Most of us have experienced panic attacks at some point and we didn’t like the feeling. Such attacks are strong, often quite overwhelming and can have serious physical and emotional consequences. The symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, profuse sweating and trembling, can be accompanied by chest pain and detachment from reality, which is why panic attacks are sometimes mistaken for a heart attack.
Another problem with panic attacks is that they often come out of the blue and when you add their intensity to the mix, there is no wonder why people feel quite apprehensive about them. To help you deal with panic attacks, we’ve prepared the following five tips that should alleviate the symptoms and reduce the intensity of such attacks.
Have a mantra
A panic attack can’t kill you and that’s the most important thing to remember. No matter when it appears or how strong it might be, it’s not life-threatening. That’s why you should make a mental note of this fact or even write it down on a note, which you’ll carry with you at all times. If you already have experience with panic attacks, you are aware that you’ve survived them and you shouldn’t expect any other outcome when the next one strikes. Making mental or actual notes, which are positive and realistic, is one way to help you get over a panic attack without any serious consequences.
Find a distraction
The more you think about a panic attack, the more anxious you’ll become. So, instead of contemplating the reasons and becoming even more frustrated, you might want to try to find some sort of distraction. It can be anything from a TV show, crossword puzzle or a game that you can play on your phone or tablet. The point is to get your mind off of the unpleasant symptoms. Some people find the music quite relaxing and helpful in these situations.
Essential oils and multi-sensorial objects
Senses are very powerful when it comes to dealing with panic attacks and since one of the most serious symptoms is the sense of being detached from reality, it’s a smart idea to carry items that can help engage your senses to help you calm down. Essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, can reduce your anxiety, almost as efficiently as CBD for anxiety, which can have an instant impact when taken orally. Some people like to have a soft piece of fabric with them at all times to touch, feel and think about it when panic sets in. Others, on the other hand, have found rubbing their hands or barefoot on a surface very useful, while some put an ice cube in a paper towel and squeeze it hard for a minute until they feel the coldness and discomfort. The process is then repeated with the other hand until the same feelings occur.
It’s been known for quite a while now that slow, deep breathing can help us calm down. Still, to make the most of this technique, you need to practice it regularly, regardless of whether we feel anxious. Basically, you need to breathe in deeply through the nose and imagine your whole body filling up like a balloon. Next, make your mouth small, as if you were exhaling through a straw, a exhale slowly until you feel that all the air has emptied from your body. Repeat this for a dozen times and you’ll notice how your heart rate and body tension have reduced.
You’re aware of the benefits of exercising to your physical health, but do you know that your mental health also reaps the benefits? Namely, when we engage in a physical exercise, endorphins are released and they keep the blood pumping in exactly the right way. Endorphins improve our mood, which makes them a great ally when it comes to fighting panic attacks. So, a light exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming, can really help you. Of course, if you’re hyperventilating or struggling to breathe, you shouldn’t put more pressure on your body, but make sure you catch your breath first, before making your heart pump harder.
With more and more stress in our daily life, we become much more prone to panic attacks. So many things on our plate pile up that we’re bound to feel a sense of panic, but it’s up to us to find a way to deal with the problems we encounter. These five tips can surely help you, but the most important thing for you to do is actually to recognize a panic attack and try to remain as calm as you can. Only then can you proceed to apply some techniques to help you, but if the problem becomes more common or debilitating, you should definitely seek professional help.