I’ve spoken before about what panic attacks are, and I thought I’d share my techniques of dealing with one.
These used to happen very regularly for me, daily, even hourly. It will consume your life in an instant one a panic disorder takes hold and can feel like there is no hope. Well there is, and it’s down to you.
A panic attack is your body reacting to a particular way your mind is processing certain information. He symptoms are natural, but out of a suitable situation, the abnormal presence of the symptoms can be terrifying.
Symtoms include hot/cold sweats, a shortness of breath/struggle to breathe, shaking, stomach cramps, headache, trembling, heart pounding and so many more. What is important, is that you recognise these symptoms as panic as soon as possible and discover ways to control it and reduce the occupancy. So what can you do? I’ve broken it down into several steps, and this is what I tend to do should I get one now:
1) Control your breathing.
Your sole focus should be to ensure your breathing is regular. Panic starts when breathing becomes erratic and can cause hyperventilation which is the tight chest, shortness of breath or struggle breathing feeling that you’ll get. If you control your breathing from the get go, you’re basically starting at the root of the problem – panic cannot exist with normal breathing.
2) Embrace it
This is one of the hardest pieces of advice to be given when faced with a panic attack. A panic attack is driven by fear, be it a fear of health, physical symptoms, fear of a situation. Whatever it is you’re fearing, embracing it is basically facing that fear. Long term sufferers will tell you this is key, and the very first time you face up to a panic attack, live it, get through it and reflect on it, you’ll realise what a difference to your situation this can make.
It’s important to educate yourself on what a panic attack means to YOU. There are thousands of people with a different story suffering different things for different reasons. You need to look at your anxiety disorder, think what is bringing on this intense fear and feeling, and educate yourself on what the panic attack is about.
This is much easier said than done when going through a panic attack. For some it’s paralysing, however it’s important to tell yourself that you are fine, it will pass and you will be OK. Whether it’s music, talking or simply sitting quietly, relaxing will allow you to focus on the task at hand and the above methods will be easier to try.
The above methods are key to eventually conquering panic attacks and anxiety. By facing up to your fears, embracing the feelings of a panic attack as simply natural, and showing yourself that you CAN get through it, you’ll retrain your brain.
Other quicker methods include distraction techniques which, although not recommended, they’re a fast way to get rid of the feelings should you need to. I won’t share these as I don’t think it’s the correct way to beat your anxiety, and the intention of this post is to offer some tools to head towards recovery.
If you have any questions or further suggestions, get in touch! I’m on Twitter @anxiwarrior or you can comment here.
Good luck in beating the anxiety demon.