Panic attacks are a very scary situation to be in. It is very unexpected and can happen at any time. There are some things that you can do to minimize the effect it has on you. In this article, we are going to cover the top 12 tips on how to deal with a panic attack.
Before starting, we must understand what a panic attack is. It is an intense sudden urge of fear, anxiety or panic that shows physical and emotional symptoms. Some of the symptoms are sweat, heart-pounding, and tremble. Here are 12 strategies to deal with and cope with them.
During a panic attack, deep breathing can reduce the symptoms emotionally and physically. If you force to control your breathing, you can prevent the hyperventilation of the panic attack from getting worse. Sometimes when we have an issue, it is best to prevent it from getting worse rather than let things go downhill from there. When breathing, take a breath in through your mouth, into your belly, and out slowly. The best breath time is about 4 seconds in, one-sec hold, and another 4 seconds out. It is normal that during hyperventilation to feel shortness of breath, but this is why we focus on that. We must have full complete breaths to limit hyperventilation capabilities.
2.Close your eyes
We can be triggered by a panic attack if we are in a fast-paced environment. This can increase your panic. The idea is to close your eyes to limit the outside stimuli which will decrease and minimize the panic attack. Closing your eyes allows you to focus on yourself. to concentrate on breathing, and slow your heart rate. Some panic attacks with adrenaline can actually blurr the vision by pressuring the eyes. The best thing to do is to close your eyes and focus on breathing.
This refers to how much in sync with reality you are. When you have a panic attack, you may start to feel less and less in sync with the world. To get back in sync, if you have the ability and the strength, you can practice the 5 senses. For example, for hearing, say a few things you hear. For taste, name what you taste, etc. By naming what you sense with the 5, you will bring yourself back into the physical world. It can be very easy to lose sync in anxious situations or during a panic attack. The idea is to direct your energy outward in these situations (instead of inward if possible).
It is advisable to have a bottle of water with you. During a panic attack, it often becomes stuffy, there is an acute lack of oxygen, and a few sips of water can help in this acute situation.
5.Find a focus object
The idea with this one is to focus and stare at one object during a panic attack. Some people find this really helpful. You want to look at the item, whatever it is, and note anything and everything about it. Not physically in a notebook, in your mind. Some things to note may be the objects colors, shapes, sizes and patterns. This is a great way to possibly subside you symptoms when alone.
6.Muscle relaxing techniques
This is very similar to deep breathing in which you are controlling the body’s response. When remaxing your muscles, again focus on yourself. Start with the fingers and relax them with no muscle movement. Then move trough your arms and your body. If you know a panic attack will happen soon, practice this before hand because it helps. The more you practice this, the better you will be at the time it happens.
If someone takes medication for panic attacks, it is actually scientifically proven that exercise beats any medication. Even if it be a walk. If you exercise, there is no doubt, your body releases endorphins. This hormone makes you feel better and keeps your body in check. These endorphins improve your mood and alleviate stress in a panic attack. This is probably the best point to takeaway. Make sure that what type of exercise you do is something you love to do. If you like to swim, do swimming. If you like hikes, do that. There is no point In doing it just for the benefits if you hate it.
8.Remember a happy place
This one is about keeping a special place in mind for when bad times come. What is one place that puts a smile on your face? Is it an exotic beach with rolling waves, or a cabin in the mountains? Keep this in mind and picture yourself there when it comes. Focus on the details of what you see. Again, this is similar to focusing on an object, except its using creativity. The place should be quiet and relaxing. Not busy.
9.Keep lavender wherever you go
Lavender has a smooth feel and is known to be very stress relieving. This helps with relaxing. You can also keep some lavender oil with you, and when it happens, put some in your palm and smell the scent. The idea is to relax. Different methods to relax the body. Some other things to try is lavender tea or chamomile tea.
10.Recognise the panic attack
When you can tell that you are having a panic attack, you will be fine. It is only temporary. You are not having a heart attack, but if you are call 911. Heart attack symptoms include a chest pain, weakness, pain in jaw/neck and even in one of the arms. If you feel these symptoms, call 911 immediately. If not, you will be fine. Just try your very best to relax, whichever way you choose.
One of the helpers in a panic attacks can be an application, for example:
- Rootd- Panic Attack& Anxiety Relief
- Dare: Anxiety & Panic Attack Relief
They contain useful information about the panic attacks themselves, breathing exercises, and other things that will be useful in reducing the level of anxiety.
With this method, one must be extremely careful and in no case abuse it. If all else fails, take the meds if you feel one is coming and you cannot control it despite your efforts. If you have tried all of the above, you are a strong person and you did your part. At this point, you cannot control this and you should take the meds. Also, talk to your doctor for the best course of action. You will also need a panic disorder diagnosis before receiving the meds. They are prescription meds.