Panic attacks can be frightening. They can occur at any time and any place. They could happen to anyone. At the same time, anything can trigger them. There is no specific thing, event, person, time, or place that could be avoided to prevent these attacks from coming. They just come and when they do, a person can experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain or other symptoms of impeding heart attack
- Choking sensation
- Feeling of detachment from surrounding
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling of losing control
- Fear that he is going crazy or dying
These symptoms usually vanish even without any medical help. With some simple strategies, one can minimize the occurrence of these attacks. Here are some of them:
Learn about the condition...
When one knows his enemy, he is halfway through victory. With that in mind you should get as much information as possible. From there, you would be able to determine the causes of your attack, the expected symptoms, and possible solutions to take. Talking to a primary health care provider would help, too if you have one.
Understanding the mechanism of panic attacks can help in two ways. First, you would be able to realize what the trigger points of your attack are. These vary from person to person. As soon as you recognizes the symptoms prior to the actual attacks, you could be ready for them physically and emotionally.
Second, you would know what actions to take during the attacks. You would be calmer knowing that the symptoms are bound to go in a while. You would be less fearful of suffocation, of going crazy, of having a heart attack or even of dying because you understand that these symptoms would not progress to such.
Knowledge is power. When you are well informed of the ins and outs of panic attacks, you would be able to deal with it more effectively. In addition, there is a higher probability that attacks would be lessened, the condition would not progress to panic disorder and eventually, you would be able to overcome it.
Practice a healthy lifestyle...
Eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep and rest, ceasing from smoking and other vices, and exercising can contribute to fewer episodes of panic attacks and shorter duration.
Various studies have linked healthy lifestyle to less susceptibility to stress, anxiety and worry. Also, a person with a positive perspective and disposition in life can manage panic attacks more efficiently.
Strengthen ones social support...
People with panic attacks tend to isolate themselves for they feel embarrassed with their condition. Most of them avoid seeking personal and professional help, too. However, doing these things would only lead to more problems and difficulties later on.
The better approach is to be more open to others about the condition. After all, it is not the fault of the person afflicted with it. At the same time, a strong social support could reverse the situation into a more positive tone.
Practice positive self-talk...
This is effective both in preventing the attacks to become full blown and managing the symptoms during the attacks. Saying over and over again statements like... "I'm going to be okay" or "The symptoms are subsiding" would create stillness and calm within the person plus the brain would work towards the accomplishment of those declarations.
Use deep breathing techniques before, during and after the attacks...
Here is how a correct breathing technique is done: 1. Take a slow, deep breath through the nose. 2. Hold the breath for 3-5 seconds. 3. Slowly release the breath through pursed lips. 4. Repeat the procedure until 5 cycles are done.
Note: This exercise can be done on a regular basis throughout the day as part of your coping parcel of techniques to help keep any rising panic in check.
When symptoms of impending attacks are felt, you should start the deep breathing techniques. You must put your focus on your breathing. This takes your mind off the symptoms of the attacks. Hence, the attacks can sometimes be greatly minimized.
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During the attacks, this technique will also help alleviate the symptoms. The same principle takes place. Ones attention is lifted off from what you are feeling towards to how you are breathing. After the attacks, continuing the deep breathing technique will further calm and stabilize your feelings. Panic attacks can be minimized, managed and treated.