Understanding Panic Attacks and 5 Simple Ways To Help You
Understand and Prepare for Panic Attacks
While not everyone with anxiety deals with panic attacks, many people do. Some have the occasional panic attack, while others suffer from panic disorder, where you get them frequently and often without warning. To better deal with your panic attacks, understand what they are and what they are not, and prepare for them.
Common Signs of a Panic Attack
It is very possible that you have had panic attacks but had no idea that was what you were experiencing. This is especially true for people who grow up with anxiety, where these anxiety attacks just feel normal after a certain point. Here are some common signs of a panic attack:
Worsening worries and fears
Sweating and flushing
Shaking and trembling
Feeling a flight or fight response
Dizziness and lightheaded
Understanding the Reality of a Panic Attack
Once you know what a panic attack is like, the next step is to understand what is happening. Remember that while it can feel like something is seriously wrong with you, you are not having a heart attack. Your body is responding to what your mind is telling you. It will also not last a long time. For most people, full-blown panic attacks last about 10-15 minutes. Get to a safe, peaceful place and wait it out if you can.
5 Top Ways to Stop Panic Attacks
While a panic attack is not going to last forever, it can feel like you are quickly losing control, and like it will never get better. When you feel like this, here are five ways to lessen the effects of your panic attack. Remember not all ways work for all people. Try them and find which suits you best.
Count backwards from 100 – This is a simple trick that allows you to focus on something else for a short period of time. It is really helpful when a panic attack is at its peak. Just count backwards from 100 to get through a difficult situation, such as if you are driving while having panic.
Find a distracting activity – If you are able to, find something that will distract you for a few minutes until it passes, such as writing in a journal or playing with your pets.
Talk to someone – Many people find it easier to be around other people while they are having a panic attack. Call someone if you can, as being around someone else makes you feel like you have someone there just in case something happens. This reassurance can be a wonderful tool.
Grounding – Look around you and focus on what you can see, hear, smell and feel. Feel the ground firmly under your feet and focus your mind on the senses one at a time.
Breathing – Use deep breathing techniques. Breath in for 5 counts and count breathing out for 7 counts. Do this for about 10 times to get back control or longer if needed.