How to Cope with Panic Attacks
1. Recognise that panic attacks are a mind state and not a physical risk. A panic attack can be a very frightening and uncomfortable experience. However, it doesn’t indicate a real physical risk – even although it feels that way.
2. Try to grasp that you are not alone. Panic attacks are relatively common. They’re an anxiety disorder that many other people share.
3. Understand what panic is. Panic is excess adrenaline running through your body when it is confronted with a possible life-threatening situation. It can also be triggered by something that reminds you of a threatening event in your past. Feelings of panic can be very scary, but the feelings are related to your past – not to a threat in the present. Even although you feel terrified, you are not in any real danger.
4. Go and see a doctor or counsellor. Sometimes people find anti-anxiety medication helps them cope with panic attacks. However, identifying the psychological root – and then getting help in dealing with that – is the most effective treatment approach.
5. Let others close to you know that you suffer from panic attacks. People who have never experienced a panic attack may find it hard to understand what you are going through. However, you can help them with this by sharing your difficult experiences with them. In fact, many people want to help those they love – but they don’t know what to say or do. Thus, if you can be more open with them, then they can reach out and offer you support.
6. Don’t avoid those situations which have led to a panic attack in the past. Avoidance will only ‘reinforce’ the disorder … So the more you avoid the dreaded situation the more panic the avoided situation generates. Should a panic attack occur, don’t attempt to fight the feelings. Instead, allow the feelings to wash over you … and then drain away. Focus on staying in the present moment.
7. Focus on slowing your breathing down. This help to ensure that your brain is receiving the appropriate amount of oxygen. That will help reduce your anxiety levels, and the panic attack will dissipate and end.
That horrible yet recognizable moment, when anxiety hits you so hard you feel like you might die from a heart attack. Either that or you feel like a whole building has fallen just on your chest alone. Not sure if you should cry or breathe it out. The confusion that hits just around the same time. Overwhelming emotions from every direction.
Masterpost of Things That Help With Anxiety
I just kind of thought I’d make a list for myself / other people with anxiety. For future reference, instead of freaking out and/or taking pills, do this stuff? And if I missed things, please let me know and I’ll add them!
20 Ways To Relieve Anxiety, Panic, & Stress
1. Take a Walk Outside. Enjoy the sunshine! Studies show that Vitamin D & sunshine can boost your mood & help kick the blues away.
2. Eat Breakfast. Start your day hydrated and with a hearty healthy breakfast. This will help your body manage the day’s stress as well as fuel your brain.
3. Drink More Tea. Green tea leaves contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that combats the oxidative stress. Herbal teas with camomile and lemon grass can be very relaxing before bed.
4. Breathe. Slow deep belly breaths can stimulate the full body relaxation response.
5. “Nest” Before Bed. Take time to slow down and let your body and mind know it’s time to rest. Warm bath, journaling, lavender lotion, positive book are ways to wind down and relax before bed.
6. Get Moving. Exercise is a great way to teach your body how to handle stress. This can be a great way to remove tension & heal your body.
7. Drink More Water. Staying hydrated is a sure way to keep the Anxiety Monster at bay. Even 2% dehydration can have symptoms similar to anxiety and panic.
8. Eat Your Fruits & Veggies. Keeping your body fueled & balanced with optimal clean nutrition is a way you ensure that your body has what it needs to fight off daily stress.
9. Try Supplements. Have an open conversation with your doctor. Consider a multivitamin, additional magnesium, b-complex, fish oil, 5-HTP, Gaba, and Melatonin.
10. Learn & Grow. Spend time listening to podcasts, read, educate yourself on new healthy recipes, fitness tips,and nutrition.
11. Find Support. Look for a friend or head to our website to have a place to share your true feelings. Going through anxiety alone is much more difficult.
12. Try Music Therapy. Keep your mp3 player full of songs that make you smile. You want to keep songs that really light up your soul for times of self-talk or anxiety.
13. Arm Yourself. Keep survival tools near by. Pack your purse, night stand, car or office with the items you will need if the panic monster arrives. Music, smelly lotion, water, charged cell phone, snack & journal are great. choices.
