A panic attack scares a person to such an extent that he loses control over himself. But you can cope with this condition, especially since it does not pose a physical threat to the body. Let’s list the ways that help you pull yourself together and return to normal life.
1. Breathe properly
At the first signs of a panic attack, it is important to focus on breathing. Inhaling and exhaling should be conscious, long, deep. Deep breathing helps to weaken the reaction to stress, anxiety. You can use different breathing techniques:
- Diaphragmatic breathing, in which the abdominal wall should rise on inspiration and fall on exhalation.
- Simple slow breathing. It is better to inhale through the nose, and exhale through the mouth. Shoulders and back need to be straightened.
- Using an account. You need to inhale and exhale, counting to four each time. It’s good if you can focus on counting and breathing.
- With a breath delay. If the inhalations and exhalations become frequent, shallow, you can hold your breath after inhaling for a few seconds. This will help you breathe slower, deeper.
2. Find a quiet place
During an attack, it is better to find a calm, quiet place where there will be fewer people. It is desirable that you can sit there, relax until you feel normal. A separate room, a foyer or an office will do. You can just go outside and sit on a bench. You need to take a comfortable position, try to relax. It is recommended to use meditation or relaxation techniques. This will help to cope with anxiety.
If there is nowhere to go, you can just close your eyes for a while and focus on breathing. The method helps especially well if the attack begins due to the fact that a person finds himself in a crowd, in a moving vehicle, on a holiday.
4. Imagine something pleasant
You can cope with fear and anxiety by imagining something pleasant, safe, associated with positive emotions. It can be a place where a person feels comfortable, a favorite animal, someone close. The main thing is that the image evokes positive emotions and helps to calm down.
5. Tighten and relax your muscles
To relieve an attack, you can use the simplest technique of muscle relaxation: for example, alternately strain and relax individual muscle groups. These may be the muscles of the back, arms, legs, abdomen. Tension and subsequent relaxation helps to manage the condition of the muscles, focus on it, distracting from anxiety, fear. Such exercises help to learn how to quickly distinguish a tense state of muscles from a relaxed one, recognizing the approach of a panic attack.
6. Remember that the attack will end soon
After a few minutes, a strong fear will let you go. You can repeat to yourself that fear is caused only by a panic attack, that this condition does not need to be controlled, that it will quickly pass by itself. This will help to get rid of the fear of death and the sense of approaching danger.
7. Control your health
A panic attack can be similar to a heart attack or suffocation. It is necessary to be examined by a doctor, monitor the state of health, so as not to confuse a panic attack with symptoms of a dangerous condition. If such episodes happen regularly, tell your therapist about them, describe how you feel during them. This will help to understand whether the symptoms are really related to stress, anxiety, or they have another reason. Regular diagnostics and health care help to reduce the level of anxiety.
8. Focus on the sensations
Often seizures are accompanied by a feeling of unreality of what is happening, a sense of detachment, detachment, loss of control. The ability to focus will help to cope with this. You need to focus on familiar sensations: for example, on the texture of the fabric under your fingers or on tactile sensations when feeling keys. By focusing on them, you can distract yourself from the anxiety provoking an attack in order to maintain control over the situation.
To make it easier to focus on sensations, you can carry a special object for this: for example, a keychain, a pen or any other small, well-known object. If a panic attack begins at a time when there is nothing suitable at hand, you can focus on any subject, note all its features to yourself. It can be a clock on the wall, a tree on the street, a parked car, a view from the window: any object that will help to switch attention.