This is a question that I often ask myself. That is mainly because I often seem to get anxious or get a full blown panic attack at the most inopportune moments.
This is of course the very reason you get panic attacks, because you are in a situation that makes you anxious, or you would feel embarrassed. Both these situations are prime beef for anxiety and I have tried my best over the years to make a plan to hopefully prevent an attack.
I always make sure that I have my distraction tools with me so that it gives me a kind of security blanket against my mortal enemy. It might sound strange that I refer to my anxiety in this way, but I feel that I am locked in a titanic battle with my arch nemesis and only one of us will survive. I am certainly planning that it is me who emerges victorious but you must never bet too soon.
As well as my distraction tools, I also make sure that I am fully aware of where I am going and what I am doing. This isn’t always possible, but being aware of the situation allows me to plan a strategy to cope with it. For example, if I was going to a meeting, I would make sure that I was sitting away from any obvious triggers and that I was near the door.
Typing this makes it sound strange, but my mind goes into a kind of automatic damage limitation mode so that I am not subjected to more than minimum stress. The same mind that harbours my anxiety, go figure!
Even with these systems in place, I still suffer from unexpected attacks that hit me like a wrestler holding a wet fish. But I always have my tools with me so I can deal with it…unless I leave them at home, but that’s another story.