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How To Get Through An Anxiety Attack

Know What To Do For Calming A Panic Attack

How to Get Through a Panic Attack | Lifehacker

Now you have some effective ways of calming a panic attack.

We understand its a highly unpleasant and scary thing to go through, which is why we hope the above tips have helped. But one of the most important things in handling an anxiety attack is to have the aid of a professional therapist.

With their help, you can learn even more effective ways of dealing with these panic attacks so they arent as detrimental to your life. In addition, they can help you pinpoint your sources of anxiety and give you effective ways to deal with them so your chances of anxiety attacks are decreased for the future.

Walk Or Do Some Light Exercise

Walking can remove a person from a stressful environment, and the rhythm of walking may also help them regulate their breathing.

Moving around releases hormones called endorphins that relax the body and improve mood. Taking up regular exercise can help reduce anxiety over time, which may lead to a reduction in the number or severity of panic attacks.

What Causes Panic Disorder

While the exact causes are not known, what researchers do know is that panic disorder does sometimes run in families. And it is often seen in individuals who suffer from other anxiety disorders explains Cole.

For example, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder may experience a panic attack when their schedule or compulsions are interrupted. Individuals who struggle with specific phobias are also susceptible to panic attacks. A person with an extreme fear of heights may experience a panic attack in a penthouse apartment.

And for someone with generalized anxiety disorder , a condition characterized by extreme fear or worry, the unending anxiety can escalate to a panic attack. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher incidence of panic disorder than the general population. Illness or traumatic events increase the chances of panic attacks.

People with hyperthyroidism , mitral valve prolapse, and other conditions or diseases also may be more easily triggered.

Also Check: What To Do To Distract Yourself From Anxiety

Tip : Evaluate Your Diet

The idea that diet plays a key role in anxiety is overblown. A person can develop anxiety with or without a healthy diet, and there are no foods that will cure anxiety as though they are like medication.

But there is still benefit to changing your diet. Bodies that are high in nutrients and hydration tend to have better sleep, experience less discomfort, and help a person gain better energy to cope with anxiety.

On the flipside, there are some natural tools you can use to fight anxiety. For example, herbal supplements like kava can be taken as needed, and as long as you use them in combination with non-medicinal treatments, you shouldn’t start depending on them.

Similarly, you may find that your anxiety symptoms dissipate with other natural tools as well. You may benefit from magnesium supplements, for example, because magnesium is depleted during times of stress, and magnesium deficiency can lead to some very upsetting symptoms and difficulty controlling anxiety.

There are plenty of natural and healthy options to try, and you should consider talking to your doctor about them as a way to assist in your stress reduction techniques.

Talk To Someone Friendly

Getting Through A Panic And Anxiety Attack

Another very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be shy about your anxiety – tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.

Talking to nice, empathetic people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you an added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something were wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you.

Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Test Anxiety

Some People May Develop Panic Disorders

For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.

Keep Lavender On Hand

Lavender is a traditional remedy that many people use to reduce stress and help them relax.

Research suggests it has a calming effect but doesnt lead to dependence or cause withdrawal symptoms. Using products that contain diluted lavender oil may help reduce or manage symptoms of anxiety.

However, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate essential oils, and strengths and ingredients vary widely.

If you use lavender essential oil, make sure you:

  • get your oil from a reputable source, such as a pharmacy
  • follow the instructions for use
  • avoid applying concentrated oil directly to the skin
  • avoid using lavender with benzodiazepines because the combination can cause intense drowsiness

Which essential oil is right for you?

Also Check: How To Treat Bipolar Depression And Anxiety

What Is The Anxiety Trick

The Anxiety Trick is this: You experience Discomfort, and get fooled into treating it like Danger.

What do we do when we’re in danger? We only have three things: Fight, Flight, and Freeze. If it looks weaker than me, I’ll fight it. If it looks stronger than me, but slower, I’ll run away. And if it looks stronger and faster than me, I’ll freeze and hope it doesn’t see so good. That’s all we have for danger.

