panic attacks

Experts say it is important to not let your heart pound or feel breathless as it is all connected to your thinking

Having a panic attack can be a scary experience for many. Panic attacks are sudden, intense surges of fear or anxiety, which can overwhelm you both physically as well as emotionally.

So, if you have a panic attack you may find yourself vulnerable, breathless, sweating profusely, tremble, and even feel a super racy heartbeat. Many people may also experience severe chest pains which may make them think they are having a heart attack or a stroke. 1

According to experts, panic attacks start without any warning, and symptoms can reach a peak within minutes. Even though everyone’s symptoms can be different, psychologists say they are treatable.

Since they are scary and can hit you quickly, there are a few strategies you can use to try to stop or manage your panic attacks. A few of them include:

Stop feeling negative

Whenever you arrive at a social place – a party or a gathering you may become overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Experts say it is important to not let your heart pound or feel breathless as it is all connected to your thinking.

According to studies, the moment a person experiences an adrenaline rush, their body’s fight-or-flight response begins. And so, it is important to recognize these and take control of emotions. 2

Count backwards

Many times, you may not be up to thinking positively or engage in small talk with others which can heighten the possibility of a panic attack. So, in this situation begin counting backward from 100 by threes.

This would require focus but would immensely help shift your internal conversation away from feeling uncomfortable.

Drink water

According to studies, whenever you are having a panic attack – it can feel like you have a lump in your throat and make you breathless with a dry mouth. 3

Some people also get a funky taste in their mouth, due to the brain chemicals released in an adrenaline rush. And so, experts say you must take a sip of water that would quickly help to alleviate your symptoms.

Do deep breathing

Whenever you begin to hyperventilate – one of the main symptoms of a panic attack, make sure to start deep breathing which can reduce symptoms of panic during an attack.

According to studies, practicing deep breathing can help you make significant improvements in your attention levels and emotional well-being. 4

Try to focus on taking a deep breath through your nose, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly.

Then slowly exhale through your mouth and feel the air leave your body. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for 1 second, and then breathe out through your nose for a count of

Keep a lavender twig handy

Lavender is said to be a traditional remedy that many people use to reduce stress and help them relax.

Many studies suggest the aromatic herb has a calming effect but does not lead to dependence or cause withdrawal symptoms. Using products that contain diluted lavender essential oil may help reduce or manage symptoms of anxiety. 5

According to experts, there are many other strategies you can use in the long run to keep anxiety and panic attacks at bay, a few of which include:

  • Practice mindfulness
  • Seek counselling
  • Focus on an object
  • Exercise regularly
  • Talk to people
    What causes a panic attack?

Experts say panic attacks happen for various reasons, or sometimes they happen for no apparent reason. Often you may get a panic attack when you are exposed to a trigger – which varies widely between people. In some cases, there may be no clear trigger.

  • Can panic attacks be prevented?
  • It is not always possible to prevent a panic attack, but certain strategies can help. Avoiding specific triggers may help prevent a panic attack, but this may not always be possible or appropriate

  • How long does a panic attack last?
  • Panic attacks vary in terms of length, but the majority last between 5 minutes to 20 minutes. Some have reported panic attacks lasting for up to an hour, and you can experience a series of panic attacks after one another.

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