Panic attacks can make a person feel like they’re dying. Symptoms include shortness of breath, sweaty palms, shaking, or trembling. These feelings are so intense that it’s difficult to get a word out. Sometimes people feel dizzy or even pass out during a panic attack, which can be terrifying. However, out of control you feel, there are ways to cope with a panic attack. Here are some tips and tricks to help when you are in the midst of an anxiety attack.
Don’t Try to Control a Panic Attack
Anxiety often occurs when you want to control something. You feel worried, and you keep thinking about some things so much that it eats at you. A panic attack, in essence, makes you feel completely out of control. The natural human response is to attempt to get control back. However, you cannot instantly eliminate a panic attack. The best thing you can do is focus on your coping skills and get back to breathing. Let go and surrender to the panic attack, as scary as that may sound. Remember, you can breathe and do one small thing at a time. Focus on inhaling and exhaling.
Concentrate on Your Breath
Breathing techniques are crucial for people that have anxiety. You can use breathing practices when you’re worrying about something or in the midst of a panic attack. When you feel panicked, take a deep breath in through your nose, and focus on something in the room. As you continue to look at that object, exhale through your mouth. It’s critical to remember that you need to breathe several times to calm your mind and body down. One breath isn’t going to cut it. One thing is for sure, even if you can’t control the panic attack, you have the skill set to calm your whole being with your breath. There are many different breathing techniques that you can try. One is called “box breathing.” Breathe in through your nose and count to four, hold that breath for four beats, and then exhale by counting to four once again. Box breathing can help settle your mind a lot during a panic attack.
A mantra is a saying or affirmation. These small phrases can help you during a panic attack. One common mantra that you can use is “this will pass.” Sometimes we feel like panic attacks will go on forever. Studies have shown that panic attacks usually last about 20 minutes. After that 20 minute mark, the body calms down. You cannot be stuck in a panic attack forever, even though it feels that way. Remember that mantra,” it will pass.” You can pick any mantra you like that works for you. “You will be okay.” or “I can do this!” are examples of mantras to try.
Talking About Panic in Therapy
Panic attacks can be brutal. But you can talk about them with a mental health professional. Therapists understand how painful panic attacks can are, and want to help you gain coping skills. Learn more about mental health and strategies to be well here. Living with panic is manageable when you have the right coping strategies to use. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional if you are struggling because they can help you learn how to help yourself.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.