Learn how to stop panic attacks when they happen with these four tips.
You’re next in line at the supermarket. The cashier is looking at you funny, and you know why. Your heart has started racing as though it might burst. Are you having a heart attack? You can’t breathe. You feel dizzy. You feel as though something terrible is going to happen any second. It’s not until you look down at your shaking hand that you realize what’s wrong—you’re having a panic attack.
Some people will only have one or two panic attacks in their lives. Others, those who have a panic disorder (to be precise, 6 million U.S. adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America), will experience many more.
As the above example illustrates, panic attacks don’t wait for a time that is convenient for you. You’ve got to be ready for them in any situation.
To stop panic attacks from taking over your life, try these four tips.
The ancient practice of mindfulness meditation has many benefits, and one of them is that it can help you overcome panic attacks. While it will take some practice before you can use mindfulness to get through a panic attack, once you get the hang of it, it will be invaluable.
Breathe deeply to calm yourself. Long, deep breaths can help to bring your body back to its usual state. There is one caveat, though—if you don’t practice breath regulation when you are not having a panic attack, you probably won’t be able to implement it when you are in a time of crisis. To help accustom yourself to breath regulation, it’s best to make a daily practice of it.
All it takes is five minutes. Take in a deep breath through your nose while visualizing your body filling to the brim with air. Then, slowly push the air out through your mouth as though you are pushing the air through a small straw. Do this about ten times before moving on with your day.
Ground Yourself in Reality through the Senses
Many people report a sense that they are somehow separated from reality when they are in the middle of a panic attack. To combat this terrifying feeling of dissociation, try stimulating your senses. You may need to experiment to find which of your senses is the best to use to bring you back to reality. Some people carry essential oils with them to smell when they have a panic attack. Others like to rub an interesting piece of fabric with their fingers. Whatever you choose, make sure that you can access it quickly.
Cool Yourself Down
You can also use cool water or ice to ground yourself and reduce your anxiety symptoms. Splashing cold water on your face or putting ice in a towel and placing it on your neck will divert your attention from your anxiety. Shocking your system with cool water essentially breaks through the fight or flight response that your body goes through during a panic attack.
Stop Panic Attacks from Taking Control with a Little Help
Need help getting a handle on your panic disorder? Get in touch with us today so we can discuss your needs.