For grieving widows a very frightening outcome of stress is coping with panic attacks, sometimes called an anxiety attack. It is called an attack because it comes on strongly and without any reason, and it can last from five to thirty minutes.
The first step to coping is to understand what a panic attack is and that it will pass without doing you any long term harm.
Be on the alert for the first signs that a panic attack is beginning. Then, use a quick relaxation or breathing technique straight away, as this will inhibit and possibly prevent the panic attack progressing any further or longer than necessary.
Your stomach may churn, heart race, breathing may be rapid, you may sweat, feel faint and overwhelmed by fear and panic. There can also be a pressing need to escape from the situation you find yourself in. Figure out what your first signs of a panic attack are from the list above. Watch out for these first signs and when you notice them immediately sit down or lean on something.
Research the relaxation methods used on panic attacks by doing a Google search on “methods to cope with panic attacks”. Pick two methods from your research that you are willing to learn and practice.
Panic attacks are very common for widows and are often brought on by stress. Be aware of what is going on around you. Pay attention to your environment, the people you work with, friends and family members.
Can a widow even be in the present moment when grieving? Yes, she can and it will help her to combat stress and panic attacks.
Mindfulness, or being mindful, is all about being aware of the present moment, paying close attention to it and experiencing it to the fullest. In other words, if you need to cry then do it, but if you don’t cry than let it be okay – this is your journey.
With our grief, it’s very easy to have our minds on the past and never quite notice the moment we are in. But, that’s where our life is lived, in the moment. If we miss the moment, we miss where we live and fit into this world.
When you are mindful, you bring your mind from the past or from the future into the moment. You pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and sensations without judging them.
If you pay attention closely to even one thing, in the moment, you are being mindful. It’s all about maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, and allowing thoughts to just come and go without getting too involved in them.
The past is gone, the future is yet to come, and what exists between them is the present moment. The last thing you want is to lose control of the moment, get stuck in “widows fog” with all thoughts on what you don’t have and a sense of life being without any joy.
Every day stop and pay attention to just ONE thing; be it a part of your body, your mind, an object or a person around you. There is power in being able to control your thoughts. The more in control you are, the better coping skills you will have when you get a sudden panic attack.