What is a panic attack and how do you know if you are about to have it? I started to wonder about this question a while ago when I experienced something that I doubted to be a panic attack.
Panic attack is a sudden rush of overwhelming emotions of fear, anxiety and worry. It may last for a few seconds to an hour. The symptoms include heavy sweating, pounding heart, shaking, numbness, breathing difficulties and palpitations.
You are having a panic attack if you experience all or most of the symptoms. When you’re about to have a panic attack your mind will be clouded with thoughts of everything that went wrong and everything that could go wrong in your life. You will start feeling discomfort and may even feel chest pain.
Take a breath! As bad as it sounds panic attacks don’t have any physical threats. Panic attacks are not a danger to your long term physical health as long as you know how to handle those few rough moments.
I started to think about ways to deal with panic attacks when I was experiencing a lot of stress because of being out of job which ultimately triggered panic attack. These are a few things that I found helpful when dealing with panic attacks –
1. Count from 100 to 1
Start counting numbers backwards starting from 100 to till you feel a little distracted from your disturbing thoughts. Counting the numbers backwards requires attention and it will help you take your mind off your worries.
2. Try deep breathing
Deep breathing will also help you take your mind off your thoughts and it will also help you relax. Take long and deep breath through your nose, count to four. Then slowly release your breath counting to four again and this time through your mouth. ‘Inhale through nostrils | count | Exhale through mouth’
3. Practice mindfulness
What this means is to be aware of your surroundings. Look at the things in front of you such as a painting and describe to yourself all- small and big details about it. You can try something else like wiggling your toes while being completely conscious about each movement.
‘Wiggle your toes!’
4. Repeat a positive sentence
Tell yourself something comforting. Think of your favorite quote or line from your favourite book. Repeat it to yourself. If you can’t remember any, just remember this is temporary and won’t last forever. ‘This too shall pass.’
5. Research the web
I don’t know if it will work for everyone but it has certainly helped me. When you know about something, it loses it’s power over you. The understanding you will attain will give a fresh perspective on the situation. There is a lot of useful information available online and for free.
6. Muscle relaxation techniques
This technique is followed to slowly relax each muscle one by one to calm and free the mind from anxiety. Muscle relaxation is helpful when you practice it for a while.
7. Go for a walk
Walking can be a very relaxing activity. Going for a walk will also distract you from the negative thoughts going on in your mind. Go to a park if you can, look around, feel the fresh air, concentrate on anything that makes you feel calm.
8. Spend time with your pet
There is nothing in the world that will make me and probably you too, more happy than spending time with my pet. Cuddle your pet, play with it or just look and adore it. Chances are your pet will take care of you and make you smile when you don’t want to, if you just let him/ her.
9. Talk to someone you trust
When we are too stressed out we need to talk it out with someone we can rely on. Maybe it’s your parents or sibling or a close friend with whom you can talk freely and without any fear of getting judged. It’s hard for most of us to talk about our feelings, but it helps to understand what the problem is by talking.
10. Write your feelings down
Get a notebook and a pen, start writing whatever comes to your mind. In the beginning it will look like nonsense scribbles but slowly you will start to pour your heart out. The sooner or as soon as you do that, you will feel lighter and much better.
These are the few things that I found and have also tried myself to deal with panic attacks. As difficult and scary panic attacks seems and usually are, there are many ways to manage and deal with them.
The last time I had a panic attack I counted numbers backwards and wrote half of this article to distract my mind. It’s been a while since then and probably another attack is waiting for me sometime in the future. But now I’m not afraid to face it as I’m well prepared to manage and deal with it.
I hope after reading this article you will be prepared to handle such difficult moments a little better too! I suggest you bookmark this page and save it for a rainy day when you experience something of this sort, to distract and revise yourself on the ways to deal with panic attack.
Panic attacks are not easy and can feel overpowering but you can get through this. And you will get through this.
I hope this article was helpful.
Do share if you have any tips on how to deal with panic attacks.
External sources used for research on Panic Attack:
2. Understanding Anxiety
About The Author:
My name is Binita and I’m a qualified teacher and have worked as a contractual teacher in several schools. I write a BLOG where I express my opinions, experiences, concern and everything I possibly can think about unemployment and a few other things close to my heart and my life. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.