What is a panic attack and how do you know if you are about to have it? I started to wonder about this question a while ago when I experienced something that I doubted to be a panic attack.
What exactly is a panic attack?
Panic attack is a sudden rush of overwhelming emotions of fear, anxiety and worry. It may last for a few seconds to an hour. The symptoms include heavy sweating, pounding heart, shaking, numbness, breathing difficulties and palpitations.
How do you know if you are about to have it?
You are having a panic attack if you experience all or most of the symptoms. When you’re about to have a panic attack your mind will be clouded with thoughts of everything that went wrong and everything that could go wrong in your life. You will start feeling discomfort and may even feel chest pain. Take a breath! As bad as it sounds panic attacks don’t have any physical threats. Panic attacks are not a danger to your long term physical health as long as you know how to handle those few rough moments.
‘Please remember you are not alone and it’s okay to feel how you feel!’
Dealing with panic attacks
These are a few tips that I found helpful on how to deal with panic attacks –
1. Count from 100 to 1
Start counting numbers backwards starting from 100 to till you feel a little distracted from your disturbing thoughts. Counting the numbers backwards requires attention and it will help you take your mind off your worries.
2. Try deep breathing
Deep breathing will also help you take your mind off your thoughts and it will also help you relax. Take long and deep breath through your nose, count to four. Then slowly release your breath counting to four again and this time through your mouth.
‘Inhale through nostrils | count | Exhale through mouth.’
3. Practice mindfulness
What this means is to be aware of your surroundings. Look at the things in front of you such as a painting and describe to yourself all- small and big details about it. You can try something else like wiggling your toes while being completely conscious about each movement.
‘Wiggle your toes!’
4. Repeat a positive sentence
Tell yourself something comforting. Think of your favourite quote or line from your favourite book. Repeat it to yourself. If you can’t remember any, just remember this is temporary and won’t last forever.
‘This too will pass.’
5. Research the web
I don’t know if it will work or not but it has helped me. When you know about something, it loses it’s power over you. The understanding you will attain will give a fresh perspective on the situation. There is a lot of useful information available online and for free.
6. Muscle relaxation techniques
This technique is followed to slowly relax each muscle one by one to calm and free the mind from anxiety. Muscle relaxation is helpful when you practice it for a while.
These are the few things that I found helpful in dealing with panic attacks. Panic attacks are not easy and can feel overpowering but you can get through this. And you will get through this.
- Main image by Binita (me!)
- Sub heading images by https://pixabay.com
I hope this article was helpful.
Do share if you have any tips on how to deal with panic attacks.