All of a sudden, your heart starts beating faster, an aura of heat encapsulates you, and you feel disorientated, dizzy, and you are hyperventilating – sound familiar? These are the telltale signs of a panic attack. Panic attacks can hit rather suddenly and may even feel like a heart attack.

We’re here to chat a bit about what a panic attack is, how to turn it around, and how to prevent yourself from going through one in the future.

Striking at any point without warning, a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear and anxiety that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no apparent cause. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

When panic attacks start occurring more frequently and start affecting your daily functioning, that is when it becomes a panic disorder.

Panic attacks aren’t life-threatening but can feel as if they are. Panic disorder is dubbed a mental health disorder on its own, and panic attacks can accompany other mental health disorders. For example, experiencing anxiety disorder with panic attacks as a symptom.

Having a panic attack can be frightening but once the triggers are identified, managing a panic attack becomes easier.

Symptoms of a panic attack include: 

  • Sense of impending danger.
  • Fear of loss of control or death.
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate and hyperventilating.
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat.
  • Chills.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal cramping.
  • Chest pain.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness.
  • Crying.

Here’s how to manage and possibly prevent your next panic attack:

Recognise that it’s a panic attack

Recognising that you’re having a panic attack instead of a heart attack can reassure you that this is temporary. It will pass and you will be A-OK.

During this time, your triggers might become clearer and although it might not be possible to totally avoid the trigger, recognition will help you to understand the panic attack.

Deep Breathing

At the onset and during a panic attack, hyperventilation will occur, which may freak you out even further. Deep breathing can reduce these symptoms of panic during an attack.


When a panic attack arises – you feel detached from your reality and having a strong sense of mind can keep you grounded in a time of crisis.

Mindfulness involves:

  • Focusing your attention on the present.
  • Recognising the emotional state you’re in.
  • Meditating to reduce stress and help you relax.

Pro Tip: A physical sensation like digging your feet into the ground can shift your focus onto something familiar.

Relaxation techniques

Meditation, meditation, meditation!

Relaxing the mind will filter through to relax the muscles. This is a great practice to remember when you are experiencing a panic attack.

Consciously releasing the tension of the mind and body will bring about a state of calmness and is something to remember during a panic attack.

Counselling or therapy

If you feel home remedies techniques are not working for you, maybe it’s time to call for help. A psychologist can assist you with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

CBT assists you to view your challenges or frightening situations in a new and different light. This method will also equip you with new ways to approach your panic attack when they arise.


There are medications to help treat panic attacks and panic disorders. Unfortunately, it won’t solve the underlying anxiety disorder but it will help treat the symptoms.

It is the most recommended form of treatment to relieve the crisis mode but is only advised for a short period of time to avoid dependency.

Close your eyes

A panic attack can be extremely overwhelming and your surroundings can feed your panic attack to a worsened state. Close your eyes during your panic attack to block out any extra stimuli and make it easier to focus on your breathing.

Pro Tip: ensure your surroundings are safe or you have someone you trust nearby.

Sometimes it’s helpful to allow yourself to live through the panic attack and address the trigger or effects thereafter, so let yourself experience it and then take action to manage it correctly or even prevent it.


Soak up all the Vitamin D you can get, you’re going to need it!


The post Turn your panic attack around, and learn how to manage your next one appeared first in Woman and Home Magazine.

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