Panic attacks can happen at any time for any number of reasons. It is important to understand how to react to them and feel confident in your ability to control them once they start. If you are experiencing shaking, sweating, shortness of break, rapid heart rate, nausea, or anything like that, you could very well be having a panic attack. Although these are all associated with panic attacks, we need to be able to tell when it’s actually anxiety or if it has to do with something completely different. A normal time frame for a panic attack is anywhere from five to twenty minutes. At the beginning of an attack, you can get a rush of hormones, such as adrenaline, which causes your heart to quicken it’s pace. When you are in the midst of a panic attack, you should try these things to help calm yourself down.
Focus on Your Breathing: Try to learn a couple of different breathing exercises that help you regulate your breathing and help slow your heart rate. A couple of examples are: lengthening your exhale and inhaling for a count of four followed by exhaling for a count of four. You could also follow guided meditations, as well.
Listen to Calming Sounds: There are thousands of videos on the internet that have audio specifically meant to calm nerves. Some common sounds that help a majority of people is white noise, rain, birds, and ocean sounds. Listening very closely to the sounds has been proven to help you relax even if you are in the middle of a panic attack.
Listen to Music: When we listen to music, our brain releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin stimulates happy feelings which can be a great help whenever you’re feeling anxious. Music makes us feel good and takes us to a happier state of mind, which can cause a significant difference during a panic attack.
Distract yourself: Attempting to take your mind off of your anxious thoughts and feelings can help you take control when you are panicking. Some methods of distraction you can try is counting to 100 in your head, walking around, or playing with a stress ball.
Grounding Techniques: Grounding helps bring you back into the moment, and takes you out of your head. A common way to do this is finding five things you can see around you, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
Although these have helped a lot of people in the past, everyone is different. Your coping techniques may not work for someone else, but it is important to find out what your strategies are for when you feel a panic attack happening.