Panic attacks: 5 ways to overcome anxiety

Alena ScherbanLife
Panic attacks: 5 ways to overcome anxiety

A minute ago, you were enjoying your coffee and scrolling through social media when a wave of fear and anxiety hit you. Don't worry, it's a classic panic attack.

When a person experiences a panic attack for the first time, they think they are dying. This is not surprising: the heart is pounding, the hands are numb, and the head is dizzy. The first thought is that a heart attack is starting. In most cases, people call an ambulance, but doctors say that there is nothing wrong with the heart. However, as soon as the doctors leave, everything happens again: the heart jumps out of the chest again.

Panic attacks also have other manifestations. You may feel like you are short of oxygen and suffocating. The gastrointestinal tract may spasm. You may experience excessive sweating and hot flashes. You feel like you are about to lose consciousness. As a rule, a person who has experienced several panic attacks becomes afraid to leave the house and tries to stay close to family members, considering them a guarantee of their safety. In fact, at the moment of panic, the entire background on which the person relied is destroyed. They completely lose control over their own body and life. Fortunately, control can be regained.

Learn more about panic attacks in this video

Proper breathing

During a panic attack, you can still control your breathing. So, slowly inhale the air starting from your stomach, move it up to your diaphragm, and then to the top of your lungs. In the process, count from one to five. Hold your breath at the top for two seconds and exhale deeply (count from one to five). Do 5-10 repetitions. Almost immediately, you will feel your heart rate slow down, your breathing become calm, and your dizziness go away.

Find a support

The technique of "grounding" or "grounding" will help you regain control of your body. The first thing you need to do is feel the ground under your feet. Realizing that you are standing firmly on the ground is calming. Can't feel the ground with your feet? Sit down and scratch the ground with your fingers. Imagine that roots are growing from your fingers deep into the soil. If you're riding in a car or on public transportation, you need to feel like you're resting on something other than the ground. So, feel the buttocks you are sitting on in the chair. To help you regain control of your body, pat your shoulders, legs, stomach, etc.

Shift your focus

During a panic attack, you need to switch your attention from internal to external experiences. You can do this by naming five things that surround you. Phone, notebook, bag, book, water bottle... Fix these things in your mind by naming them out loud. Aromas will also help you shift your focus: take a deep breath to smell what you are surrounded by. Focus on sounds. Listen and name everything you hear. This also works.

Butterfly wings technique

The Butterfly Wings technique can help you overcome anxiety. Put your palms on your collarbones crosswise. Use your right fingers to lightly tap your left collarbone three times. Then do the same with the fingers of your left hand on the right collarbone. Tap your collarbones with your left and right hands for 3-4 minutes until you feel relief. At the end of the exercise, take three deep breaths in and out.

Feel your own body

Lie down on a flat surface. First, focus on your feet, tensing them slightly. Then try to strain your right calf, followed by your left. Tighten your hips. Next up is the abs. Tense all the muscles in your body one by one. When you do, tighten all the muscles at the same time and count from one to three. Relax and feel how your condition has changed for the better. Exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety. Squats, push-ups, or pull-ups will relieve you of excess adrenaline by contracting your muscles. If you experience panic attacks quite often, you should consult a psychotherapist. Specialists will find the cause of your anxiety and help you eliminate it.

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