Defining what a panic attack feels like in words is a pretty tricky thing to do.
Most people who go through it describe it with phrases like ‘I feel like I am dying.’ So the obvious thing to say at first is that it is extremely terrifying, to say the least.
If you frequently suffer from anxiety or are overwhelmingly stressed, you might have experienced a panic attack. They suddenly pop out and can make you feel like your world is falling apart. Physical symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, etc., mimic those of serious conditions like heart attacks or allergic reactions. Additionally, worry and dread can make it even more difficult to get through the whole process.
While panic attacks seem life-threatening, they are actually false alarms of the body’s fight or flight response. But if you don’t know how to deal with a panic attack, it can be extremely tough to get out of it.
This is why a helpful thing to do is to have a toolbox of tips on how to deal with a panic attack that you can use whenever required. In this post, we will dive into four effective ways to get through a panic attack and make the experience a little more bearable. Let’s get started.
How To Deal With A Panic Attack?
1. Breathe through your belly.
The most obvious symptom of a panic attack is shortness of breath. That is why one of the most effective tips on how to deal with a panic attack is to get your breathing under control. This means breathing slowly and controlling where you are breathing from.
The useful thing to do is to ensure that you are breathing either from the diaphragm or belly. If you continue to breathe through your chest, it will keep building up the stress and panic. So, keep one hand on your chest and the other on your belly and try to centre your breathing through your belly.
If you are struggling to do that, do the simpler process. Breathe through your nose for a count of three and exhale for four. The key trick is to breathe out longer than you breathe in.
2. Bring yourself back to the present.
As mentioned above, panic attacks are a false sign due to the body’s fight or flight response. They occur due to the notion that something is wrong with your surroundings. This is why reminding yourself that you are okay and in a safe space is one of the best tips on how to deal with a panic attack.
The 5-4-3-2-1 technique can come in pretty handy here. Simply say out loud five things that you can see, four that you can hear, three that you can feel, two that you can smell, and one that you can taste.
Read more: Panic Attack Vs. Anxiety Attack – How They Aren’t The Same Thing
3. Start a conversation.
If you feel that you can’t breathe or make sense of what is happening around you, start talking to someone around you. If you are talking to someone, it is a sign that you can breathe properly. Additionally, striking a conversation also helps your mind refocus on the present moment, which can help you calm down further.
If you are in an unfamiliar situation and can’t talk to someone, call up someone you can trust and talk to them.
4. Keep reminding yourself that this won’t last forever.
Even though in the middle of a panic attack, it might feel that this will last forever, remind yourself that it is temporary. A panic attack last only up to ten minutes because it gets impossible for the body to stay revved up for longer than this.
Therefore keep reminding yourself that this moment will pass. Additionally, you can also recite calming mantras. Now, different people have different calming mantras. Finding what suits you is a trial-and-error process, but you will get the hang of it once you try.
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Having a panic attack is a scary experience. It takes a massive toll on your physical and mental health. However, having a set of tools that you can use to make the process a bit easier can help. We hope these tips on how to deal with a panic attack will help you cope with your situation better.
A lot of people confuse a panic attack with a heart attack. To understand the basic difference between them, click here. To continue learning about mental health daily, subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal.