Let us assume that we all have an internal panic button and it automatically gets switched on anywhere and at any time. It may switch on while you’re in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or sitting on the couch at home. Now you must be wondering that panic attacks don’t work like that as you have experienced it many times and it usually happens when you are in a pressurizing situation. Well! This confusion is arising as we have been using the phrase ‘panic attack’ as an umbrella term for our daily anxieties.
A panic attack is a body’s most extreme physical response to anxiety. It is a component of a panic disorder which consists of extreme and sudden anxiety that triggers from major life changes and extremely stressful events. During a panic attack, you heart starts pounding heavily and you cannot breathe and it feels as if you are dying and going absolutely crazy.
Accept the situation
Although it sounds dire but this is the first effective and simple step that you have to take. Just accept that you are witnessing a panic attack. You need to give yourself the calm assurance that these are mere sensations that will pass away with time. Ignoring a panic attack isn’t a good a choice. You need to recognize that the sensations you feel are the worst of it and that they will pass.
Leeway to escape
It will be stupid if you try removing yourself from the situation immediately as it will worsen the panic attack. The best thing to do is to wait before you instantly pick up to respond. Give yourself the latitude and scope of freedom, this will ensure that you do not feel trapped during a panic attack. Watch yourself and observe your behavior during a panic attack. Write down or use a voice recorder and record everything.
Practice Yoga and meditate
Activities such as yoga and meditation cause muscle relaxation and strengthens body’s reflexes. This will help you deal with panic attacks smartly. These activities will also increase the feelings of joy and happiness and will help you prevent or overcome a panic attack much easily than the normal. Make thoughtful actions, one of which is indulging in breathing exercises. This will help you regulate your breathing and get you relief. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep on repeating this until you feel a sense of calm.
Self-talks that make room for positivity and hope can be a great way to face a panic attack. Tell yourself that it is a temporary situation and will evade away very soon and that you will feel better again. This will help greatly as your mind will be subjected to a sense of freedom and liberty.
Avoid smoking and caffeine
Smoking and caffeine can provoke panic attacks in people who are vulnerable. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid cigarettes, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages. Also, it is important to be careful with medications that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold medications.
Free Apps for Android and iOS that can help you handle panic attacks- SAM, Amwell, The Worry Box and Headspace.
The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour. Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are so severe that people misunderstand it with a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur anytime. All you need to remember is that the more relaxed you are, the quicker it will pass.
Ashwathi is an enthusiastic traveller and dancer with a passion for movies and music. Hailing from an Army background, she considers herself fortunate enough to have experienced the diverse cultures that India boasts of. She is a graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications and has worked in print, radio and television.