Panic attacks happen to be one of the most prominent symptoms in several mental illnesses. And sometimes, even when a person has not been diagnosed with a mental illness, they may still face them due to extreme nervousness and anxiety-ridden thoughts. And when people go through a panic attack, they naturally feel helpless because they have no control over the situation.
However, studies have shown that you can control a panic attack in most cases, if not stop it in its entirety. This requires emotional intelligence and acceptance in the first place and a stronger attempt to control your bodily impulses. You may not be able to ace it on your first go, but you will establish a certain level of control over your panic attacks over time. It all starts with baby steps, and we are here to tell you how to take them.
This guide covers the top 8 ways you can control or even stop a panic attack from happening. Let’s get started!
First of all, what are panic attacks, and why is it important to control them?
When fear, anxiety, and stress start showing as physical symptoms, an individual feels helpless and experiences dizziness, nausea, and even extreme sweating. The situation can worsen when the individual begins losing breath, as it can even prove fatal. The intensity, frequency, and duration of a panic attack may differ for each person. And if panic attacks are not controlled at the right time, these three factors continue to increase, which is not good. So how do you deal with them? Let’s find out.
Here are the top 8 ways of stopping panic attacks:
Take Deep Breaths
As cliche as it may sound, deep breaths taken during a panic attack can prove to be a lifesaver. Unfortunately, in most cases, the episode tends to worsen because of the breathlessness that comes with the panic attack. As a result, the individual is trapped in a vicious cycle of panicking, losing breath, and panicking even more. It is necessary to break this cycle, and only deep breathing can do it.
Focus On An Object
Panic attacks result from extreme stress and worry about one issue or more, which makes the situation highly overwhelming to the individual to process. At such times, a distraction from those issues is needed. Our advice would be to divert your mind by focusing on a single object for a long time. The object could be anything, a bottle on the table, a clock, or a tiny mark on the wall.
Engage In Light Exercise
Please know that in this case, exercise is not just a mere distraction, as mentioned above. There is a much deeper meaning to it. When your body engages in exercise or intentional movement, the brain releases hormones like serotonin and dopamine. These are the happy hormones produced by our body to keep a good mood. A release of these hormones after exercise can also help control panic attacks.
Picture Your Happy Place
Panic attacks can make you feel out of place and quite lonely, too, especially if you are having at a time and place where there is no one around to help you calm down. But at such times, you need to remind yourself of happy moments that made you feel positive and optimistic about your life. It could be your favorite picnic stop, the time you hugged someone you love, or even time spent with your dog.
Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Muscle relaxation techniques such as using a heating pad, a massage gun, or even lying in a weighted blanket can help ease your panic attack. Again, there is psychology and physiology involved in this case too. When you relax your muscles, the tension within them releases. Besides, external stimulation provided through a massage gun, heat pad, or weighted blanket also helps in releasing happy hormones.
Take Any Prescribed Medications
If you have already sought medical assistance for panic attacks, and have been prescribed any medications, remember to have them. So often, what happens is, people tend to forget the available medications when they are facing a panic attack. But in this way, you will keep help from helping you, and that’s not something you should encourage.
Aromatherapy can be very helpful at such times, and this is not just for the aesthetics. Science has always encouraged relaxation through aromatherapy, and one of the most soothing scents is lavender. But, of course, most people cannot have fresh lavenders with them all the time. But, you can always have a small bottle of lavender essential oil or a body mist to freshen and relax quickly.
Accept The Situation
Last but not least, try to accept the situation, no matter how bad it is. And by accepting, we don’t mean “let it be the way it is.” Nope, that shouldn’t be the case. What we actually mean is, showing acceptance towards the situation and yourself. Understand that it is natural to feel anxious, and allow your body to express it. Remember, only when you accept the situation will you find its solution.
All in all, panic attacks may seem out of your control on the surface, but you can have them under control with a bit of acceptance and mindfulness. And in case you fail to do so, know that help is always just a step away. Seek assistance from a medical professional, go for therapy sessions, understand the issue and let the therapist help you find ways to overcome it.