Today I will be sharing panic attack tips and techniques that have helped me overcome them in the past.
Panic attacks are truly terrifying, something anyone who has suffered having one will agree with.
Your heart beats out of your chest, breathing becomes more difficult, and everything you feel is impending death.
Luckily there are ways to keep attacks from happening, or even riding one out while remaining relatively calm.
I was 36 when I had my first one, and I needed an ambulance, as at the time I truly believed I was going to die, it was horrible.
The paramedic talked me through calming myself down and I felt a bit silly afterwards as I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack!
I used to suffer with regular panic attacks for a period of about 2 years.
Over time I learned how to control them and calm down myself down, and eventually eradicate them completely.
Panic attacks can be unpredictable, and I think it’s important to know how to deal with them when they happen because you’re not always in a place where you can just lie down and ride it out.
These techniques are designed to take the mind off the state of panic that you’re in and respond to something else instead.
It can help you calm down faster, or avoid the panic attack altogether.
They don’t work for everyone, but here are some of my favourites.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified Councillor/Therapist, therefore all the advice given is from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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How you know you’re having a panic attack
Before you learn how to control panic it is important to first understand what the signs and symptoms are for a panic attack.
Not only does this tell you if that is exactly what you are experiencing, but it helps you to recognise the signs early so you can start implementing some of these strategies quickly.
This lets you put a stop to the panic attack before it progresses, since they do tend to worsen over time. Here are some different symptoms you might experience:
- Tunnel vision
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Fight or flight
- Fear of losing control
- Racing heartbeat
- Flushes or chills
- Tingling in the extremities
- Twitching or trembling muscles
- Feeling like you aren’t real
- Flushed face
- Fear of dying
Many people mistaken the symptoms of a panic attack with a heart attack since they are very similar, right up to the chest pains and dizziness.
The problem with this is that even if you know you are having a panic attack, you have an intense worry that your worrying could lead to a heart attack, which then worsens the symptoms of the panic attack, making you feel like it is leading to a heart attack.
The circle can continue unless you are able to put a stop to it.
Panic Attack Tips – Easy to Follow Guide!
Recognise the warning signs and symptoms
Since the symptoms of a panic attack can be so intense and frightening, one of the first things you should do if you’re trying to figure out how to stop a panic attack fast is to recognize the warning signs.
After a panic attack occurs, take the time to write out the physical and psychological symptoms you experienced so you can look for consistencies over time.
You’ll probably notice a lot of similarities, and will eventually be able to recognise the symptoms you are experiencing are a result of a panic attack and not something more serious.
Write your symptoms down in a notebook you carry around with you or as a note in your smartphone, and remind yourself to review your list each time you start feeling the symptoms of an impending panic attack.
This will help you remember that you are not losing control or having a heart attack so you can focus on strategies to help bring yourself back to a place of calm.
Figure out your triggers
Another great tip for those who want to know how to stop a panic attack fast is to figure out what triggers your panic attacks to begin with.
This can take time, but can be very effective in helping you avoid the things that cause you to feel anxious, and to anticipate and minimise your symptoms when you can’t.
Each time you experience a panic attack, take the time to write down the events that occurred beforehand, as well as the physical and psychological symptoms you experienced.
Over time, you will likely see patterns, and can then formulate a plan to avoid (or manage) your triggers.
Retreat to a quiet place
External stimuli can sometimes add to the intensity of a panic attack. If you are in public when symptoms begin, consider retreating to a quieter place until you feel more calm.
If this isn’t possible, closing your eyes and practicing deep breathing can help.
Practice deep breathing
If you’re searching for tips to help you learn how to stop a panic attack fast, you’ve probably read about deep breathing.
It’s one of the most common breathing techniques for anxiety and panic attacks, but it’s not always easy for everyone.
It does take practice, but when you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it with ease.
To get started, find a chair to sit down in and put your arms on the armrests.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, lasting for about 5 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth for 7 seconds.
Repeat 10 times, and as you get more comfortable, you can repeat up to 20 times.
If you want to step it up a notch, try mediation.
Mindfulness is our innate ability to be fully present in the moment – to focus on where we are and what we’re doing without allowing other, intrusive thoughts, worries, or fears to permeate our minds.
When we’re practicing mindfulness, we’re impartial and non-judgmental to what’s happening around us, and when our minds wander, we redirect our thoughts back to the present moment.
Mindfulness sounds pretty simple in theory, but we live in a day and age where we are encouraged to overschedule our time as much as possible.
