I was given a small 3x5 card with the following written on it to help when a panic attack is happening: It works. Look around you and find the following in order. 1. Find 5 things you can see 2. Find 4 things you can touch
3. Three things you can hear. 4. Two things you can smell 5. One thing you can taste
I think it works because you are concentrating on finding everything on the list so you don't "allow" the panic attack to become full blown.
I hope this helps others, it has helped me.
There are a couple of things that should help. For panic attacks and anxiety, find a good Cognitive Behavioral Therapist you can work with to learn how to control your anxiety and prevent it from getting you into a full blown panic attack. A good therapist will teach you tricks and tools that will help you control and manage your anxiety just like you can control and manage your COPD. I know whereof I speak; I see a therapist once a month and she really helps me keep my head on straight.
As for avoiding exacerbations, what I know is that getting yourself into the best physical shape you can helps a lot. Talk to your doc about a daily exercise program. Maybe Pulmonary Rehab is a good way to start; works for some. If that's not possible, then talk about starting your own program at home. You want to start really slow and your long range goal is 30 minutes walking without stopping to catch your breath. You start really slow and go as long as you can. Note the time when you stop. Do that amount of time again and again until you've done 30 minutes. Then do that again for five days to a week, every day. Then add a few minutes to how long you walk before stopping. Keep doing that and it won't be long before you are doing 30 minutes without stopping.trigger a full blown exacerbation.
The better physical shape you are the less likely you are to catch stuff that can go into an exacerbation. The other key is to get to your doc ASAP when you do get something respiratory. The sooner you catch it the easier it is to get rid of. The longer you let it go, the faster you'll be in the hospital. Work out an action plan with your pulmo so you know what to do quickly to avoid getting really sick.
What Jean said is so true. Your physical shape is very important, I started out walking in place for 1 minute. Start at your own pace ..just don't quit!
Using those positive feedback and distracting exercises did help me some but I have be taking Citalopram and it really has been great.