What is a panic attack?
Panic attacks suck with a capital S. There’s nothing quite like being happy and then all of a sudden feeling anxious for no reason. Never experienced a panic attack before? You’re definitely lucky! And although everyone experiences it a little differently, it goes a little something like this. Your pulse increases, your palms sweat, your thoughts race and you’re certain you’re going to die.
Panic attacks can strike at any moment or have discernible triggers. I remember my first one and I was very sure that I was going to die. I remember my chest hurting so bad that I really thought I was having a heart attack. And interestingly enough, many of the symptoms of panic attacks mimic the symptoms of heart attacks. Many people are admitted to the ER’s yearly because of panic attacks.
So now that we’ve defined them I’m going to share a couple of tools for managing them. Some are immediate relief solutions while others are a daily practice. Without further ado, when you feel a panic attack coming on, try these things
Tips to Manage a Panic Attack
Square breathing is a technique often practiced during Yin Yoga. Square breathing involves inhaling your breath for 4, holding for 4, exhaling for 4, and holding for 4. Repeat until you feel steady and your heart rate has returned to normal.
Sing a song out loud or in your head
By having to recite lyrics, you are stopping the train of thought that is causing your panic to increase. Also, music has a calming effect. Did you know that every time you listen to a song and get goosebumps, that’s your body releasing the feel-good neurotransmitter Dopamine?
I cannot stress the importance of meditation enough. I have talked about it before but I love Headspace, a guided meditation app. The anxiety meditation practice particularly teaches you not to get rid of anxiety but to change the relationship you have with it helping you go from avoidance to acceptance.
Seek professional help
if your panic attacks are frequent and debilitating please seek professional help from a mental health provider.
These are just a few of the many different techniques on how to manage a panic attack. Next time you start feeling freaked, take a breath, and try some of these techniques. Which ones have you tried or will you try? Let me know in the comments!