Before describing the methods and techniques that will help you cope with panic attacks, it should be noted: not all options are one hundred percent guaranteed. People are very individual. However, the following recommendations will help you manage your emotional tension and cope with anxiety, preventing it from turning into panic. Again, severe cases of panic disorder require specialist intervention.
How to deal with a panic attack on your own
There are several methods that help stop a panic attack without someone else’s help. These techniques will make it possible to cope with the growing panic. It is advisable to practice them in your free time so that you can control yourself during the onset of a panic attack.
Relaxation training allows, at the level of emotions, to eliminate the component of muscle tension, which plays one of the key roles in increasing anxiety. In parallel with the development of panic, muscle tone increases (for an explanation of this phenomenon, see the article on the mechanisms of development of panic attacks). This is the first reaction to fear. Accordingly, when a person learns to consciously control muscle tension, then with the development of a stressful situation, he will be able to calm down and give in to anxiety less. A decrease in muscle tone gives the brain a signal that the danger has passed.
“Relaxation” does not mean a complete lack of interest and involvement in something . This applies to the muscles and the state of mind of a person. There are many practices that help relieve muscle spasm: yoga, massage, meditation, special gymnastic techniques. Their essence is the same – to relieve anxiety through bodily sensations and reach harmony.
Increased breathing is also one of the key defense mechanisms during a stressful situation. The lungs deliver more oxygen to the blood so that the tissues (especially the muscles) receive an increased amount of nutrients. Thus, our body prepares to fight or flee from danger.
However, breathing too fast has negative consequences that a person just feels during a panic attack. The head begins to spin, weakness develops, ringing in the ears worries. Hyperoxygenation (increased saturation of the body with oxygen) can also be detrimental. Unfortunately, during a panic attack, shortness of breath increases, which further exacerbates the manifestations of an attack, closing the pathological circle.
To get out of this state, you need to learn to breathe deeply, calmly and slowly. Practice controlling your breathing. Meditation is the best way to achieve this. During meditation, one consciously fixes attention on the breath, paying attention to each inhalation and exhalation. You can practice breath control in your spare time and when an attack starts, you can focus and calm down. This is done in the following way. Sit with your back and neck straight. The eyes can be kept open or closed, which doesn’t really matter. Then inhale, paying attention to the stretching of the muscles. Feel the belly and chest rise under the influence of the air current. As you inhale, slowly count to four in your mind. Then exhale slowly, counting to six. And so repeat many times. For training, ten to twenty minutes a day, at any time of the day, will be enough.
Method of distraction ( distraction )
You can also try to divert attention by feeling the onset of a panic attack. People who are prone to anxiety fixate on their experiences and constantly return to them. Distraction makes it possible to distract from these thoughts and, thanks to their change, lower the level of fear. For example, you can stop focusing on your own feelings and switch to the outside world. Assess the location of the street, buildings, plants and trees in the park, the color of people’s clothes. You can start counting cars or sorting out the words from a song in your memory. Fantasy can also come in handy. Imagine something beautiful, like a flower. Evaluate its shape, size, number of petals.
Recall that the distraction technique is not a help in the long run. For a more thorough fight against panic attacks, you will need the help of a psychotherapist and the study of the reasons for the development of this condition. To begin with, you can think for yourself about what has been bothering you for a long time. Maybe something passed by your attention, some kind of problem hidden inside and requiring a solution?
Can you deal with panic attacks on your own?
As with some other disorders, the sooner appropriate measures are taken, the greater the chance of success. Therefore, if you suffer from panic attacks and want to deal with them on your own, then you need to learn relaxation techniques, breath control and distraction.
Naturally, these tips will not take effect immediately. After all, a person living in fear of another panic attack may not have time to use the mechanisms of relaxation and fixation on breathing. Also, it takes a lot of practice. So here are some simple tips.
- During an attack, hyperventilation can also be reduced by breathing into any available bag . By inhaling air saturated with carbon dioxide, a person deliberately reduces the amount of oxygen and prevents the development of the symptoms described above.
- Remember that a panic attack is an action completed in time, that is, it will stop anyway!
- Try to remember how the last panic attack ended. Was she really that scary? Did it have any dire consequences, or was it just a figment of the imagination?
- Don’t try to run away, stay where you are. Let the panic attack go by itself. No matter how terrible the feelings are, realize that avoiding interacting with the panic attack will only make it worse.
- Imagine that you are an observer from the outside. Assess your condition and perceive it as a necessary experience. The experience you will need to overcome and prevent the next panic attack.
- Begin to recognize your thoughts and work on them. Remember why fear appears during a panic attack? In a calm environment, appreciate the full range of tangible emotions. Next, consider what exactly makes you anxious and does it have objective justifications?
In conclusion, I want to say: respect your mental health. Don’t neglect them. Perhaps panic attacks are showing you that something has gone wrong somewhere that needs attention.