right, and setting a healthy sleep schedule.

Pay Attention in Summer, Remember in Fall

In a 2016 Belgian study, researchers found that participants’ abilities to perform different tasks remained relatively the same over the year. However, the responses of their brains to the tasks were different depending on the season. For tasks that required sustained attention, brain activity peaked in summer and “bottomed out” in winter. It was nearly the opposite for brain activity in response to tasks that required working memory, as it peaked around autumn and “bottomed out” around spring. So, while neither is necessarily better than the other, they’re certainly different.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Seasonal Affective Disorder LightIt’s also possible the colder months are good for our decision-making abilities. Researchers, as reported by the Scientific American, tested this link and had results suggesting simple cognitive tasks, like decision-making, can be somewhat affected by “excessive ambient warmth.” They figured, as our bodies work hard to maintain a healthy internal temperature, they use up resources that would otherwise be available for mental processing. These findings, however, are not to say that those who live in hotter climates are more prone to poor decision-making; humans are incredibly adaptive to their environments, especially when exposed long term.

If You Have the Winter Blues…

While these are interesting findings, it doesn’t change the fact that some of us love winter and some of us hate it. Here’s how to embrace the colder months if you have the winter blues.

  • Use early morning or midday to your advantage and take a walk while the sun is still out. Get that vitamin D on your lunch break. Also, eat good sources of vitamin D when the skies are gray.
  • Soothe the soul with warm beverages and foods like herbal teas, coffee, and soups.
  • Keep your house and your toes warm, and if you need that extra kick of warmth, get a space heater and some of these thermal socks. This is also the perfect excuse to have mounds of comfortable throw blankets on every couch, chair, and bed.
  • Wear bright colors or just colors that make you happy. Often, red is associated with high energy and power. Orange is warm and inviting, and yellow is often associated with optimism and cheeriness.
  • Work on a project that will help you stay mentally active and will be a fun way to get you through the winter months.
  • Spend your time with optimistic people.

Don’t Let Winter Give You the Cold Shoulder

Ultimately, try not to let your spirit drop as the temperatures do. If winter gives you the cold shoulder, start focusing on self-care and the other coping mechanisms above. Your brain will thank you for it!

 

Note: This blog was previously posted in Prime Women here.

How to Have Some Fun and Increase the White Matter Integrity in the Brain

People have been obsessed with reversing the aging process since the days of Ponce de Leon and his ‘fountain of youth’. In the last few decades, we’ve seen huge shifts in longevity in developed countries.  More people are not only reaching old age, they’re reaching very old age.  Researchers have been focusing their studies on finding new strategies to meet the concept of ‘successful aging’ – the avoidance of disease and disability and the maintenance of physical and cognitive functions with an engagement in social and productive activities.

During aging, sensorimotor, cognitive and physical performance all decline, but new research indicates that they can improved by training and exercise, indicating that age-related changes are treatable. Dance therapy is increasingly used because it combines many diverse features making it a great tool for increasing physical performance – as well as brain performance!

For years, studies have been focused on programs aimed at improving aerobic capacity and cognitive functions in elderly individuals through physical exercise programs since there is a close relationship between physical fitness and cognitive performance.  But new research finds the benefits of dancing may go well beyond physical exercise therapy because dancing provides increased sensory, motor, and cognitive demands. Dancing is an activity that emerged from a need for social interaction and non-verbal communication, and it is a universal human expression consistent across generations, cultures, and social classes throughout the world. Compared to activities such as physical exercise or playing an instrument, dance comprises rhythmic motor coordination, balance and memory, emotions, affection, social interaction, acoustic stimulation, and musical experience apart from its requirements for physical activity.  This unique combination of properties makes dance a powerful interventional approach to aging. For these reasons, dance has also been established as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, dementia, overweight children, and patients with serious mental illness.

Research has found that dancing is a promising neuro-plasticity tool that elicits activity in multiple brain regions.  A recent study compared the effects of dancing, walking and walking combined with a nutritional intervention to an active control intervention (stretching and toning) on the brain’s white matter integrity (WMI). WMI is a reliable marker of aging in the brain, and lifestyle interventions that promote maintained or improved WMI may be a key ingredient in protecting against cognitive decline and dementia.

Subjects who participated in the dance therapy, which offers a more challenging complex ideo-motor “workout” for the body and the brain, saw significant levels of increased WMI in the fornix, a pathway area of the brain associated with the hippocampus, a key location for learning and memory.  The conclusion was that a proactive program that combines physical, cognitive and social engagement may be a “best bet” for maintaining or improving white matter integrity across the aging process.

THE TAKEAWAY: Dancing is just one way to “up” the ante and offer workouts that not only challenge the body but engage the mind and offer social opportunities. This study confirms the added value of such complex ideo-motor activities over simple motor workouts such as walking, as well as the boost of social-based training for better brain health.

So don’t just sit there – get up DANCE!

 

6 Tips for Coping with Panic Attacks

1.     If you feel that you are about to have a panic attack, check your breathing. Breath slowly in and out of a brown paper bag or cupped hands.

2.     Change your lifestyle. Exercise, this helps burn off excessive adrenaline. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol, eat regular meals to keep blood sugar levels stable.

3.     Do not try to fight your way out of a panic attack – this will increase the adrenaline. Try to simply accept that the feelings will come and go, and allow the symptoms to play their tricks, as they will.  Visualize yourself floating over them. Eventually the panic will go away.

4.     Don’t bottle up your feelings. Confide in someone, such as a friend, family member or counselor.

5.     Listen to music or do a pleasurable activity while you wait for the panic to subside.

6.     Learn a relaxation technique. Close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply. Try breathing 5 to 6 breaths per minute. Locate the areas of tension and imagine them disappearing. Relax each part of your body, starting from the feet upwards.

For more info on panic disorders please visit National Institute for Mental Health.