How to Manage Panic Attack
As we continue to live through a pandemic, another pandemic has taken over humanity, “mental health problems”. Situations arising due to the pandemic and otherwise as well, have led to a severe increase in mental health issues around the world.
How to Manage Panic Attack? Feelings like loneliness, fear, worry, and grief have led to major mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. 2020 and 2021 have raised the bar of concern extremely high, especially in terms of mental health problems.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. Panic attacks are sudden, intense surges when a person feels worried or when they have anxiety. These are the results of feeling overwhelmed for a long time.
Some of these symptoms are physical like feeling nauseous, having difficulty in breathing, sweating profusely, having strong chills throughout your body, chest pain, or even feeling your heartbeat extremely faster.
Emotional symptoms of panic attacks include feeling something major during the panic attack like detachment from reality or themselves, this makes them think that they are having a heart attack or a stroke.
Panic attacks may seem scary. You might feel like you are losing it all. But, if managed effectively, they cause no harm. Hence, here are the four key steps for you to learn how to manage panic attacks.
4 Key Steps in Learning to Manage Panic Attack
1. Find A Quiet Space And Breathe Deeply
Acknowledging the situation and finding a quiet place to settle is the first step to address the panic attack. You don’t want any stimuli during the attack. Remind yourself that it’s not a heart attack, it’s temporary.
Take away the unnecessary fear from your mind with deep breathing.
Deep and calm breathing is not done to stop the panic attack because it is dangerous but to make it a little easier by turning down the volume of the feelings
Start breathing deeply, take control of your breath. Feel the process of breathing. Feel it slowly.
Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four. As an exercise to manage panic attacks, the idea is to use the link between our body and brain for therapeutic benefit. This reduces the physical symptoms experienced during a panic attack.
2. Move Your Body And Relax Your Muscles
The second step is to learn how to relax your muscles during a panic attack. This is helpful because it lowers the overall stress levels that eventually lead to a panic attack.
Again, you don’t control what you are feeling, you lower the intensity of your feelings using muscle relaxation.
Muscle relaxation techniques work similarly to deep breathing for they allow you to control the response of your body as much as possible. This includes consciously relaxing one muscle group at a time. For example, tensing your toes or fingers, holding them for a few seconds, and then releasing them slowly.
3. Try And Get Back In Your Senses
The next step is to identify the thoughts that scare you. These are the thoughts that trigger the physical feeling of panic. Hence, it is important to identify and recognize them.
You can do that by diverting your focus to a particular taste, smell, sight, touch, or sound. Concentrate on any one of your senses, associate them with the things around you, or use your memory’s picture to think about your happy memories.
Identify your thoughts and write what comes to your mind. Ask yourself, what am I afraid for myself? What will happen to me during the panic attack? Answer these on a piece of paper whenever you feel anxious.
Repeat this exercise whenever the overdose of feelings begins to cripple in. Revisit your answers when you are fine. You will realize that most of your answers have very few chances to happen.
4. Practice The 5-4-3-2-1 Method
This is a grounding technique used for mindfulness during a panic attack. This diverts the person’s focus from the sources of stress to something that can help them calm down. So, here are the 5 steps you must follow at last to calm yourself and manage your panic attack.
- Find 5 different objects and think about each of them
- Listen to 4 distinct sounds and think where they are coming from
- Touch 3 objects, consider their texture, temperature, and use
- Identify 2 different smells
- Name 1 thing you can taste
This method will help you to shift your focus from the source of stress to the things in your surroundings. And eventually, help you come back to your normal state.
Learning about anxiety and working on the strategies to cope with them is as important as any other life-saving technique. Even if it is not fatal in the immediate moment, it does impact people in the long run.
All the worries and physical feelings we go through in uncertain times are termed anxiety. It is normal and adaptive. It helps people to prepare for times when the situation goes out of hand.
Anxiety isn’t a problem until the situation is genuine enough to make you anxious. For example, failing an exam, losing a loved one, or any other unfortunate event. It becomes a problem when it arises during situations with no real danger. It is a problem when our body tells us there is danger even when there is not.
It is not wrong to be anxious about things or situations that bother you in life. It becomes a problem when you surpass reality and start imagining circumstances that have no ground in the real world.
Hence, the goal is not to eliminate anxiety. The goal is to learn how to manage it.
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