- 24 Jul - 30 Jul, 2021
OVERCOMING PANIC ATTACKS
- 20 Jun - 26 Jun, 2020
- health & nutrition
Panic attacks are sudden, intense surges of fear, panic, or anxiety. They are overwhelming, and they have physical as well as emotional symptoms.
Many people with panic attacks may have difficulty breathing, sweat profusely, tremble, and feel their hearts pounding. Some people will also experience chest pain and a feeling of detachment from reality or themselves during a panic attack, so they may think they’re having a heart attack. Others have reported feeling like they are having a stroke.
Panic attacks can be scary and may hit you quickly. Here are 10 strategies you can use to try to stop a panic attack when you’re having one or when you feel one coming on:
Acceptance and recognition
A person may have experienced panic attacks in the past. During an attack, it can help to remember that they pass and cause no physical harm, though they are unpleasant. A person should acknowledge that the attack is a brief period of concentrated anxiety and that it will end.
If a person is experiencing an attack for the first time, it is advisable to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Some symptoms of panic attacks can indicate other events, such as heart attacks or strokes.
Deep breathing can sometimes bring a panic attack under control. Rapid breathing can increase anxiety and tension, so instead taking long, slow breaths can help. A person should breathe steadily, counting slowly to four while breathing in and to four when breathing out.
A feeling of tightness in the chest can cause a person to take short breaths during an attack. It is a good idea to breathe deeply from the abdomen, filling the lungs slowly and steadily.
Lavender essences have long been used to relieve anxiety and bring about a sense of calm relaxation. Inhaling the scent of lavender oil during a panic attack may help relieve some symptoms. A person can rub a small amount of oil onto their wrist or hand and inhale.
An individual should avoid lavender if they have recently taken a benzodiazepine medication. The two together can cause heightened drowsiness.
Benzodiazepines may help treat panic attacks if you take one as soon as you feel an attack coming on. But this medication can be highly addictive, and the body can adjust to it over time. It should only be used sparingly and in cases of extreme need.
A person’s panic attacks may often be triggered by the same things, such as enclosed spaces, crowds, or problems with money. By learning to manage or avoid triggers, a person may be able to reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks.
Focus on an object
Concentrating on a nearby object can help a person stop a panic attack. A person who experiences attacks regularly may want to carry something for this purpose.
Focusing on one thing can reduce other stimuli. As a person looks at the item, they may want to think about how it feels, who made it and what shape it is. This can help to reduce the symptoms of a panic attack.
Try muscle relaxation techniques
Another symptom of a panic attack is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help to limit an attack. If the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms, such as rapid breathing, may also diminish. Progressive muscle relaxation is a popular technique for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.
Picture a happy place
A person’s happy place should be somewhere they would feel the most relaxed. Every aspect of it should be pleasing. When a panic attack begins, it can help to close the eyes and imagine being in such a place. Think of how calm it is there. Imagine bare feet touching the cool soil, hot sand, or soft rugs.
Thinking about a relaxing and calm environment can help a person to become relaxed and calm.
Repeat a mantra
A mantra is a word, phrase, or sound that helps with focus and provides strength. Internally repeating a mantra can help a person to come out of a panic attack. The mantra can take the form of reassurance and may be as simple as, “This too shall pass.” Or, it may have a more spiritual meaning.
As a person focuses on gently repeating a mantra, their physical responses can slow, allowing them to regulate their breathing and relax muscles.
Panic attacks can make people feel detached from reality. The intensity of anxiety can overtake other senses. Mindfulness can help to re-ground a person and direct their focus away from sources of stress.
Below is one example of a mindfulness exercise. Each step should be completed slowly and thoroughly:
1. Look at five separate things, thinking about each for some time.
2. Listen for four distinct sounds, and examine what is different about each one.
3. Touch three objects. Consider the texture, temperature, and uses.
4. Identify two different smells. Do they trigger any memories?
5. Taste something. This could be a fingertip or a piece of candy.
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