- Don’t Fight It
A panic attack is very similar to the sensation you have after you’ve had if another vehicle almost side-swiped your vehicle. For the situation, that sensation is a normal reaction.
However, when you’re in a crowd and your heart begins to race, it doesn’t feel normal at all. That’s when the instinct to make it stop as soon as possible kicks in. Closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths may kick in your fight-or-flight response.
The brain thinks, “Oh No! This is a serious issue let’s pump more adrenalin into the body.”
There are some great strategies that will help with panic attacks and shorten their duration. Some of them will seem a bit counterintuitive, however, they will help you to return to normal more quickly.
- Practice Mindfulness
Regulate your breathing, not to stop the attack, but to focus on mindfulness. Allow yourself to feel the panic without needing to fix it.
While it is going to take some practice, it’s going to help you focus on accepting it for what it is and not change where you’re at.
- Learn To Observe
Consider what you’re doing. Pay attention to how you’re feeling.
If you’re struggling to breathe or feel nauseous, take a moment to rate your sensations on a scale of 1 to 10. Remember, the lower the number, the less the intensity. Take a moment to take stock from your feet to your head. Then start over. As you repeat this observation your numbers should begin to fall.
You’re allowing yourself to feel the sensation without trying to stop it, but you’re controlling it by giving it a rating and slowly recovering.
- Use Your Other Senses
Take all of your sensory perceptions and allow yourself to taste, smell, and feel. What do you taste? What do you smell? How do you feel? When you look outside of yourself you’ll allow yourself to recognize that there’s no danger.
You’ll note that there isn’t much going on and that you’re going to be okay.
- Make Eye Contact With Someone
This will force you to interact with others. It may seem counterintuitive when you want to stop drop and roll, but it will help you to focus on something else.
Even if you just focus on an object or picture you’re going to shift your focus which will reduce the panic. When we direct the attention outside of ourselves, we are able to place more focus in other things.
It’s important to note that a panic attack typically only lasts for five to ten minutes. If you can switch your focus, engage yourself in something else for those five to ten minutes, you’ll be able to return to normal more quickly.
Learning these skills will go far to help you to manage your panic attacks whether they happen often or infrequently. The more often your panic attacks occur the more likely you’ll benefit from a visit to your doctor for other strategies that may help you or even for medications that could help ease your panic attack symptoms. The more you practice these strategies, the more you’ll be in control.