During a panic episode, you may experience shortness of breath, nausea and even feel as if you're going to get a heart attack or die. Panic attacks are very frightening and can cause distress of immobile intensity.
Although panic attacks are not entirely unnatural, they happen to even the strongest people under stressful situations. Ordinarily, panic attacks go away on their own and are less repetitive. But, if you experience such overwhelming emotions more frequently and they are interfering with your day-to-day life, then you need to make sure that you have effective tools and strategies at your disposal whenever you experience one such attack coming.
Symptoms of Panic Attack
The first step towards the solution of a problem is its identification. Panic attacks are unexpected and usually occur without warning. You might be driving a car, walking down the street, sound asleep, or even in a business meeting; panic attacks can strike at any time, and they frequently happen to people who might have an already existing anxiety disorder.
- A sense of impending doom or danger
- Fearing losing control or even death
- A rapid pounding heart rate
- Headaches and chest pains
- Nausea and hot flashes
- Tightness in your throat
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
- A tingling sensation in your body
- A sense of detachment from the world
Most common ways to deal with panic attacks
Panic attacks can be debilitating, but fortunately, there are some effective strategies that can help you quickly gain control over your panic and stop your body from going into a panic state. Let's take a look at some of the most effective strategies for preventing and treating panic attacks.
If you have frequent panic attacks, you will also be aware of what causes them. There are certain situations, triggers, and feelings that can induce a panic attack. One of the best things that you can do to prepare yourself is to have an action plan for your panic attacks.
Your plan could include taking yourself out of that environment, sit down, disengage, or even call a family member. Learn different techniques that suit you best that can distract you and calm you down. Knowing this will help you to instantly understand what you need to do and how you can minimize the panic.
Use Deep Breathing
Hyperventilating is a common occurrence during a panic attack, and often, it increases the fear even further. But, if you can control and manage your breathing, it can help decrease your panic and stop your condition from getting worse.
Focus on taking deep and relaxing breaths, in and out through your nostrils. Slowly fill your belly and let them loose. Repeat this again and again without putting pressure on yourself. Breathe in for three seconds, hold it in for three seconds, and then exhale for three seconds to experience relaxation.
Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Amidst a panic attack, you will feel as if you're losing control over your body and mind. Muscle relaxation techniques have been proven effective in helping you gain back control over your body. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an easy to implement yet effective method for managing stress.
Clench your fist and hold it for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, release your fists and let your hand relax completely. Repeat the same procedure with your feet and then gradually move up your body. Doing the same thing with your thighs, abdomen, chest, neck, and face. You will experience a sense of relaxation, and the panic will start to fade.
Mindfulness means being aware of the present moment and the reality of what's actually happening around you. Mostly during panic attacks, there is no actual threat present around us. It's entirely our out-of-control thoughts that are making things worse for ourselves.
Becoming aware of our thoughts and recognizing the impacts they are having on us can help us see that there is nothing to worry about, and we should calm ourselves down. Understand that the sensations you are having are temporary, they will pass within a short moment, and it's completely ok.
Find a focus object.
Our mind is racing with thoughts and blowing things out of proportion during a panic attack. One of the best things we can do is to focus our mind on one thing, so it's not all over the place. Start by picking an object in front of you and completely immerse yourself in it.
From its shape to its colors, to its aesthetics, and even the smallest details. Start paying attention to it so that you become entirely focused on it. By doing this, your mind will calm down, and you will have something better to occupy your mind with.
Engage in a light exercise
When we physically move, our bodies release endorphins that are chemicals that can relax and make us happy. This improvement in mood can prove to be really beneficial for someone going through a panic phase.
If you're at a place where you can move, then get up and start walking. Do some pushups or even squats. You will experience that your tension will begin to dissipate, and your mood will regulate to normal with some exercise.
Seek Professional Help
Reaching out to a therapist or a doctor and explaining everything to them can prove to be the one big step you take towards improving your condition. Often, professional therapists will help you develop life-long coping mechanisms and teach you how to stay under control in stressful situations.
Panic attacks are overwhelming and can have negative impacts on our day-to-day lives. Using these approaches above will help you relax and maintain control under stressful situations and deal with your panic attacks in an effective manner.