Getting Through a Panic Attack

Sometimes panic attacks are caused by overthinking and sometimes, you have no idea why it’s happening. These are some techniques to reduce anxiety and, hopefully, stop a panic attack in its tracks.

Disclaimer: Everybody is different so all of these might work for one person, while none of them work for another person.

Technique #1: Deep Breathing

Inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 3 seconds. Repeat that 10 times. Regulating your breathing, lowers your heart rate, and automatically calms you down.

Make sure you breathe using the whole of your lungs. To do that, lay on your back and take deep breaths. Your tummy should expand as you inhale, and shrink as you exhale.

Technique #2: Redirecting Thoughts

What many people try to do is distract themselves with TV. The reason this doesn’t work is because watching TV doesn’t require a lot of brain activity, so you still think about the problem. You are telling yourself not to think about it, so you think about it more.

Redirecting thoughts is different. Instead of trying not to think about the problem, do an activity that requires your full attention. This way, your brain doesn’t have a chance to overthink things.

Some ideas: writing, painting, playing an instrument, sports, tidying the house.

Technique #3: Grounding Techniques

Grounding works well because most panic attacks are a worry about the past or the future. Grounding tries to bring you back to the present. There are 2 good methods.

The first is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. It works like this:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

The other method is to list 5 things to do with a certain category. The What’s Up – Mental Health App is good for this.

For example: 5 football teams, 5 colours, 5 songs by Madonna, etc…

 

QOTD: What method(s) do you use to get out of a panic attack?

 


 

Sources and further reading:

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