A few weeks ago, my son’s girlfriend was having difficulty breathing and feeling a pain in her chest. Not knowing if it was something with her heart or a panic attack, I suggested she go to urgent care. In turn she wound up in the hospital for testing and low and behold it was a panic attack. Panic attacks are common, I used to suffer from them when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. Some people, even highly successful individuals can suffer from them well into adulthood. The stress of work, COVID and politics can all be triggers. The intensity of the symptoms can make them unnerving. It’s good to know that proper treatment can reduce or even eliminate the discomfort. Take a look at the facts about panic attacks and learn how you can manage them.
Facts about Panic Attacks
1. Understand the symptoms. Panic attacks affect your mind and body. You’re likely to feel afraid and out of control. At the same time, your heart starts to race and you have difficulty breathing. You may shake and sweat. Nausea, chills, and hot flashes are also typical.
2. Examine the causes. Researchers are still studying the exact causes, but there are some theories. Your family history or substance abuse can make you more prone to having panic attacks. You may have personal triggers that lead up to an attack. On the other hand, you may suddenly feel tension that is unrelated to any external event. It may be something at the subconscious level.
3. Let go of your assumptions. Clearing up two myths about panic attacks will make them much easier to handle. While you may think you’re having a heart attack or other serious issues, panic attacks do not pose any significant threat to your body. Similarly, you are still capable of making rational decisions even though you feel stressed.
4. Know the recovery rates. There are very effective treatments available. You may be able to find all the help you need in a book or online course or you may want to consult a therapist. By some estimates, successful treatment rates are 90% or higher.
How to Manage Panic Attacks
1. Breathe deeply. Skillful breathing soothes any kinds of stress. Practice drawing full breaths starting down in your abdomen and rising up into your chest and head. Try to spend as much time exhaling as you do inhaling.
2. Expose yourself to discomfort. Ironically, when we try to avoid difficult situations we often make things worse because we miss the opportunity to witness our strengths and learn valuable lessons. Turn the cycle around starting with small steps.
3. Wait 10 minutes. Panic attacks feel eternal but they actually last for only about 10 minutes. Reassure yourself that it will be over soon. Place your focus inward and on healing.
4. Watch what you eat. Your diet contributes to your wellbeing. Nutritious whole foods that stabilize your blood sugar make you feel calmer. By contrast, alcohol and caffeine could aggravate your anxiety.
5. Exercise regularly. Physical activity is one of the best remedies for dealing with panic attacks. Sign up for a yoga class (even if it’s a virtual one) or take a morning run in your local park.
6. Seek support. Friends and family may have trouble understanding your needs if they are unfamiliar with panic attacks. Turn to a support group or maybe think about forming your own. Helping others may speed up your own healing.
7. Seek out a life coach. I’m actually a coach who specializes in Stress, Anxiety and even Depression (S.A.D). During your sessions, you’ll learn to spot your stress triggers and respond more constructively. You can learn to better balance your emotions and gain control which can help you avoid having panic attacks completely.
8. Talk with your doctor. A visit with your personal physician is a good place to start. They can test you to rule out any physical causes and recommend a course of treatment.
9. Consider medication. While you’re working on changing your habits, medication could ease your stress. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
There are many options for treatment of panic attacks and what works for one person may not work for another. However, getting and maintaining control to overcome panic attacks will restore your peace of mind and help you to resume the activities that you love.
Love & Light
Your Stress Management Maven &
Nature Goddess Guide