Dealing with Panic Attacks - part 2

I had alot of good feedback from the two earlier posts about panic attacks.  Thank you.  So very much.  I am grateful for your input and your encouragement.  And I'm glad to know this is indeed a relevant subject.
If you missed the earlier posts, scroll down and read them -- both are foundational for this one and the next because I will pick up where they left off but I won't recap them here.

Based on my research and interviews, I have some suggestions for what to do when panic strikes, some tips for the "real time" of a panic attack. One authority described a panic attack as "a comprehensive emotional nightmare".  Agreed.  But it's not only emotional.  It's also when your heart pounds and you can't breathe. You might experience dizziness or an inability to catch your breath.  Or symptoms that mimic a heart attack, chest pains, a heaviness in the chest.  Chills, tingling in the hands or feet, sweaty palms, flushed face, twitching muscles, trembling all over.  "Comprehensive" is quite accurate.  You are controlled by there feelings and that is helpless.

1.  The first thing I would share is that courage is not the absence of fear. You do not have to "feel brave" in order to gain victory over feelings of panic and fear.  Courage is rather doing the right thing in spite of how you feel.  So speak that truth to your heart now, when you are  not in the midst of paralyzing panic, and commit to reminding yourself of that truth when you feel suffocated by alarming anxiety.

2.  Because I confidently believe that God's Word is not only Truth but it is also powerful, the next thing I have to offer is what Scripture says in Proverbs 3:25,26

Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will keep your foot from being caught

"Sudden terror" is describing a panic attack.  There are other passages such as Psalm 55:4,5  which recount the symptoms
My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
    and horror overwhelms me

and the next verses illustrate exactly what one longs to do in the midst of such fear:

I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
I would hurry to find a shelter
    from the raging wind and tempest.”

There is a desperate desire to flee but that won't solve the problem.  Instead, rehearse these steps ahead of time, when you don't feel the raging wind and tempest, a time when the fear is not controlling your thoughts and body. And know that you do not have to fear the fear.  You do not have to be afraid of the panic.

3.  Here are the steps:
  - Admit that, although embarrassing and uncomfortable, panic attacks will not kill you and no single attack will last forever.  All you have to do is endure some difficult moments - you will not die.  And in a relatively short period of time, normalcy will return.
  - Anticipate places of "trigger" and rehearse exactly what you will do when you step into that situation. 
  - Acknowledge the attack for what it is - do not fight it but rather name it and then accept what is happening  It is uncomfortable and undesirable but it is not mysterious.
  -Advance - do not isolate yourself or "flee" thinking you should just "deal with it" until it passes.  Instead, proceed with whatever you are involved in as normally as possible.

 - Alternative attention - distract yourself by talking with whomever is around you (one woman said she chatted intensely with her children about other subjects so she could force her mind to focus elsewhere; another person said she used humor to distract herself)
  -Address the physiological symptoms - when your heart is racing and you feel like you cannot breathe, you most likely feel helpless to control what is happening.  But you are not!  Every single physician and counselor that I consulted assured me (insisted!) that we have amazing abilities to effect changes in our heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory activity by mental disciplines.  Perhaps it sounds cliché, but "mind over matter" is real.  One phrase that was used repetitively was "redirect the circuit" to regain physiological equilibrium.  Things such as breathing deeply and slowly, even breathing into a paper bag, can signal your body to relax and free itself from the panic.

4.  The main thing to do is to commit to these steps, rehearse them, and accept that these tips will work.  Don't let yourself dismiss them or consider yourself an exception.  No one is "so special" that they are exempt from the reality that success is possible.

5.  While "mind over matter" is the key to handling a panic attack, there is much more to address in preventing future ones.  That will be another post.