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 

Dealing with panic attack, backwards number counting
100-99-98-97-96-95

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

Dealing with panic attack, deep breathing
Breathe in, pause, breathe out!

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

Dealing with panic attack, practice mindfulness
Being in the moment!

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

Dealing with panic attack, positive thinking
This too shall pass!

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

Dealing with panic attack, web research
Search & 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

Dealing with panic attack, muscle relaxation technique
Try muscle relaxation!

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.

Conclusion

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.


Further Reading:


Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks


Image courtesy: 


I hope this article was helpful.

Do share if you have any tips on how to deal with panic attacks.

Thank you

38 thoughts on “What is panic attack and how to deal with it?

  1. I love all your tips. However, I must admit to being all about prevention, and would rather stay clear of the grisly effects of a panic attack. For instance, I just wriggled my toes while counting backwards from 100. Made me giggle!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Good post! I would have to add, as I’ve had many panic attacks, that it’s important to remember that you WILL live through your attack, even though you usually think otherwise. I try not to fear the panic anymore, but to–yes–be thankful for it, as I now understand that any form of panic is a message from “the Universe” that I’m thinking negatively, whether I’m consciously aware of it or not. Another excellent remedy? Try tapping–I’ve had amazing results with it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Did you know that one of the signs of a panic attack in someone else is that their pupils become dilated even in bright sunlight? It is a signal to me that I need to work on calming that person down getting other help for them. It signals that they are about to lose control. I learned this one the hard way from experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I experienced panic attacks over a number of years between the early 2000s and about three years ago. They began oddly and were almost always connected to driving on major highways. Firstly I found I couldn’t pass anyone… I had to stay in the far right lane and if I got behind a slow vehicle, I stayed there. The full monty panic attack occurred out of nowhere driving down a highway, whipping along and suddenly I thought I was having a heart attack – the fear came after my heart started racing. Fortunately that highway had a wide shoulder and I pulled over, my heart racing – pounding – and sweat pouring down my face and then fear. I was fumbling for my cell phone to dial 911 when it stopped as abruptly as it had begun. I pulled back into traffic and continued on. This began to recur, so I went to my doctor who immediately scheduled counselling with a psychologist. This helped some, but not enough. Eventually talking for hours over many months with a friend brought it under control. Nothing else worked for me as my panic attacks were based on severe real problems in my life and only support from a very close friend helped.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience with panic attack. It is scary and gives an awful feeling dealing with panic attack. It is difficult but as you mentioned sharing and talking about it helps to some extent. I’m happy to know you got out of the situation safe and that you have a good support system.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on educated unemployed indian and commented:

    This article was recently published in the Positive outlooks blog with one or two small tweaks. The article had received a very good response from readers with 6.4 K shares on social media.
    I am grateful to the positive outlook blog’s administrators for the very useful suggestions that helped to improve the article.
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    Liked by 2 people

  6. If at home, I look out the window. If outside, I stop the car, watch people go by and think, “everyone is having their own panic attack for some reason.:
    I bake, and nibble something sweet.
    I complete a small project.
    I hug my pug.
    I smile at my husband.
    I breathe.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great Post and Wonderful advice!!! I have my own battles with Panic Attacks but the frequency and duration are well managed now that I am older and wiser. I experienced my first Panic Attack in my mid 20s. I have a clinical background in psychology but was ill prepared and completely caught off guard. My Panic attacks were always random and would happen even if I was having a great day. I soon learned that it runs in my family and my mother shared that she to started having attacks at around the same age. Besides listening to music and meditation, my dog really helps me and will sit next to me until I get relief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the appreciation and for sharing your thoughts. You have the best resource which has clearly helped you in dealing with panic attack. The best resource in this case (or in any other case) is your knowledge! The more aware you become of the situation and the problem, the more simpler becomes the process of dealing. This is my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

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