If you have anxiety, panic attacks are a fact of life. You can’t control them anymore than you can control the rain or the wind – and when you feel one coming on, it can often feel like a horrible nightmare that’s nearly impossible to escape from.
But it doesn’t have to be this way – though panic attacks are hard to avoid, the symptoms of a minor panic attack can be alleviated through some simple, easy-to-implement steps.
Let’s take a look at a 5-step method to deal with anxiety-induced panic attacks now.
- Accept That It’s Happening
The first step to dealing with a panic attack is acknowledging that it’s happening. Though symptoms for each person (and each attack) are different, this often begins with noticing a raised heart rate, flushed skin, clenched fists, or other physical symptoms.
The worst thing you can do is try to avoid a panic attack, or stave it off – it will just get worse if you ignore it. The fear of the impending panic attack will get worse until it combines with the panic attack itself to become far more dangerous than it would have been on its own.
Instead, what you have to do is accept that you are, in fact, having a panic attack. And that it won’t last forever. It will pass. Remember, the panic attack itself has no power over you – it can’t do anything to you but make you feel afraid.
One of the trademarks of panic attacks is that they make you quick to react – quick to move, act, and struggle or run away.
You must fight this impulse to act quickly. You must wait.
By waiting for a few moments at the beginning of a panic attack, you can regain some of the focus, concentration, and mindfulness that are often lost in the initial tumult of fear or anger.
If a specific situation or place has brought on the panic attack, don’t just turn and flee – think about the situation, and plan accordingly. If you must, you can leave – but allowing yourself to have other options beyond simply running allows you to regain some control from the panic.
- Take Action
Once you have thought through what you’re going to do to deal with your panic attack, you must begin taking action. Most people have different methods of dealing with panic attacks – deep breaths, relaxation, safe place exercise, meditation (such as mindfulness), and muscle-flexing exercises or even talking to yourself.
Talking yourself through the process of a panic attack and reassuring yourself that you are only in discomfort – not in real danger – can be very useful when dealing with a panic attack.
Whatever your preferred technique is, make sure that it allows you to focus on actually doing something, rather than just letting the panic attack wash over you. This action of intentionally bringing yourself to terms with your surroundings can be very helpful.
- Be Ready To Do It Again – If You Have To
For many, panic attacks ebb and flow – they don’t simply stop abruptly. If you start feeling waves of panic come on again, try to stay calm. Follow the above steps again – accept the attack, wait before taking action, and then perform your preferred method of dealing with panic attacks.
- Realize That This Panic Attack Will End
Your panic attack is temporary. Even if it comes in multiple waves, it does not own you – it does not exist without you. It will end, and your life will go back to normal. Its power is temporary, localized – inert.
But though each panic attack will end, simply dealing with each one as it comes is not a great treatment method.
Though these above techniques help deal with panic attacks, it’s a good idea to talk to somebody about your anxiety problems – a licensed physician or psychologist is a good place to start.
If you can’t afford that, or are already getting treatment from a doctor, you can turn to friends and family for further assistance, or join an online message board or even chat anonymously at Paralign’s social network to help you connect with other individuals who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, and may be able to empathize and give you advice on how to deal with your anxiety when panic attacks occur.
What do you think of these tips? Do you have any other tactics in your arsenal to cope with anxiety-induced panic attacks? Please do share.