It can be surprisingly difficult to focus on the here and now without letting all of the things that are vying for our attention to take hold and send us into a stress-induced state.
If you’re looking for tips on how to stop a panic attack fast, mindfulness is an excellent strategy to learn.
There are tons of great mindfulness resources and classes available online, and you may be able to find mindfulness instructors and classes within your area.
The 5,4,3,2,1 grounding exercise
This technique will take you through your five senses to help remind you of the present.
This is a technique that can help you achieve a calm mind in stressful situations.
Take a deep belly breath to begin.
5 – LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I see the computer, I see the cup, I see the picture frame.
4 – FEEL: Pay attention to your body and think of 4 things that you can feel, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I feel my feet warm in my socks, I feel the hair on the back of my neck, or I feel the pillow I am sitting on.
3 – LISTEN: Listen for 3 sounds. It could be the sound of traffic outside, the sound of typing or the sound of your tummy rumbling. Say the three things out loud.
2 – SMELL: Say two things you can smell. If you’re allowed to, it’s okay to move to another spot and sniff something. If you can’t smell anything at the moment or you can’t move, then name your 2 favourite smells.
1 – TASTE: Say one thing you can taste. It may be the toothpaste from brushing your teeth, or a mint from after lunch. If you can’t taste anything, then say your favourite thing to taste.
Take another deep belly breath to end.
Muscle relaxation techniques
Slow down and focus on one body part at a time and release any tension then move on to the next area. Practice doing this at night when you’re chilling in bed.
I like to start with my feet and work my way up the body. Take deep breaths and release any tension in that body part before moving on to the next.
You may drift off to sleep from the relaxation. During a panic attack focus on this until you’re through the other side of the panic attack.
Close your eyes while doing deep breathing or muscle relaxation.
If you’re feeling lightheaded this is not the best alternative. Instead, focus on an object while breathing.
You may find one way works better for you than another.
Create a sleep routine
Try to establish a night time routine to improve sleep quality, as well as your ability to fall asleep in the first place.
This may reduce the likelihood of experiencing anxieties during night time hours.
So, aim to go to bed around the same time each night and get up at a regular time as well.
It’s also a good idea to head to bed at a time that will allow you to get 7-9 hours of sleep.
If there are others in the house, do not be afraid to wake them up to let them know what’s going on.
They will likely be a reassuring, positive presence to help you get through the panic attack.
If you are alone, there are many 24-hour helplines you can contact for support in getting through your panic attack.
Focus on an object
During a panic attack, find one object and focus all your attention on it.
Note everything you can about it (patterns, colours, size, etc.) to yourself.
This technique has the potential to take your mind off your panic attack and help your symptoms subside.
Take a hot bath or a shower
This can sometimes be an instant fix, but you should let yourself soak in the peace of the moment. Allow the warmth to calm you, and allow yourself to feel safe.
The feeling of being clean is also anxiety reducing, so the whole process can diminish any panic.
Think of positive images
Try thinking of positive things during a panic attack.
This could be a list of your favourite songs, foods or animals. For example, start at the beginning of the alphabet, naming a place beginning with each letter, and work your way along from A to Z.
If you can, another idea is to get a notebook and write down a ‘page full of positive things’.
Put down all the things you love (hobbies, sports, people, movies) until the page is full up.
Pick a colour
Take a look around you, are there a particular colour you can see? Blue, green, pink?
Now, search the area around you and find as many objects as you can in that colour.
Once you run out of things, you can move on to the next colour. And repeat, until you start to feel better.
This one is quite fun, and if you are a visual person it may be a better option than the two above as you are focusing on things that are actually in front of you.
Learn as much as you can about panic attacks. This could be the key to your handling of them.
Make sure you learn as much as you can about the possible causes and how to deal with them.
The more information you have, the better able you will deal with a panic attack when you have one.
Panic attack tips – Final thought
Each of these ways have been helpful to me when I was suffering from panic attacks.
If you can apply some of them, your panic attacks won’t be so severe and extreme.
Once the severity of the symptoms starts to wear out, you will know that you are on the right track.
It is not a fast process, but if you are persistent in your attempts to prevent and stop panic attacks, at one point they will go away.
What are your coping techniques for panic attacks? I would to hear them below.
I would love to hear your thoughts below on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!
If you have any questions please reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
I really hope you found inspiration in this article.
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, wellbeing, addiction recovery and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!