Racing heart, nausea, upset stomach, and tremors are just a few things that you can experience during a panic attack. Anxiety attacks can be scary, so it’s helpful to know that you can limit them when they occur. This article will list some techniques you can use to calm yourself down during a panic attack.
1. One of the most effective methods used is deep breathing
The following exercise will physically and mentally calm you down and lower your heart rate during a panic/anxiety attack.
Start out by breathing in through your nose for a slow count of three.
Then hold your breath for another slow count of three.
And then exhale slowly â?? for as long as you can â?? through your mouth. Exhale as you would when blowing hot soup to cool it.
2. The next thing you can do is something called stop and replace
The purpose of this is to stop the anxious thought and replace it with a more calming thought.
EXAMPLE: â??I am anxious about going to address the class/audience/conference, etc., so I just keep thinking about it and it just makes me more and more panicky/anxious.â?
REPLACE WITH: â??I am thinking about something exciting that I am going to do this weekend, such as go on a family trip, get together with friends, or start a new hobby.â? Try to just lose yourself in that thought in order to replace the current anxious thought.
3. As a panic attack often fuels itself by unintentionally focusing on the cause of panic, it can help to divert your attention by focusing on something else, such as doing mental puzzles
Word games, numerical problems, crosswords, or noting the features of different objects within sight. Try counting backwards from 100 by threes, or saying the alphabet backwards. It’s even better if you can fully avoid focusing, and practising meditation helps you to acquire the skills to do this.
4. Attend to your body
Tense the various muscles in your body for a few seconds and then release, allowing yourself to relax.
If you are able to stand, get up and walk around slowly, while concentrating on your slow deep breathing (change of focus).
Do not lock your jaws together; this will make the nausea in your panic/anxiety attack twice as bad. Relaxing your face will help.
5. If at all possible, do something physically demanding â?? like cleaning your house/apartment
Your body has produced a heap of adrenaline, and it’s keyed for â??fightâ?? or â??flightâ??. Sitting or standing still causes toxins to build up in your muscles resulting later in cramps and aches. This further increases feelings of panic and anxiety because you’re forcing yourself to stand still.
Get moving to work off the adrenaline! Run, jump, swim, mow the lawn, or simply get to cleaning your house. Vacuum, sweep, mop, or polish something dull and big. The more vigorous the exercise the better.
This is especially good for calming yourself during a panic/anxiety attack before a stressful emotional event like proposing to your significant other or some such panic/anxiety-laden moment.
6. Contact someone who you know and trust will talk to you and help comfort you
Ask him or her to massage the palm of your hand while theyâ??re talking to you.
7. If you are hyperventilating
Use a paper bag or envelope to breathe into. Within a few breaths, the CO2 levels are restored and the breathing returns to a slower pace. If you don’t have a paper bag, hold your breath for a short while at a time â?? without taking deep breaths. Again, this can restore CO2 levels and the attack immediately subsides.
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