A panic attack is a fast onset of emotions such as anxiety or intense fear. An attack can be debilitating. Having one can manifest as physical ailments, too. Some people will begin to shake and have trouble concentrating. Others may cry uncontrollably.
Panic attacks can cause nausea and dizziness, pressing chest pain and tachycardia. Many people who suffer from them report feeling as if they’re going to die. These attacks can be extremely frightening to the person suffering from them as well as to the people who witness them.
If you struggle with panic attacks, there is something that you can do. Self care tips can help you cope with a panic attack. Understand that you aren’t out of control. It only feels like you are.
Take deep, steady breaths. Breathing in slowly and letting the air out slowly can help you calm both your racing mind and heart. While you’re doing the breathing, repeat to yourself that everything is going to be okay.
While a panic attack can feel like it lasts forever, you might find that the worst of it passes in just a few minutes when you use breath control. Remember that the fear that’s associated with a panic attack feels real but it isn’t.
You might feel that you’re not where you actually are. If your panic attacks are a result of trauma, you might feel that you’re back in time and place to where the trauma occurred.
You might believe that impending doom is about to happen but it’s not. Ground yourself in reality as you’re going through the attack. Tell yourself where you are, that you’re safe that the attack won’t last forever.
A good way to ground yourself in reality is to make a connection physically with your present moment. This might be something like feeling the arms of the chair or touching the arm.
Touching something else helps you redirect your attention. This is also true of sight. Look at something while you’re in the panic attack. Pay attention to how it was made and the colors of it. This is known as a redirect and it helps calm panic attacks.
Some people find it beneficiary to use exercise as a means of practicing self care during panic attacks. Go for a walk or spend time throwing a ball back and forth with a dog. Doing something physical can be a way of redirecting as well.
For some people, there is a need for intervention. When the fear is overwhelming and it’s impacting their ability to function, seeing a therapist and prescription medication can help. Sometimes, it’s a combination of the two. Self care for panic attacks is critical before, during and after they occur.