Having your first panic attack can be a rather humbling experience. One moment you’re cool as a cucumber and the next you’re wondering whether or not you’re dying. Moreover, they don’t become any easier to deal with easier, left untreated, those who suffer from regular panic attacks come to develop additional problems which can compound over time, leading to very high levels of stress. It’s important to remember however that panic attacks are a psychological phenomenon, not acutely medical, so use this realization to deal with issues when they arise.
Panic attack symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme anxiety
- Muscle spasms
- The sensation of suffocating or choking
- Tingling in extremities
- Hot flashes
- Heart palpitations
- Elevated pulse
Clearly, with symptoms like these it’s easy to assume that you’re having a heart attack or stroke. It doesn’t have to be this way, fortunately; there are some very simple and effective things you can do to deal with panic attacks.
Consider the following…
Clear your mind…no, really.
Again, we’re talking about a psychological condition here, not a medical one. The level at which the mind controls the body is truly astounding. Just whipping yourself into an emotional frenzy can trigger these attacks on their own in most cases. This tends to start when a person begins imagining all the “terrible things” which might happen to them as they step outside their door; from there, their mind takes over and brings to the forefront every sort of nasty unpleasantness one can imagine. In turn, the body responds to these imaginary threats by “readying itself”. Naturally, when no threats arrive you’re only left with unexplainable symptoms, fear and dread.
In order to deal with this, just remember to clear your mind of all nonsense. Concentrate only on the day’s tasks and completing them. Take the time to ground yourself each day, reminding yourself not to lose control or envision threatening occurrences / circumstances. Whatever you do avoid repeating damaging thought patterns and engaging in self-defeating thinking. Rather than visualizing all these terrible things in your mind only realize that it’s a product of your imagination. Live your life and let the cards fall where they may, don’t punish yourself because of circumstances that are outside of your control.
Breathing exercises have been used by yogis and meditative masters for millennia to deal with stress as well as center oneself emotionally. You too should learn how to control your breathing so that when an issue like this crops up you can immediately take steps to defeat it. Start by taking deep breaths through your nose and slowly exhaling. Some people like to place a hand on their chest during this as it somehow helps them to feel more connected with their body and being.
Lie down and listen
Next, get comfortable. If at all possible, try to lie down and just clear your mind. Some people actually have specific audio tracks or music to listen to which can help to calm them down (music therapy). For example, nature sounds and/or relaxing musical selections have been shown to help alleviate panic attacks.