How to Manage a Panic Attack
The following are strategies that you can use to relieve the symptoms of a panic attack or stop one if you feel it coming on:
- Acknowledge that you’re having a panic attack – by recognizing that you’re having a panic attack instead of a stroke or heart attack, you are letting yourself know that it is temporary and that it will pass.
- Use deep breathing – hyperventilating is a symptom of a panic attack and can result in increased fear. If you practice deep breathing, you are less likely to experience the hyperventilating that can make the other symptoms of a panic attack worse.
- Practice mindfulness – this can help to ground you in the reality of what’s going on around you, therefore reducing the feelings of detachment that accompany a panic attack.
- Close your eyes – panic attacks can be caused by triggers which overwhelm you. To reduce this, close your eyes to block out the over-stimulating triggers and focus on your breathing.
- Use muscle relaxation techniques – these techniques help to stop a panic attack in its tracks by controlling your body’s response. Practicing these techniques beforehand will increase their efficiency.
- Focus on a “happy place” – picture yourself in a serene place which makes you feel calm and relaxed.
- Exercise – the endorphins that accompany exercise can improve your mood. However, if you are struggling to breathe, do what you can to catch your breath first.
- Use a mantra – repeating a mantra in your head can help you to relax, as it gives you something to focus on during an attack.
- Medication – if panic attacks are regular and interfering with your quality of life, your doctor may prescribe you medication such as anti-anxiolytics.
To find out more about how to a panic attack, or to learn about the mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, contact us at 518-218-1188.