AD | Collaborative post
A panic attack is a debilitating condition in which the body’s fight or flight response is in overdrive. For those who have anxiety disorders, panic attacks can strike at any time and leave the sufferer feeling vulnerable and out of control. Reducing the number of panic attacks that occur is a long-term process that often requires psychotherapies and anxiety medications over the counter and prescribed. However, there are a number of strategies that allow one to effectively manage symptoms.
Practice Deep Breathing
One of the most common symptoms of a panic attack is elevated and shallow breathing. Those who experience this find it difficult to draw in a proper breath, and it can feel like their throat is closing up or the room is losing air. Performing deep breathing exercises is an effective way to slow breath rate and mitigate other symptoms such as increased heart rate and sweating.
One of the easiest exercises involves breathing in for a count of four, holding that breath for a count of four, and breathing out for a count of four. Breathing in and out on a count of 10 is another helpful technique. For those who are technically inclined, using guided meditation videos and apps that remind you to breathe can be helpful tools in your arsenal as well.
Find a Peaceful Spot
A loud and busy atmosphere can worsen symptoms of a panic attack. Finding a quiet spot can help bring a level of calm and control back to you. Seek out a space with fewer people. If you’re inside, move to somewhere outside, preferably with a place for you to sit. If you’re in the middle of a crowd, try moving towards the edges.
In addition to limiting noise exposure, you also want to find a spot with limited visual and odour stimulation. Bright lights and strong smells can overwhelm your fight or flight reflexes and prolong a panic attack. Once you’re in a calmer environment, you can utilize breathing techniques or take over the counter calming medicine.
Talk To Loved Ones
When in the middle of a panic attack, it can sometimes be helpful to have assistance from a trusted person. Before an attack occurs, have a conversation with friends and family that you trust about the best ways to help you. For some, distractions can be helpful. A friend can get your mind off of the attack by talking about a favourite show or cat videos. For others, reassurance, affirmations, and grounding exercises are more valuable. In some cases, it may be helpful to devise a code word or gesture that communicates to your trusted person when you’re experiencing an attack and what you need in that moment. Panic attacks are terrifying and those who experience them often have no control over when they come or how long they last. However, whether you practice your breathing, talk to friends, or read anxiety medication reviews, you can regain some control and mitigate the effects panic attacks have on your life.