If you’ve ever suffered from a panic attack, you understand how much stress and anxiety they can produce. For some, panic attacks are induced by specific triggers, like driving over a bridge or standing at a high height. For others, there’s nothing specific that brings on panic attacks -- you’re suddenly consumed by fear for no apparent reason. Explaining this to others can feel nearly impossible, but talking to a mental health professional is critical. These simple tips will help you learn how to cope with your next panic attack.
These simple tips will help you learn how to cope with your next panic attack.
Deep and Slow Breaths
If you’ve had multiple panic attacks, you know immediately when one is coming on. One of the clearest signs of a panic attack is feeling unable to breathe. At the moment you feel an attack coming on, remember to breathe slowly and deeply. Let the breath come from your diaphragm; not your chest. Take many deep, mindful breaths. You will eventually feel your body starting to get back into a normal breathing rhythm.
Take a Minute
Another common symptom of panic attacks is feeling that your thoughts are spinning out control. All of these negative thoughts in your mind can start making you feel extremely anxious and on edge. You may start thinking that this feeling will never end, but it will if you allow yourself to stop and think. Take a minute. Organize your thoughts. Remember that whatever you’re doing is manageable. All you need to do is breathe and stay focused.
To quell those negative thoughts, try thinking of a happy time or place in your life. Reduce your anxiety by pushing negativity away and thinking of something light and peaceful. It is also important to remind yourself that you are in control of your anxiety and that you’ve gotten through a panic attack before. Talking to a mental health professional in your area will help you talk through reasons you may be experiencing these attacks and lead to more solutions.
Calm Your Body
Panic attacks affect more than just your brain. When experiencing a panic attack, your body can feel suddenly stressed and tense as well. You may notice that your body feels rigid, you’re suddenly sweaty, and having trouble focusing on what you’re doing. Make a conscious effort to relax every muscle in your body. Try to sit calmly, and remember to breathe deeply. It is helpful to start relaxing the muscles in your toes and slowly work your way up to your face. This gives you time to focus on something other than negative thoughts.
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