In this post, I’m going to share 5 ways to help manage a panic attack and some of the symptoms they can cause.
The following post might be triggering, so please take that into consideration before reading any further.
Panic attacks can be one of the scariest things to experience, especially if you have never had one before.
When I first experienced a panic attack, I thought I was having a heart attack. That’s how out of hand they can get.
If I think back to when I was younger, I’m certain I have had these attacks in the past and I wasn’t sure what they were.
I have a recollection of working in retail and suddenly finding it difficult to breathe, my heart was racing and I felt dizzy.
As an adult now, I know that what was happening was a panic attack.
While you cannot stop or prevent panic attacks, there are ways where you can manage them better.
5. Tell yourself “I know this panic attack is scary but it is just a feeling and it will pass”
Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed and that your body is releasing chemicals that you cannot control.
By doing this, you’re teaching yourself not to be scared of panic attacks.
It sounds counterproductive, but it’s an important step helping in reducing the fear associated with the attacks.
4. Sit down somewhere
Panic attacks are different for everyone, but one effect can be dizziness.
No matter where you are, sit down and take few slow deep breaths.
It’s very unlikely that you will pass out from a panic attack, but it will make you feel safer to sit down.
Being closer to the ground can be comforting when you are experiencing fear.
3. Tell yourself to breathe
Often during an attack, our brains will go into overdrive.
It can be a very scary thing to experience, and your brain is working its hardest to protect you from a threat that isn’t real.
If you can tell yourself to breathe, and that the symptoms will eventually pass, you will be able to come down from an attack a little easier.
2. Take deep breaths and count back from 10
Other breathing exercises for anxiety won’t work during a panic attack.
I learned this technique from my psychologist. Take deep, slow breaths and count backwards from ten.
Keep doing this until the panic attack symptoms start to slowly reduce in intensity.
1. Call a friend or family member and tell them you had a panic attack
It’s important you’re not alone after experiencing a panic attack.
After the adrenaline passes, it’s common to feel drained and depressed.
It’s best not to be alone if you do happen to experience those symptoms.
Reaching out to a friend or family member to let them know what happened and you need some company is nothing to be ashamed of.
It shows so much strength and character to reach out for help. You should be extremely proud of yourself for doing so.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress you can reach out to Beyond Blue: Beyond Blue’s support line is available 24/7.
Lifeline: For crisis support, Lifeline provides a 24/7 line, as well as online resources on a range of issues.