Hello there, beautiful souls! Welcome back to our little corner of the internet, where we like to break down big scary terms into manageable nuggets, empowering you with knowledge and understanding.
Today, we are going to take a closer look at the world of panic attacks - a condition that affects as many as 11 percent of Americans each year - in more detail. Below, we’ll take a deep dive into panic attacks and what you can do to prevent them from paying you a visit in the future, or at least what you can do to handle them they do, because although many people do not take them very seriously, they can be completely debilitating and you, as a sufferer, will know only too well. So, without further ado…
Panic attacks: Those unwelcome party crashers!
Picture this: you are happily going about your day minding your own business when BANG! You are hit by a wave of fear so intense that it makes you freeze in your tracks, paralyzed by your own mind. You can feel your heart pounding intensely in your chest and when you can get yourself to breathe, it comes out ragged and labored. Are you having a heart attack? Are you dying? No - you have been gripped by a panic attack> it’s a truly terrifying experience that you will not soon forget.
Panic attacks are basically sudden bouts of intense fear or discomfort that peak within minutes.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of panic attacks include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of impending doom
- Fear of losing control
Not much fun, right?
Keep calm and carry on: Handling panic attacks more effectively.
If you suffer from panic attacks, you will naturally want to know what you can do to handle them better, and even reduce them significantly. Here are some things that have been found to be effective:
1. Deep breathing
It sounds too simple to be true, but deep breathing can save you from getting into a full-blown, think-you’re-going-to-die panic attack. You see, when you are experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, your breath becomes shallow and this scares your brain into thinking something is seriously wrong. If you can slow down and take long, deep breaths, this will reassure your system that you are okay, and a major panic attack can be averted.
2. Grounding techniques
Grounding techniques can be your anchor in the storm of anxiety. Simply by focusing on something physical - like the feel of your feet on the ground or the taste of a piece of chocolate, you can take your mind away from the source of your anxiety and stop the panic from mounting.
3. Reality check
If you can, try to remind yourself that you're experiencing a panic attack and not a life-threatening situation. It might feel truly terrifying at the time, but if you can remember that it will pass, and has passed in the past you can work on calming down.
Visualization exercises are definitely another tool you will want to have in your anti-panic arsenal. When panic starts to take hold, do your best to picture a happy place like a serene forest or a lot sandy beach and stay there in your mind. Chances are, your breathing will slow and your hear-rate will come down.
Mindfulness meditation is a technique that allows you to focus on the present moment. This is helpful in preventing panic attacks because your brain stops thinking about touch situations in the past or worrying about what might happen in the future, focusing squarely on the now. Give it a try and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Seek professional support!
Of course, if panic attacks are making your life harder than it should be, and you can’t find any relief, it is a good idea to seek the professional support of a mental health professional who can listen to you, and help you come up with some more strategies to keep those panic attacks at bay.