14. Journal. Journaling your thoughts onto paper is one of the most healing things you can do everyday. Out of your head and on to paper. Will help them from bouncing around in your mind for long periods of time.
15. Find “Healing Time”. Read your devotionals, meditate, practice yoga, sit and reflect. This is time to center your body and mind.
16. Keep Track. Using our Daily Healing Journal can be a powerful tool. Keeps track of food, supplements, fitness, fluids, sleep & feelings. Great to look back each month to see the developments or find the triggers.
17. Make a List. Try focusing on one thing at a time. Mono-tasking usually gets us overwhelmed and in trouble. List the day, then only look at the next item on the list.
18. Monitor What’s Going In. Watching the news. Maybe cop shows. Those might not be the best choices while you are healing. Try turning off the TV for a while. Put down the newspaper, and pick up a book that will aid in your healing process. Make healing your new hobby.
19. Pamper Yourself. After being in survival mode for so long it is time to turn the focus on ourselves. Aromatherapy baths, massages, new haircut. Time to take care of us. Who are you waiting for to do it.
20. Dream & Believe. How can you have hope if your not dreaming. What could you be doing if you weren’t anxious. Know that you will get better & great things are waiting.
By Amy Furbee / The Hatched Egg
Tips for helping someone who is going through an anxiety attack
First you need to recognize the signs of an anxiety attack. Sometimes the individual might tell you that they are having one, but oftentimes it is difficult for them to really talk about what is happening.
If you notice any of the following, your friend might be having an anxiety attack:
- sudden paleness/flushed face
- sudden overwhelming panic/fear
- difficulty breathing, or appear to just not be breathing
- heart palpitations, increased heart rate
- they seem detached, withdrawn from their surrounding environment
- they need to sit down immediately, maybe even dropping to the floor if there are no seats around
You might want to gently ask them if they are having an anxiety attack, and also ask if they’ve had one before. They might have certain things they do to cope with this situation.
Ask them if there is anything they need.
Offer to get them some water or tea. Cold water can really help ease some of the symptoms— hyperventilating, difficulty breathing, high heart rate and nausea in particular— and will help them to calm down. Chamomile tea is excellent for calming people, as well as for easing nausea.
Ask if they want to talk about it. For some people, talking about what provoked the attack (be it a fear of public speaking, a low mark on an assignment, or whatever) can help them to work through it. For others, they won’t want to talk about it, and that’s okay too.
Remind them to breathe. It may seem like silly advice but sometimes we really need that reminder.
Suggest going for a walk with them, especially if you can go outside. Fresh air, exercise and a change of scenery are all really good things for working through an anxiety attack.
If you are very close to the person, you can ask them if they want a hug. Do not be upset if they say no— each person deals with anxiety differently and some don’t want physical contact.
If you can, you may want to give them a pillow or stuffed animal to hold. Holding something against your chest can help you to feel safe and may ease anxiety.
Remind them that they are safe. Whatever it is that is worrying them, remind them that their present situation is completely safe. They are going to make it through this. Focusing on the present moment might help them to realize this. Have them pay attention to what is around them. My favourite activity to do this is to notice five things for each of the senses— five things you can feel (clothes rubbing against your body, feet in shoes, hands on lap, back leaning against chair, etc.), five things you can hear (people talking, wind blowing, birds chirping), five things you can see, five things you can smell, and five things you can taste. (it might be difficult to do the last two unless you’re eating but the others should be no problem wherever you are)
Remind them that they are loved. Clearly you care about them enough that you want to help them work through this anxiety attack. They may feel embarrassed to have shown this side of themselves to you. If they suggest that, let them know that you don’t think lesser of them for it.
Don’t diminish their concerns. Even if it seems silly to you, don’t tell them that what they are thinking or feeling is silly.
Allow them to cry if they need to. Tell them it’s okay to cry. Letting it out often helps.
Ask if they would like to listen to music. I personally have a playlist on my iPad that is full of songs that help calm me, and I listen to it when I feel like I may have an anxiety attack coming on. They might have something similar, and if not there may be a particular band or album they have that helps them to feel calm. Other people prefer silence and that is fine too.
This list is mainly made up of things that have helped me in my personal experiences with anxiety attacks, and in helping friends go through anxiety attacks. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but should help you to get through it.