What Do I Do If Im Having A Panic Attack
With or without panic disorder, panic attacks are common. And theres a big misconception around dealing with them, Gruner explains.
The most common advice people hear when theyre experiencing a panic attack is to take deep breaths, think positively, and try to calm down, he says.
However, trying to control anxiety in these ways can backfire. Struggling to prevent a panic attack can have a paradoxical effect and actually cause a panic attack.
During a panic attack, a person should do the counterintuitive thing: let go of control and allow the panic attack to run its course.
It can also be useful to remind yourself that you cant die from a panic attack, and that its your bodys normal, natural reaction, which is not dangerous.
Gabe Gruner, LICSW, is a psychotherapist at the Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Brigham and Womens Hospital .
Other Strategies To Overcome Anxiety
This is just a small sample of the many strategies for reducing anxiety. Some people find relaxation exercises like visualization and progressive muscle relaxation to be helpful. Others find goal setting, staying socially active, and spending time with fun distractions to be all they need. Others need to consider herbal supplements like kava and passionflower that can help control anxiety.
But the most important thing to realize is committing to changing your anxiety is the most important step.
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Stress Hormones Are Limited In What They Can Do
Even though anxiety attacks can feel powerful, stress responses and the hormones they produce are limited in what they can do. While they can prepare the body for emergency action, stress responses cant cause you to snap and lose your mind, cant cause a mental breakdown, cant cause you to do something you dont want to do, dont last forever, and will end.
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How Does Progressive Muscle Relaxation Work
The first and most critical step is that you need to get comfortable. You can lie down or sit in a chair but ensure that youre in a relaxing position and free from distractions. Now that youre comfortable breath in deeply through your nose and exhale via your mouth. Do this about 3-5 times.
The next step involves tensing and relaxing muscles. Youll start with your feet by clenching your toes. This works better if youre bare feet as youre able to clench your toes tightly while pressing your heels against the ground.
Release the clench with the toes pointing upwards, hold this position for several seconds and release. Work your way to the rest of your muscles from your calves to the face. Tighten each muscle and release. Repeat this with all muscle groups that feel stiff.
If youre injured, avoid tensing muscles in areas that are in pain as you might worsen your injury.
Change Your Mindset A Mental Tip For Overcoming Anxiety On Stage
Imagine coming to your speaking or performing challenge with a very different mindset, writes Esposito in Getting Over Stage Fright. This new approach you are taking is based in being authentic and genuine as you focus on connection and collaboration. You have stepped back from your own self-interest or self-protection and, rather than being preoccupied with succeeding , you care more about the needs and interests of others. You connect deeply with the people in your audience and care about everyone getting value out of the experience.
Instead of pressuring yourself to prove that youre an awesome musician or performer, step back from your ego. Just be yourself, enjoy the music, and connect with your audience.
Easy? No. Simple? Maybe.
On the bright side, I have learned a few things about how NOT to overcoming stage fright or performance anxiety
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Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
Strategy #: Come Up With A New Thought
The thoughts that go through our headthe cognitive symptoms of panicare scary: Im dying, Im going crazy, Im going to pass out, Im going to throw up and humiliate myself. The list goes on.
So when you feel panic starting to rise, talk back to your thoughts in a new way. One patient made her new thought, I got this. Another pictured the wave of panic as an ocean wave to surfwhat went up would inevitably come down. And a third decided on none other than F— you, anxiety! Choose what works for you.
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Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger
Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.
Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!
The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.
Natural Remedies For Anxiety Relief And Panic Disorders
Now its time for the fun part!
Nothing can be more effective than an all-out holistic and nutritional approach for not only relieving stress and overcoming worry and fear, but for also healing your overall mind and body from the constant heavy exposure to ill causing foods and the very toxic environment we live in today.
Lets face it, the FDA and CDC does not like the term natural cures because they want us to rely on the multi-billion dollar drug industry for being the ones that supposedly making us feel better. However, more and more people are taking a step back away from pharmaceutical drugs and are instead turning towards a natural remedy solution or a nutritionally holistic approach that considers the overall mental and physical symptoms of the illness.
Now, a doctor may not admit that natural medicine does indeed work but they will admit that antidepressants will not cure panic attacks forever. If anything, the drugs will actually cause your body to be reliant on the antidepressants so much so that it causes more frequent attacks when you try to withdraw from the drug. Thats why its important that you focus on a more permanent solution that acts more as a cure than merely masking the symptoms.
Lets get started
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I Am Anxious All The Time What Should I Do
The first thing to do is remind yourself that anxiety is a normal response to stress and stress is a daily part of our personal and professional lives.
Its OK to feel anxious. But at the same time, avoiding anxiety and distracting yourself will often make things worse.
Therefore, if you are feeling anxious all the time and you believe that it is getting in the way of your relationships, ability to perform at work, and in your quality of life, you should definitely do something about it.
Your anxiety symptoms can be alleviated with a few simple exercises/techniques. These include breathing exercises, mindfulness awareness exercises, self-safe hypnosis, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Physical exercise such as going for a walk, hitting the weights or doing high intensity interval training at the gym, and yoga and tai chi are effective ways to release repressed emotions. These forms of physical exercise has been shown to help calm your mind. Many people report that they feel as though they have gained perspective post-workout.
