Dealing with panic attacks

We all experience moments of anxiety and extreme stress in life, and sometimes these moments can manifest as panic attacks.

Most people will experience panic attacks a handful of times in life, but some people will experience them more commonly.

The typical symptoms of a panic attack include:
– feeling as though disaster is about to strike
– paranoid, anxious thoughts
– heightened awareness, looking for signs of danger
– trembling or sweating
– tingling in the muscles
– hot flushes
– tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing
– tense muscles

If you feel a panic attack come on, you need to do several things to try to calm yourself down. Firstly, if you have a paper bag nearby then spend some time breathing in and out of it. This helps because the carbon dioxide in the bag will help your body to rebalance the gas levels in your blood and calm down.

If no bag is available, hold your breath and count to ten, and then focus on breathing in and out slowly from the abdomen.

Avoid saying things to yourself like ‘relax’ – instead, try to shift your focus away from your symptoms.

Try to remind yourself that you might feel in danger, but you are probably not in danger. If it is a regular occurrence, remind yourself that you have been in the situation before and nothing bad has happened.

If you have ongoing problems with panic attacks, it is probably worth getting help from a psychotherapist. You might be able to arrange medication, or better still, non-drug relaxation techniques.

Another option is to learn about meditation, and you can use the meditation techniques to slow your breathing and calm your body when the panics occur.

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