Have you ever been in a situation where you had a panic attack and people around you thought you were overreacting and then went on to tell you to put yourself together? That could be very annoying, I bet.
Most people get anxious or scared about something going on in our lives, but for some others, their anxiety can erupt into a full blown panic attack that may overwhelm them.
A panic attack is a sudden and intense surge of fear and anxiety that usually lasts between 5 and 20 minutes and often shows up with both physical and mental symptoms. Common symptoms include breathing difficulties, profuse sweating, chest pain and shortness of breath. An attack may also be accompanied by feelings of detachment from reality, tension and extreme nervousness.
Whatever your own symptoms, a panic attack can be very unbearable and may affect how you function at work, school or even in your relationships.
Here are five things you can do to feel better when you experience a panic attack or sense one coming.
What To Do When You Are Having A Panic Attack
1. Don’t Fight It. The temptation is to fight your attack when you feel it coming, but that never works. In actual fact, the best way to deal with it is to acknowledge it. Don’t try to ignore it or distract yourself from it. Instead, accept that you are really having one, but also remind yourself that it will pass.
2. Talk To Yourself. A panic attack might leave you feeling like your body is out of your control, and while that may feel true, I usually advise that you see your body as a scared little child and talk to yourself as one. Tell yourself that this episode will end soon and that your danger is not as bad as you feared. If you can, create a simple one-liner that you can memorize and repeat to yourself in times of your greatest anxiety.
3. Breathe Through It. Breathing exercises are very calming and can help you reduce your hyperventilation. One simple breathing exercise you can learn is this; breathe in slowly while counting up to four, pause and hold your breath for one second, and then slowly exhale while counting up to four again. Do this over and over again while you pay attention to your breathing.
4. Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a particularly great way of keeping your mind focused on the present, instead of being sucked into the vortex of fear and worry. You can try out the 54321 Mindfulness Exercise – Notice five things you can see around you, four things you can touch, three things you hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
5. Do A Visualization. Visualizations are also effective at centering the mind on your own terms. Close your eyes and picture your happy place. What does it look like? Is it a house in your village or a vacation experience with your partner? Experience the sounds and feel of the place. Go into as much detail as possible. Enjoy the sensations of being relaxed and calm in your place of peace.
Because people are different, you may find that one of the strategies mentioned above are more effective for you. That’s fine and I would advise you to stick with that.
I hope this helps you.