Today I will be discussing anxiety attack tips and techniques that have helped me in the past when I would suffer with them.
Anxiety 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 anxiety 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.
Anxiety 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 anxiety that you’re in and respond to something else instead.
It can help you calm down faster, or avoid the anxiety attack altogether.
They don’t work for everyone, but here are some of my favourites.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified therapist/councillor, therefore all the advice is given from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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What is an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack is a short period of strong fear that happens for no reason that you.
An anxiety attack can be a one-time event, or can become an ongoing problem.
If you have two or more anxiety attacks in a month, you may have a condition called anxiety or anxiety disorder.
If anxiety attacks become severe (very bad), they may keep you from living a normal life.
What causes anxiety attacks?
Caregivers do not know for sure what causes anxiety attacks. Sometimes they are caused by being in a situation that you find upsetting.
You may have them due to a stressful life event, such as getting divorced.
You are more likely to have anxiety attacks if you also have another mental health problem.
Other mental health problems include depression (feeling very sad most or all of the time), or alcoholism (abusing alcoholic drinks).
Anxiety attacks may happen for no reason. Anxiety attacks can happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender.
Some health conditions or medicines may cause anxiety attack symptoms.
Using or withdrawing from alcohol or illegal drugs may also cause symptoms.
Some people have anxiety attacks that are triggered (started) by the fear of having a future anxiety attack.
You are more likely to have anxiety attacks if someone in your family also has them.
What are the signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack?
The symptoms felt during an anxiety attack can feel like symptoms of a serious health problem, such as a heart problem.
On the other hand, some serious health problems can cause anxiety attacks, such as heart or breathing problems.
Have your symptoms checked by a caregiver to make sure they are not caused by a serious health problem.
The main symptom of an anxiety attack is extreme fear. Other signs and symptoms are different from person to person.
The same person may even have different signs and symptoms during repeat anxiety attacks.
Signs and symptoms usually do not last longer than 30 minutes. Besides fear, other signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack may include:
- Chest pain.
- Dizziness, or feeling light-headed.
- Fear of losing control or doing something embarrassing.
- Feeling of being out of touch with people or things around you.
- Having a feeling of doom, which is feeling like something very bad is going to happen. You may feel like you are about to die.
- Heart palpitations, which is becoming suddenly aware of your heartbeat. You may feel like your heart is pounding, or beating too fast.
- Sweating, trembling, or having hot or cold flashes.
- Stomach discomfort or upset which may include nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) or diarrhoea.
- Numbness (loss of feeling) or tingling in your hands or feet. You may have numbness or tingling of your lips or around your mouth.
- You may feel like you cannot breathe. Some people may hyperventilate during an anxiety attack and not even notice it. Hyperventilation means that your breaths are too fast and shallow. Breathing this way can cause numbness or tingling in your hands and lips. Your fingers or toes may have cramping, or even curl up. During an anxiety attack, focus on taking very slow, deep breaths. You may need a friend or loved one to help you do this by breathing with you. They may ask you how to breathe in and out of a paper bag when you hyperventilate.
With an anxiety disorder, you may have anxiety attacks that happen often.
These attacks often come without reason or warning.
You may be troubled with a fear of having another anxiety attack.
You may have a lot of anxiety attacks, followed by weeks or months without having any.
Some people become so fearful of having anxiety attacks that they are afraid to leave their house.
This is called agoraphobia.
People with agoraphobia may also fear being in crowds, or in any place where they cannot leave quickly.
Tips for Managing Anxiety Attacks – Ultimate Guide!
Recognise the warning signs and symptoms
Since the symptoms of a anxiety 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 anxiety attack fast is to recognise the warning signs.
After an anxiety 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 anxiety 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 anxiety 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 an anxiety attack fast is to figure out what triggers your anxiety 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 anxiety 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.
Get to a comfortable environment
During an anxiety attack, your senses may feel overwhelmed. Loud, busy, and bright environments can make anxiety attacks worse because they cause too much sensory input.
Furthermore, being in crowds or in triggering situations can worsen symptoms.
Avoid these issues by getting to the most comfortable environment possible quickly.
For example, you may go into your bedroom, turn off the lights, and avoid the television.
If you’re at work, you can go to a private area or your office.
If you’re driving when anxiety attacks hit, be sure to pull over in a safe place and do not drive until you can focus again.
Grounding is simple and free strategy to reduce anxiety that you can use anywhere.
Grounding distracts you from your worry and anxiety.
It uses mindfulness principles to refocus your attention on concrete, observable things in the present.
As the name says, it grounds you in reality so that your mind isn’t stuck in the past or future.
There are very few rules to grounding. You can change the questions as they suit you and your environment.
The key is to just get you to tune into observing and using your senses.
Practice deep breathing
If you’re searching for tips to help you learn how to stop a anxiety attack fast, you’ve probably read about deep breathing.
It’s one of the most common breathing techniques for anxiety and anxiety 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 6 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 anxiety 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.
I am also a Mindfulness Practitioner, so feel free to ask me for help.
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 an anxiety attack focus on this until you’re through the other side of the anxiety 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.
Picture a place that brings you happiness
Make room in your mind for a destination that makes you think of relaxing and unwinding.
It could be a beautiful beach on the coast, a tropical oasis, or a snowy mountain in the middle of nowhere.
Try to imagine yourself at this place, taking in all of the scents and feeling the sun on your face.
Escaping to your happy place can help ground your mind and ease the anxiety away.
Regular exercise can help release tension and lower blood pressure, two physical issues that many anxiety sufferers might face.
Instituting an exercise regimen can have excellent long-term benefits, but it’s also useful as a quick fix.
The next time you feel anxiety starting to creep in, pull out your jump rope or hop on the treadmill.
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 anxiety attack.
If you are alone, there are many 24-hour helplines you can contact for support in getting through your anxiety attack.
Focus on an object
During an anxiety 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 anxiety 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 anxiety.
Think of positive images
Try thinking of positive things during an anxiety 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 anxiety 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 anxiety attack when you have one.
Tips for managing anxiety attacks – Final thought
Each of these ways have been helpful to me when I was suffering from anxiety attacks.
If you can apply some of them, your anxiety 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 anxiety attacks, at one point they will go away.
What are your coping techniques for anxiety 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!
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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, expanding your awareness, inner peace, self-care and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!