By Stan Popovich
If someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
A person can experience a panic attack when they least expect it. This can cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for the person.
Many people do not know what they should do when dealing with a panic attack.
As a result, here are eight easy steps a person can follow when a panic attack strikes unexpectedly.
1. Take a break: A panic attack can be very uncomfortable and can affect a person’s thinking. The best thing to do when this happens is to take a break in order to calm down. You don’t want to do anything when you’re not thinking clearly.
2. Take deep breaths: A person should take some deep breaths to help feel better and to get rid of some of the excessive fear and anxiety. There are many kinds of breathing exercises a person can learn to follow with the help of a mental health counsellor. Taking some deep breaths can help a person relax right away.
3. Distract yourself: A person should try to distract themselves from the panic they are experiencing. A person could get some fresh air, listen to some music, take a brisk walk, read the newspaper, or do something relaxing that will give them a fresh perspective on things.
4. Visualize a red stop sign: A person should visualize a red stop sign in their mind when they encounter a fearful thought. When a negative thought comes, a person should think of a red stop sign that serves as a reminder to stop focusing on that thought and to think of something else. A person can then try to think of something positive to replace the negative thought.
5. Get the facts of your situation: Many people feel helpless when they experience a panic attack for the first time. The fact is that you will be ok and that it takes a few minutes for the anxiety to go away. Talk to a counsellor and get the facts of what a panic attack is and what you can do when a panic attack occurs.
6. Don’t dwell on your thoughts: A person must not dwell or focus on their thoughts during a panic attack. The more a person tries to reason out their thoughts the longer a panic attack will last. Read some positive statements from your favourite self-help book to help overcome your negative thoughts during a panic attack.
7. Read some positive affirmations: Another technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook of positive statements that makes you feel good. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Whenever you feel depressed, open up your small notebook and read those statements.
8. Get help: It is important to talk to a qualified professional in order to learn how to survive a panic attack. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with any panic attacks that may occur in the future.
Stan Popovich is the author of the popular managing fear book, “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear”. For more information about Stan’s book and to get some more free mental health advice, please visit Stan’s website at www.managingfear.com