Mental health issues are spreading like a forest fire among people. You can blame it on an unhealthy lifestyle but that’s not always the case. Not speaking up about your condition makes your mental health issue worse. Once the problem spirals out of control, it becomes tough to tackle it. You must be aware of panic attacks, which may seem really challenging to cope with. It can almost make you feel like your heart is going to pop out of your chest, but relax. There are healthy ways to deal with panic attacks..
What sometimes makes panic attacks even worse is that this condition has no fixed set of symptoms. However, one may experience breathlessness, sweat excessively, gastric issues, chills, shallow breathing, difficulty in speaking, hands and feet become cold and you may feel disconnected from what is happening around you. It’s like you’re in the grave, alive! This may scare you, but panic attacks are inherently such.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Kedar Tilwe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital Mulund and Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi – A Fortis Network Hospital, who shared some tips to manage panic attacks. You can also use these suggestions to get some relief while you manage your anxiety levels.
“Panic attacks and anxiety have begun affecting people of all ages. These can be due to the drastic lifestyle changes that have become a regular feature, especially in urban areas. While certain risk factors cannot be avoided, there are simple measures that one can take to prevent anxiety from taking a toll on their daily existence,” said Dr Tilwe.
Here are techniques that might help people tackle anxiety more strategically.
5 ways to stop panic attacks if you’re prone to it, according to Dr Tilwe:
1. Relaxation exercises
Progressive muscular relaxation exercises or controlled breathing techniques are incredible ways to prevent panic attacks. It is highly recommended that a person chooses relaxation or breathing techniques that relieve them of stress and anxiety in crucial moments. Keep these tips in mind while breathing:
- Keep your eyes close
- Try to focus on something else which can relax you
- Breathe slowly and deeply
- Practice breathing in through your nose and try to hold it in for 4-5 seconds and then release
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and help you relax. Dr Tilwe says, “This time-tested method of calming your mind is perhaps the best way of ensuring that unnecessary panic does not occur. Body-scan meditation can also help a person come to terms with the physical symptoms experienced during a panic episode while helping to prevent a full-blown attack.”
3. Mindfulness exercises
When done mindfully, the most simple and fun day-to-day activities can prevent a panic attack. Not only are they easy to implement and learn, but there are also various options, including grounding techniques, five sense exercises, mindful eating, mindful meditation and mindful breathing, among others. It involves:
- Focusing your attention on what’s going on around you so that you can stabilize yourself in the present moment
- You need to accept what’s you’re going through so that you can support yourself to find solution
- Try to calm yourself down
4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT
By altering your thoughts and behaviours, CBT is a form of therapy that can assist you in managing your issues. Although it can be helpful for various mental and physical health issues, it is most frequently used to treat anxiety and depression. Dr Tilwe says, “No doubt understanding your inner thoughts, cognitive distortion and response patterns will empower you to curb panic attacks effectively.” To use this format, a person needs to work with a mental health counsellor to benefit from this method.
If symptoms related to anxiety and mental stress are very distressing, there is the presence of anticipatory anxiety, or it is affecting your personal-social-occupational life, then medicines can be recommended by an expert. While they can help reduce the distress associated with panic attacks and substantially improve your lifestyle, they should never be taken without prior consultation from a doctor.