Anxious people are generally on the lookout for anxiety or panic attacks. During a panic attack, the anxiety that erodes us daily abruptly changes course and increases in intensity.
The important thing to keep in mind is that it cannot and will not. Although during a panic attack, anxious people are generally certain that it will happen. What sensations do we have during such an attack?
Imagine that when a plane's doors close, we realize that we won't be able to leave for a few hours and that it will be difficult to move our legs without rubbing against other passengers. It's almost an inescapable feeling.
Tips for Anxious People to Use During Panic Attack
If you're anxious, it doesn't necessarily mean you will have a panic attack. A panic attack is a sudden, powerful wave of terror and discomfort that peaks in a matter of minutes.
You go through at least four of the following at the time: racing heart, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, feeling as though you're choking, chest discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chills or heat sensations, numbness, derealization, dread of losing control or going mad, and fear of dying.
Here are six tips for anxious people to use during a panic attack:
1) Understand your experience
Every person have a different panic attack experience. Additionally, there are a wide range of symptoms you may experience. Therefore, it's best to start keeping note of your feelings.
Where does your anxiety start when it first manifests? What follows when you start feeling anxious? Do your mind and heart begin to flutter? Are there any patterns or particular times of the day when our anxiety spikes?
The more we're aware of what causes our anxiety, the quicker we can spot it and take action to calm ourselves.
2) Determine your support
It can be challenging and sometimes impossible to combat our anxiety or try to prevent a panic attack.
It can change the course of our life to have close friends and family members who can support and reassure us when we need it and who are aware of what we're going through.
That could be a friend or family member or a professional like a therapist or psychiatrist.
Many of us don't feel comfortable discussing our anxiety with others, but we need to choose at least one person who we know will try to understand us and be willing to help.
3) Visualizing safe spaces
Visualizing a place that we can go to in our minds that feels better can be a powerful tool to deal with panic attacks.
For people who're extremely anxious, it can be difficult to come up with a safe place, as the word safe means vulnerable, and that can be anxiety or fear inducing. So a neutral place like going through your morning routine of making coffee, washing your face, brushing your teeth, or even folding laundry or running errands.
Anything that just feels neutral can work. You can find a safe or happy place, like a good memory or a cozy place that calms you down. So just take some time, and think of some options and then try them out. Visualize yourself in that place, and see if it's calming or not. If not, try out another one.
4) Notice your thoughts
Start noticing what you say to yourself. Did you know that research shows that 90% of the thoughts we have each day are thoughts that we have already had before?
We have had these thoughts before, probably for days, weeks, or even years of our life.
Make sure the thoughts we're allowing are more balanced and kind. We can be open to the thought for which, maybe, we don't have all the facts. By becoming aware of our self-talk, we can have better control over our emotional reactions.
5) Avoid Substances
Caffeine, alcohol, and smoking should be avoided, as these can exacerbate panic attacks and make you even more anxious. Support groups for panic disorders might offer helpful guidance on how to properly control your attacks.
It can be comforting to realize that other individuals feel the same way. Your doctor can connect you with groups in your region. By remaining connected to individuals with similar concerns, you can feel more in control.
6) Recognize that it is temporary
You can reassure yourself that you are fine, and that this is only a momentary panic attack by remembering that it's not a heart attack.
Take away the fear of dying or of approaching catastrophe, both of which are signs of feeling anxious. You can then concentrate on alternate ways to lessen your symptoms.
Although it's not always possible to prevent panic attack triggers, being aware of them can help you recognize that the attack is in fact a panic attack and not something else.
Panic attacks can happen abruptly and have a big impact on your life, but there are ways to deal with them. Panic and anxiety disorders, which may be caused by an underlying illness, can also be treated.
Consult your doctor if you always feel anxious. They can assist you in developing an effective plan to control the symptoms and lessen the effects. That may involve psychotherapy in addition to prescription drugs like antidepressants.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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