When symptoms of anxiety persist over a long period of time, there may be a deeper cause for your anxiety. For example, your constant feelings of anxiousness may stem from unresolved issues within your relationship, or feelings of dissatisfaction with your job or career. It is recommended that you talk to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or a qualified counsellor to help find a solution to your anxiety.
Lose Yourself In The Music
When I played our second song Vivaldis Pastorale for Sonata No. 4 I actually got into the waltzy tempo and forgot about my audience for a few seconds. Unfortunately the song lasted for less than two minutes, which means I didnt have time to really get into the music.
Are you playing music you truly enjoy? That can be a great tip on how to overcome an anxiety attack on stage. Fright is less overwhelming and consuming if youre performing music you love. Get into the music lose yourself in the music! Become the music.
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How Do I Calm My Anxious Child
Anxiety and panic share some common symptoms. When your child is experiencing a panic attack or is feeling particularly anxious, follow these steps.
- Be calm yourself. Its not about you.
- Acknowledge that their feelings are real instead of punishing/shaming them for how they feel.
- Practice chest breathing together to encourage their parasympathetic nervous system to do its thing.
- Tell them that you are there for them by saying, I am here for you.
- Give them a long hug .
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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A Resource For Managing Stage Fright
Why is it that well-prepared, talented, hardworking, and intelligent performers find their performance and self-esteem undermined by the fear of memory slips, technique failures, and public humiliation? In Managing Stage Fright: A Guide for Musicians and Music Teachers, author Julie Jaffee Nagel unravels these mysteries, taking the reader on an intensive backstage tour of the anxious performers emotions to explain why stage fright happens and what performers can do to increase their comfort in the glare of the spotlight.
Its not easy to learn how to allow your anxious thoughts while not being overtaken by them. It takes as much practice as learning how to play an instrument or sing on stage! You may always feel anxious and afraid, but you wont regret trying to perform.
The only thing worse than trying and failing is not trying at all.
When To Talk To Someone About Anxiety
Experiencing an anxiety attack is reason enough to seek medical help. Consider talking to a mental health professional about your anxiety attacks and the particulars of your anxiousness.
Anxiety often causes people to drink excessive amounts of alcohol or use dangerous drugs to cope with the symptoms of having an anxiety disorder. Substance abuse may provide temporary relief from anxiety, but it is not a long-term solution to coping with a mental illness. If youve relied on drugs or alcohol to manage your anxiety, .
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Effective Ways To Deal With An Anxiety Attack
When anxiety strikes, knowing how to calm down is vital for your health and functioning in social situations. One way to battle an anxiety attack is to hone in on your senses. Deliberately thinking about items around you that you can smell or hear will help distract you from the anxiety itself so you can calm yourself. Removing yourself from the public eye when you are having an anxiety attack can be beneficial. When people stare at you because you are having an attack, symptoms may worsen. Let a few trusted people know if you regularly suffer from anxiety and alert them about what would make you feel better if you do have an attack. They may be able to talk you through the situation or get you to a safe location so that you can calm down.
How To End An Anxiety Or Panic Attack
An anxiety attack can be terrifying, but it wont kill you. If you want to overcome it, take a deep breath and know it will end soon.
“Anxiety” is a general term that describes a variety of experiences, including nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry, that are common in several mental health disorders. While most of us have anxiety at some time, this is completely different from an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Normal feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear often have a known trigger . But when you’re having a full blown panic attack or anxiety attack, the symptoms chest pain, flushing skin, racing heart, and difficulty breathing can make you feel as though you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. The reality is, you wont. The key to surviving is to learn all you can about anxiety attacks and practice the skills you need to get through them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of an anxiety attack include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Trembling or shaking
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers practical strategies in how to deal with stress and anxiety attacks, including:
- Accept that you cannot control everything.
- Do your best.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety.
Here’s how to stop an anxiety attack and recover.
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What Is Hyperventilation
Even though your body needs oxygen to survive, and turns that oxygen into carbon dioxide when it’s been used up within the bloodstream, your body also expects a healthy amount of carbon dioxide in your circulatory system as well. Hyperventilation is the act of breathing either too quickly or incorrectly in such a way that you’re taking in too much oxygen while breathing out too much carbon dioxide.
Interestingly, during this time it may feel as though you’re not getting enough air, and your instinct may be to take deeper breaths. But by responding to that sensation by trying to take in more air, you’re actually making your hyperventilation worse, which is why those that try to get deeper breaths often feel their symptoms getting worse, causing further panic.
When there isn’t enough carbon dioxide in your blood, you experience the symptoms of an anxiety attack, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and more
Notice how each of these symptoms are the same as when you’re suffering from severe anxiety, which is why it often feels like an “attack” and why the symptoms feel so physical. They build on each other to create an experience that feels like something is terribly wrong.
The most likely cause of hyperventilation is breathing too quickly, which is a common response to anxiety. But it’s not the only cause either. You may also hyperventilate because: