Panic attacks are common and can happen at any time, anywhere and for any reason to any one of us. Panic attacks can be defined as sudden, intense surges of fear, panic or anxiety. They can be overwhelming and come rather suddenly. During a panic attack, many people have difficulty breathing, tremble, feel their hearts pounding and sweat. In extreme cases, some even experience chest pain and may think that they are having a heart attack.
Panic attacks can be rather scary but there are steps you can take should you ever be experiencing one. Compiled via Healtline, here are some ways to stop a panic attack.
Use the deep breathing technique
Hyperventilating is a symptom of panic attacks which increases fear. While it may be difficult at first, taking deep breaths can actually reduce the symptoms of panic during an attack. Being unable to breath increases fear and can make other symptoms worse. Focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your nose and mouth and focus on feeling the air slowly fill your lungs and then leave. The best way is to breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four.
Recognise that you are having a panic attack
It is important to tell yourself that you are having a panic attack instead of a heart attack. Tell yourself that this feeling and this attack is temporary and will pass. And you will be okay. Try your best to remove the fear that you may be dying or having a heart attack. Not doing so can lengthen your attack and increase fear. This can allow you to focus on your breathing to eventually slow down the attack.
Close your eyes
Some panic attacks are triggered by things that overwhelm you. If you’re around a lot of people or in a fast-paced environment, this can trigger your attack. To reduce the overwhelming feeling, close your eyes. This will calm you down a lot faster and will make it easier to focus on your breathing.
Find an object to focus on
Many people who have had panic attacks have reported that focusing on a single object can help during an attack. Look at any object in your sight and focus all your attention on it. Try to make mental notes about this product and everything about it. For example, its colour, its shape and texture, if it is sitting on something or its pattern and size. Once you focus all your energy on this object, your symptoms may subside.
Think of your happy pace, now picture it
This is a good step to take to help you come out of a panic attack. Think of a place that makes you happy, where you feel relaxed and where you have no cares in the world. Is it the beach, is it a walk in the park, is it a cabin in the mountains. Picture yourself there and think of all the details. The smells, the sight, your view, you you’re with and how it’s making you feel. Ensure your happy place is calm and tranquil.
Use muscle relaxation techniques
Similar to breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help your panic attacks cease. These techniques control your body’s response. Consciously relax one muscle at a time, perhaps starting with your fingers and working your way around your body. These techniques will be effective if you’ve practiced them before.