When people experience the fear of a panic attack, or a phobic encounter, or an obsessive thought, they instinctively treat it as a danger. They try to protect themselves, with some variation of Fight, Flight, or Freeze.

Break Up With Caffeine

How To Get Through An Anxiety Attack [Watch This Video During A Panic Attack]

A cup of coffee, chocolate, or an ice-cold Coke might help you feel better. But if caffeine is your go-to drug of choice, your anxiety could worsen.

Caffeine gives the nervous system a jolt, which can boost energy levels. But when under pressure, this nervous energy can induce an anxiety attack. Now, the idea of giving up your favorite caffeinated beverage might raise your heart rate and induce anxiety as you read this, but you dont have to stop cold turkey or give up caffeine completely. Its all about moderation.

Rather than four cups of coffee a day, scale back to one or two normal-sized cups a day normal as in 8 ounces, not 16 or 32 ounces. Give it a test run and see how you feel. As you wean yourself, slowly introduce other beverages into your diet such as decaffeinated herbal tea, which can calm your mind and nerves.

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How Do I Survive One

If you feel that anxiety building, or if its already DEFCON 1, consider trying the three Bs to get you through the crisis:

1. Body

Find a way to feel grounded. Thats psychology speak for get out of your head. Be here now. Feel your feet on the ground. Dont just visualize or think about your feet on the ground, really feel them. Attend to the micro-sensations of each toe, each inch of foot skin, that is touching the ground. Notice the gravity, the heaviness. Now you have your anchor.

You could also hold one hand with the other. Note the soft, warm sensations of touching and being touched on each hand. Use physical touch to bring you out of your head and back into your body, and to remind yourself, Im here. Im safe. Im in my room. This is just anxiety. I know it feels like something terrible is happening, but its notthose are just your thoughts about the past or about what might happen in the future.

2. Brain

Find a way to engage your brain so that it cant think dark thoughts while youre trying to calm your body down. Count backward from 100 by 2s, recite the alphabet backward, start with 50 and add 2, minus 1, over and over. Something that is neutral but requires mental effort.

3. Breath

This is the big one. This may be easier now that youve distracted your mind with busywork and reminded yourself that youre in your body, right here, right now, and not falling into the existential abyss.

Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques

Another symptom of panic attacks is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help limit an attack. This is because if the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms such as rapid breathing may also diminish.

A technique called progressive muscle relaxation is a popular method for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.

This involves tensing up and then relaxing various muscles in turn. To do this:

  • Hold the tension for 5 seconds.
  • Say relax as you release the muscle.
  • Let the muscle relax for 10 seconds before moving on to the next muscle.
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    How To Direct Your Breath

    • Start by breathing slowly and purposely.This will counteract the shallow breathing characterized by most attacks.
    • If possible, place your hands on your stomach and fill your belly with breath. When you inhale, you will feel your center rise and expand.
    • As you exhale, it will then contract inward. These deliberate breaths will assist in soothing your body and mind.

    It may also be helpful to count each breath. Such as counting your first full breath in and out as one, the next breath in and out as two, and so on. This will not only help you breathe better, but it will also help you feel calmer by giving your mind something to focus on.

    Tips For Coping During A Panic Attack

    How to Get Through a Panic Attack

    Everyone will experience panic attacks in unique ways, so strategies that work for one person may not work for you. Some strategies may work at one point, but not at others.

    The key is to try a variety of techniques until you find the ones that fit best for you.

    1. Recognize that this is a panic attack

    The first thing you can do once your symptoms start is to acknowledge them for what they are a panic attack. Its not life threatening, wont harm you, and will be gone soon.

    It can be tempting to run from feelings of panic, but accepting your emotional state can be helpful for getting through an attack.

    Tell yourself: This is temporary. It will pass soon.

    2. Stay grounded

    Many people who have panic attacks find it helpful to ground themselves in their surroundings. Staying in the present can lessen your feelings of unreality and fear.

