Your mouth is dry, you’re sweating profusely, and you can’t breathe. You feel as if you’re having a heart attack as your heart beats out of your chest. You feel like you may faint, and an impending doom sets on you that you’re going to collapse right where you stand. Sounds like you need some quick tips to prevent a panic attack!
The whole world is spinning, and you’re so dizzy you can’t hold your head up. Should you call 911 or see if this feeling passes. You’re sure you have a brain tumor or another disease that will end your life right here and now. Since you’ve had this feeling before, you know that you’re experiencing a panic attack.
There’s nothing about this overwhelming anxiety that is pleasant, but you feel as if your life is ending every time you have these sensations. If only there were a way to prevent a panic attack so that you don’t have to experience these horrible sensations anymore, you could start living life again. Your irrational fears make you feel as if you’re singled out, and you’re becoming scared to leave your home for fear of another attack.
What you’re experiencing is quite common. Some people call them anxiety attacks while others call them panic episodes, But rest assured–they are the same. When your anxiety gets to an explosive level, your body kicks into overdrive. Sensing the urgency of danger, you go into fight-flight or freeze mode.
Common Signs of Panic Disorder
The symptoms of panic and anxiety are pretty much the same across the board. Each new attack will have similarities to the previous ones, but there can also be variations and changes in your anxiety that occurs with time. Do you know the symptoms of panic?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, these are the most observed signs:
- Urgent need to run or leave
- Feeling of impending doom
- Racing pulse
- Numbness in your face or arms
- Derealization – feeling detached from your surroundings
- Depersonalization – feeling disconnected from your body
- Chills or trembling
- Breathing problems
- Chest or stomach pain
It’s easy to see why a person experiencing any of these symptoms might be scared. Consequently, it would help if you remembered that anxiety is the great deceiver because it makes you feel and believe things that aren’t true.
On average, a panic attack can last anywhere from 2-20 minutes, depending on the person. Usually, after one of these attacks, you’re left exhausted and need to rest. Your body’s rush of adrenaline and cortisol wipes you out once things go back to normal. How can you keep living like this?
Tips to Prevent a Panic Attack
After going through some of these attacks, it’s easy to say that you want to do whatever possible to keep another one from happening. You should know that panic disorder is a very treatable condition, so you don’t have to suffer from this severe ailment without help.
Panic, when left untreated, can turn into agoraphobia. This condition makes someone afraid to leave the house or be in social situations. Here are some tried and true methods to help you stop or prevent a panic attack from occurring.
1. Practice Mindfulness
After you’ve experienced a few anxiety attacks, you will notice the feelings associated with them. When you feel your anxiety soar, you need to practice mindfulness. Focus on things around you to help ground you to your current surroundings.
When you turn your focus off the horrible feelings and onto something tangible, you can reduce your anxiety. Many people experience derealization when their anxiety is high, which indicates that you are detached from their surroundings.
Thankfully, by being present in the moment, you can help to stop an attack. Let’s assume you’re in the grocery store when a panic attack occurs. Say things to yourself like:
- “I am at the grocery store, and I shop there all the time. “
- “I see three cashiers working. “
- “They added a new display by the deli. “
- “The store is nearly empty as it’s late at night. “
- “I never noticed the walls in here are yellow. “
You’ve identified five things about your location to help ground you and calm you down. When you’re present in the moment, you can thwart the irrational thoughts your brain feeds from anxiety.
2. Learn Deep Breathing Techniques
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to prevent a panic attack. Start by inhaling to the count of seven, hold your breath to the count of seven, and release it to the count of seven. Keep doing this until you feel the anxiety dissipate.
When your body goes into fight or flight mode, you may feel like you need to run and get out of danger. One of the best things you can do is run outside in the fresh air. It’s also helpful to take your shoes off and allow your feet to feel the earth beneath them. These techniques will help ground you and stop the panic.
4. Close Your Eyes and Count
If your head is spinning and you feel as if you may pass out, you should close your eyes and rest your head on a table. Wait for the moment to pass. While you’re waiting, slowly count. See how long it takes until this attack passes, and you can compare the numbers the next time.
5. Take Herbal Supplements
There are many herbal supplements on the market that can help to stop or prevent a panic attack. Lavender is a great herb that you can use for fast relief. Rub it on your wrist and breathe in the soothing aroma when your anxiety soars. Other things like chamomile, ashwagandha, and valerian are just a few of the most popular herbs used.
6. Learn Meditation and Relaxation Techniques
Meditation is an ancient art form that has been practiced for thousands of years. It helps you to relax your mind, body, and spirit. Studies have shown that those who practice meditation faithfully can reduce or stop their panic attacks altogether.
Once you learn control over your breathing and learn how to release your muscles’ tension, it can change your anxiety.
7. Go to Your Happy Place
Everyone has a happy place where they can go and relax. It’s helpful to visualize your comfortable spot when you feel like your world is spinning from anxiety. Transport yourself to the beach or the cliff of a mountain. Feel the tranquil air blow across your body and allow the feelings of panic to dissipate.
8. Use Self-Talk to Prevent a Panic Attack
Self-talk is one of the best techniques when it comes to anxiety. Since panic is flooding your head with thoughts and feelings that aren’t true, you need to combat those feelings with the truth. Tell yourself that you’re going to be okay, this is going to pass, and you’re not going to die.
Using self-talk can help you to talk your way out of a battle with anxiety and keep you from taking the panic to the extreme levels.
9. Focus on An Object
Some people find that using an object when they start to feel panicked helps them focus on their feelings. For instance, you can hold a picture of your children or your spouse to help bring you calm. Some people use a pet rock or other object to help adjust their focus and prevent a panic attack.
10. Turn to Medication
If you’ve tried all the holistic methods possible and you still can’t find relief, then you should consider medication. Various medicines help adjust the brain’s chemicals, preventing a panic attack in the future. Balancing the serotonin level seems critical as this neurotransmitter is the main component in controlling your fight-flight mode.
Even if you must use medication for the short term, it doesn’t mean that you will be on these drugs indefinitely. Many folks only need them for a short period, and then they can go off them without issue. Be careful about which ones you take as some are habit-forming and can cause addiction problems. Your doctor should be your guide, so have that discussion.
Panic disorder affects 2.7 percent of the adult population in this country, according to studies. Times are tough, and when you must deal with life’s stressors, it only makes things worse. Remember to take care of both your physical and mental health needs.
Many folks find that they have anxiety and panic issues when going through a difficult time in life, which is called situational distress. Consequently, others find no rhyme or reason for why they feel the way they do. Experts believe there is a strong genetic component to any mental health issues, and a family history only increases the likelihood that you will deal with these problems.
Panic attacks can be debilitating, and you must learn how to cope with these horrible occurrences. The good news is that it’s a highly treatable disorder that many can find relief. There are ways to prevent a panic attack so that you can live a normal life without overwhelming fear getting in the way.