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    Millions of people in America suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.  They experience a shortness of breath, an increased heart rate and have an overwhelming sense of terror.  These attacks are generally brief, lasting anywhere from five to twenty minutes.  People who experience panic attacks feel as if they are in a room with the walls closing in, creating a sense of claustrophobia and anxiety.  It is not certain what the cause of these panic attacks are.  What is known is that there are several methods for overcoming anxiety.

    Since it is not known what the root of panic attacks is, there is no definitive cure that has been developed for this condition.  There are several types of medication that are designed to correct chemical imbalances in the brain that are believed to be the cause of panic and anxiety attacks.  Many people choose to take medication in order to help them cope with their situation.  For those who are not interested in taking drugs for their condition, there are other methods for overcoming anxiety that seem to be just as effective as taking medication.  These methods involve breathing exercises and engaging in different activities that are meant to redirect the focus of the mind.

    The first step in overcoming anxiety is to recognize the symptoms.  This means that a person must be aware that they are experiencing a panic attack by recognizing the shortness of breath, increased heart rate and the sense of fear.  Once it is recognized that there is a panic attack occurring, the person may then take steps to overcome it.  The goal of many nondrug methods is to redirect the mind away from focusing on the panic.  The best way to do this is to engage in a breathing exercise.

    A breathing exercise is simple to do.  It involves focusing all of the mind’s attention on the breath.  By focusing on the breath, the mind is not fueling the panic attack by dwelling on this condition.  When the mind is not always thinking about the fact that it is in a state of panic, the panic attack will begin to subside.  By focusing on the breath, the mind’s focus will move away from the panic and will begin to relax.  It is not easy to redirect the focus of the mind to something as subtle as the breath, however with practice, it will become an effective method in overcoming anxiety.

    Another method is to engage in physical activity.  This includes going for a run, doing jumping jacks or another form of physical activity.  This will force the mind to redirect it’s focus to the activity and away from the panic and anxiety, giving the attack no fuel with which to sustain itself.  This is a common method that appears to work for many people.  People who are experiencing a panic attack, and recognize that they are having an attack, will be able to engage in one of these activities as a way for overcoming anxiety.