Panic attacks can be debilitating and terrifying for those that experience them. Often, panic attacks occur in individuals with a panic disorder, but they can occur in anyone. Those with other mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, or a history of trauma can also experience panic attacks. It is essential to educate yourself on stopping a panic attack before it occurs or while it is happening. This way, you can protect yourself and help yourself relax in the heat of the moment.

Know the Symptoms

To stop a panic attack, you must first know that you are experiencing one. A panic attack can happen anywhere and usually begins with the feeling of pure, utter fear. Once the fear sets in, symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, racing heartbeat, nausea, sweating, and trembling usually follow. Many individuals that have panic attacks often describe the experience as feeling like they are having a heart attack. The symptoms typically last for a maximum of twenty minutes but can disappear sooner. Once you feel these symptoms coming on, you can try coping mechanisms to treat them. 

Practice Self-Talk

Panic attacks can be frightening, so it is essential to remind yourself that it will pass. The attacks typically only last for a maximum of twenty minutes. Remind yourself of this and that you are not in danger. You can also try telling yourself that you are not afraid and repeating it, thus cementing it into your mind to fight against the panic.

Try Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a great way to calm down your nervous system and turn off the flight-or-fight response. There are various breathing exercises you practice, but a good one is the 4-7-8 technique. To do this, you inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold for seven, and then exhale completely for eight seconds. Repeat until your symptoms dissipate. 

Grounding Techniques

Grounding is a great way to place yourself in the present moment to calm anxiety, especially during panic attacks. Try the 54321 technique by:

  1. Name five things you can see in your immediate environment
  2. Name four things you can feel
  3. Name three things you can hear
  4. Name two things you can smell
  5. Name one thing you can taste

Panic attacks can be frightening in the moments they are occurring. Knowing how to manage them in the present moment can help you or another person have the ability to calm down sooner. Panic attacks often leave people feeling like they are having a heart attack, but in reality, it is a physiological response to a perceived sense of danger by your brain. Self-talk, deep breathing, and grounding techniques are incredibly beneficial for those struggling with a panic attack. However, knowing the symptoms can help you stop a panic attack in its tracks before it gets to be too overwhelming. Should you have further questions, contact the team at Alta Loma Transformational Services. We understand the struggles that panic attacks can bring, and we want you to live a life that does not pose a risk to your mental health. Contact us today at (866) 457-3843. Together we can overcome panic attacks and give you hope for the future.