    There are a lot of techniques to keep yourself grounded.

    One of these is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. It involves focusing on your five senses to anchor you to your surroundings.

    Smelling lavender can also help some people stay grounded and research has found inhaling this scent could reduce anxiety.

    Need some other grounding techniques to try?

    • Press your feet firmly into the ground.
    • Eat or drink one of your favorite foods .
    • Write down how youre feeling in a journal.
    • Find and focus on your pulse.

    3. Relax your muscles

    Muscle relaxation techniques can offer plenty of health benefits, including:

    • lowering blood pressure

    4. Practice mindfulness

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    Get Through The Day With Anxiety With A Routine

    One of the most reliable ways to beat anxiety is to create a daily plan that works with anxiety. Having a concrete plan, or routine, in place empowers you to act despite worries and what-ifs that can make you want to retreat.

    A step-by-step plan also includes anxiety-beating tools that work to reduce your anxiety so you can move through your day. Managing your anxiety in little ways throughout the day prevents anxiety from building and bowling you over.

    Remember That It Will Pass

    During a panic attack, it can help to remember that these feelings will pass and cause no physical harm, however scary it feels at the time.

    Try acknowledging that this is a brief period of concentrated anxiety, and that it will be over soon.

    Panic attacks tend to reach their most intense point within 10 minutes of their onset, and then the symptoms will begin to subside.

    Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Anxiety And Obsessive Thoughts

    What You Can Do

    To get through a panic attack, try to take control of your breathing first. Find a place where you can sit or be comfortable. Concentrate on making your breath slow and even. Try to inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 6 seconds. Tell yourself that youâre not in danger and that the attack will pass.

    If youâre not sure if youâre having a panic attack, itâs a good idea to go to the hospital to rule out any other health problems.

    Panic disorder is one of the most treatable types of anxiety disorders. Medication and a type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy can help. See your doctor if you have panic attacks often.

    Harvard Health Publications: âUnderstanding the Stress Response.â

    Robertson, D. Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System, Second Edition, Elsevier Academic Press, 2004.

    The BMJ: âPanic Disorder.â

    Biological Psychiatry: âDo Unexpected Panic Attacks Occur Spontaneously?â âFunctional t1Ï Imaging in Panic Disorder.â

    Psychological Medicine: âDistinct Phasic and Sustained Brain Responses and Connectivity of Amygdala and Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis During Threat Anticipation in Panic Disorder.â

    The Journal of Neuroscience: âReduced Serotonin Type 1A Receptor Binding in Panic Disorder.â

    Mayo Clinic: âPanic Attacks and Panic Disorder.â

    American Academy of Family Physicians: âPanic Disorder.â

    Centre for Clinical Interventions : âPanic Stations.â

    Calming Step : Focus On Breathing

    What helps you get through your anxiety | panic attacks?

    Your breath affects your mental state, so breathing is a crucial part of stopping a panic attack.

    During a panic attack, your breathing speeds up, a signal that your body is in fight-or-flight mode, Dr. Josell says. Rapid breathing sends a clear signal that youre in danger, but slow, deep breathing helps to turn off the fight-or-flight response.

  • Find a quiet place to sit or lie down, if possible. But even if you cant, deep breathing can benefit you anywhere.
  • Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.
  • Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, and exhale out through your mouth. Breathe at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
  • Notice your hands. The hand on your belly should move as you inhale and fall back into place as you exhale. The hand on your chest should stay relatively still.
  • Repeat for several minutes or until you feel calm.
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    Is It Panic Disorder

    If you feel constantly stressed and anxious, particularly about when your next panic attack may be, you may have panic disorder.

    People with panic disorder may avoid situations that might cause a panic attack. They may also fear and avoid public spaces .

    “There’s no quick fix, but if your attacks are happening time after time, seek medical help,” says Professor Salkovskis.

    Read more about panic attacks, including personal stories, at See Me Scotland.

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