How to stop a panic attack
If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you know that they can be incredibly unsettling. Symptoms of a panic attack include things like experiencing headaches, nausea, chills, a racing heartbeat, the inability to breathe and thoughts of excessive fear. After you’ve had one, the fear of another one can be overwhelming.
Does this sound familiar? If you’ve suffered through one or more of these episodes, it’s time to learn how to stop a panic attack.
Know the symptoms
Panic attacks manifest in physical, emotional and psychological ways. You can experience a combination of the following signs:
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeat
- Thoughts of anxiety, fear or death
- Nausea and abdominal cramps
- Fever or chills
- Sweating profusely
- Feeling faint or lightheaded
- Numbness or tingling in various parts of the body
Now that you’ve experienced a panic attack and are familiar with its signs, you need to assess how to stop a panic attack if another one were to occur.
Focus on your breath
When you feel panicked or anxious, your breathing becomes shallower. This rapid breathing can then send warning signals to your brain that make you feel even more detached and fearful of what’s happening. Focus on your breathing when you feel an attack coming on. Ground yourself by taking deep breaths, holding them in for at least 30 seconds then releasing slowly. If panic attacks occur regularly for you, try implementing breathing exercises into your daily routine. This practice will allow you to harness this technique more readily when an attack occurs.
Find the cause
Some people experience seemingly random panic attacks. Others experience panic attacks as the result of trauma, stress or poor mental health. Think back on the times you’ve experienced a panic attack – what were you doing? What were you thinking about? If you’ve experienced a few attacks, was there something similar about the moments before each one? Were you arguing with your spouse or worrying about a work incident? If you’re able to identify the cause that’s triggering your panic attacks, you can work to de-escalate your feelings of worry when those emotions begin to resurface.
Stress is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences some anxieties, but when your worries about your responsibilities, or things outside your control like the past or future, become so severe that you’re having panic attacks, it’s time to take action. What area of your life is causing you extreme stress? Is it your career? Family life? Finances? Health? Sit down and create a massive action plan. Getting clear on what you want to achieve and how you’ll reach these priorities will reduce the levels of stress you’re feeling. Additionally, notice how you’re misusing your time; what can you cut back on to reduce your stress?
How often are you moving your body? Are you sitting down at work all day, then sitting in a car for your commute and finally sitting on your couch in the evening watching television? This lack of movement can negatively affect your mental state. Radically change the state of your body – get moving. When you find your body beginning to show signs of a panic attack, change your state immediately. Get up and go for a walk. Stand up and stretch. Do anything to shift your focus from a panic attack. Your body will begin to feel better, and your mental state will follow.
“Emotion is created by motion.” – Tony Robbins
Moderate your routines
When was the last time you had an excellent night’s sleep? What are you using to fuel your body throughout the day? Feelings of anxiety, stress or fear can be heightened by poor quality of sleep and a lacking diet. Adding more physical activity into your routine can help you to sleep more soundly at night, too. If you’re prone to panic attacks, try removing caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes from your routine. Not only are these substances harmful, but they can heighten the feelings of an attack.
In the grips of a panic attack, you feel like something has gone terribly wrong. You feel alone, anxious and like this sensation will never stop. The reality is, you’re not alone. There are people out there who love and support you, and they want you to feel safe and secure. Let your loved ones know you’re dealing with panic attacks. Spend time with family and friends to alleviate some of your stress and anxiety. Teach your loved ones a few relaxation techniques, like a guided breathing exercise or physical activity, that they can help you with if a panic attack strikes.
Panic attacks can be terrifying, but you have the power to de-escalate them. It will take time, focus and practice to identify the signs and stop yourself in the midst of a panic attack. By using relaxation techniques, monitoring your stress levels and routines and reaching out for the support of friends and family, you’ll be able to conquer panic attacks once and for all.
Conquer your limiting beliefs today
Overcome the feelings of stress and overwhelm that inhibit your success by adopting empowering beliefs. Read Tony Robbins’ Limiting Beliefs guide to discover how to change your state for the better.