If you have ever experienced a panic attack you know it is one of the worst experiences a human can live through. Your heart races, your palms get sweaty; you may even feel as though you are losing control, as fear takes over. Anxiety is an unpleasant roller coaster of emotions and thoughts that can create unpleasant physical symptoms.  

Once you have a panic attack it can be difficult to decipher between true anxieties or if you are just feeling excited about something that you know you may experience in the near future. The symptoms can be similar.

If you are experiencing anxiety and have experienced a panic attack before, you can gain control and calm yourself down.

Focusing on your breathing is a great way to take control the experience.

To focus on your breathing - breathe in to the count of three, hold your breath in to the count of three, and then breathe out to the count of six. Repeat this exercise until you feel calm.

You can also do the breathing exercise for a few moments and once you begin to settle down some, repeat a positive affirmation while you continue to breathe calmly. You can say something like:

I am safe, everything is fine.

I am in control of my thoughts and emotions.

With each and every breath I take, I am feeling better and better, in every way.

If you have experienced the anxiety roller coaster in the past - you know you will live through it. Taking actions to consciously work through your anxiety will help you gain control of your state of being and get off that unpleasant roller coaster, much faster. 

To discover if you are truly feeling anxious or just experiencing positive excitement about something that is about to happen, take out a piece of paper; write down what you believe is causing your experience and then write down 10 negative reasons that attribute to your feelings and thoughts. When you are finished with that, turn the paper over and write out 10 positive reasons that attribute to your feelings and thoughts.

By writing out the pros and cons of your experience, you may just find out that you are actually excited and looking forward to something that is about to happen and that you are misinterpreting your experience as anxiety.

Putting things on paper is a great way to release negative thoughts and feelings and to help you understand what you are experiencing. You may also discover that you cannot come up with 10 negative reasons to justify your anxiety or excitement. You may discover there is no reason for anxiety or excitement, maybe you are just feeling good about something?

If you determine that your experience is actually excitement, misinterpreted as anxiety, you can use mindfulness to help you re-frame your experience towards a positive and calm state of existence by repeating affirmations, such as:

I am excited and looking forward to the new school year.

I am thrilled about this new job and I know I'm going to do great!

I look forward to going to the party and making new friends and wonderful memories.

The future is exciting. I look forward to positive experiences.

You are in control of your thoughts. With mindful thinking and the use of positive affirmations, you can re-frame your thoughts and feelings to reflect the positive side of a situation.