2020 has left us and we are currently in 2021. But as we all know 2020 is not exactly a great year for everyone, some also develops excessive stress and anxiety during the year. Many people who suffer from stress and psychological distress often also suffer from panic attacks. Panic attacks feel slightly different for everyone, but the symptoms are often the same: a sudden racing heart, sweat breaking out, and chest constricting. You may experience dizziness or nausea. These physical symptoms are accompanied by fearful, almost catastrophic thoughts, such as the fear of losing control or even dying.
While it can stick to a single panic attack, panic attacks will in many cases develop into a panic disorder or an anxiety disorder. Affected people begin to fear the next attack: the fear of fear keeps the panic disorder going. Breaking out of this vicious circle requires professional treatment, for example with the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The earlier psychotherapy to treat anxiety attacks begins, the higher the chances that the anxiety cycle will not become too entrenched and quickly overcome. Our online course for panic, for example, offers emergency aid accompanied by psychologists. In the meantime, it is important to know how to act during an acute panic attack. In this first aid kit, we have summarized the 6 most common tips to deal with stress and anxiety.
- Breathing Techniques
Using the right breathing technique while in the middle of an attack is essential. When people are prone to panic attacks, they tend to forget to exhale because they are too busy getting air into their lungs, and it is easy to hyperventilate.
It often helps sufferers to breathe in slowly and deeply through their nose until the habit is filled with air and then exhale through their mouth. You can try to feel the incoming air in your nose and feel how the abdominal wall rises and falls again. You can put one hand on your stomach to focus on raising and lowering your stomach. The focus should be on the breath, and it is better to breathe deeply into the diaphragm or stomach instead of into the chest. This focus on breathing should be maintained until the fear has subsided and the heartbeat slows down.
Against hyperventilation, it helps to hold your breath for 10-15 seconds or to breathe “back” into a paper bag.
- Get Hydrated
Another simple but very effective trick is drinking cold water. It’s best to always have a water bottle with you. Drinking a few sips of water will distract the body, and drinking will automatically slow your breathing. Many sufferers also find it pleasant to splash water on their faces or let it flow over the palms of their hands during a panic attack.
When a panic attack approaches, those affected should first try to relax. For example, by applying progressive muscle relaxation, which helps relax the body and soul. The method is easy to learn and very effective. Alternatively, it can help to gently stretch individual body parts or to massage the neck yourself.
Perhaps doing yoga or some other gentle sport can bring some improvement. Gentle exercise keeps the body busy and brings breath and heart rate back to normal levels.
Nobody needs to be ashamed of having a panic attack. Fighting them can even be a hindrance. Affected people should allow the feelings – physically and emotionally – without fixating on them. You should be aware of what happens during a panic attack, but not get into it.
It can help to remember that an attack will go away after 10, 15, or 30 minutes at the latest. A mantra or an affirmation such as “I am strong and can survive this” or “I am in control” can help.
- Emergency Kit
An emergency kit can be helpful in the event of a panic attack. This can be a note in the cell phone or the wallet. Here you can write down five things that can help when you have a panic attack. Breathing, relaxation, meditation, or other coping methods that are personally helpful for one. Other distractions can also help. This directs the focus away from the physical warning signals and hectic breathing and can prevent or alleviate a panic attack.
Emergency kit can also include pills or medications. But make sure you consult everything with your doctor before taking any medications. Preferably you should look for a doctor specializing in opioid medical education.
Meditating regularly helps many people deal with their fears better. Many apps offer meditations and breathing exercises for free. For example, apps like 7Mind, Zenify, or Headspace offer many different meditations and breathing exercises.Pick one of them and try it out