Anxiety therapy – Distract yourself

Here is a short post about a technique that helped me regain control during a moment of pure panic.


Anyone reading this that suffers from anxiety and panic attacks knows that if you can distract yourself and focus on what is going on around you then you can quickly relieve the symptoms.

The situation

I had just moved to Jersey City, on the other side of the Hudson from Manhattan. I arrived on a Saturday evening and when I woke up on Sunday I was extremely excited to get into the city and begin to discover New York. With the station directly outside the door of my apartment, I thought nothing of it and entered the subway going in the direction of New York. After a few minutes of travelling without a stop, I suddenly began to feel the panic set in. I had not prepared for the journey beforehand and with the realisation that I was in a small tunnel underneath a river, I lost control.

A new coping method

The week before my flight I had been reading about techniques to deal with anxiety and panic attacks and I stumbled across a method to help distract yourself and focus again on the outside world:

  1. Choose a point to stare at (I chose the seat in front of me)
  2. Describe in your head 5 things that you can see in your peripheral vision (go into detail; colour, size, shape etc)
  3. Choose another point and repeat

Doing this requires a great deal of concentration and needs your complete focus, therefore stopping you thinking about the real situation that you find yourself in. It is also discreet, provided you don’t stare directly into someone’s eyes.

This method really helped me out and if you ever find yourself in a similar situation then I hope it can help you regain control also.

Please share any techniques you have discovered that work for you and help others to feel less alone.



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