What should you do during a panic attack?

A panic attack or anxiety attack is more common than you know. Some people would experience it following major stressful events and some would have repeated episodes which might be diagnosed as a panic disorder.

Symptoms of a panic attack may push the individual to think that they are having a heart attack which increases their anxiety and symptoms even more. Unfortunately, you may become anxious about your anxiety.

During the day or even during your sleep, you may experience few or all these symptoms: Chest pain, accelerated heart rate, trembling of limbs, difficulty to breathe, nausea or stomach cramps, dizziness, fear of losing control or dying and loss of connection with self.

What is really happening in your body? Due to elevated stress and the inability to cope with increasing anxiety, the neurochemistry in your body starts changing. Your brain is persuaded that you are in danger and it actually starts acting accordingly. Your brain starts secreting those chemicals that make your muscles cramp and your heart pound and your head spin.

Your brain is trying to keep you vigilant to face the danger while in truth the real danger is in your thoughts.

It did happen to me for a couple of weeks when my uncle and mother were diagnosed with cancer with three months gap in between them. I had a full schedule in the clinic and I received the news of my mother’s illness during a session that I had to finish as nothing happened. I collapsed afterwards naturally.

I knew the pain I felt in my chest was due to severe sadness and fear and my cardiologist confirmed that.

How to act during a panic attack?

First, do not panic. Your heart is fine, your thoughts aren’t. Take a moment to acknowledge the feelings you’re having and the events you lived in the past few days or weeks and try to find the major trigger to your anxiety. There is always many factors leading to your anxiety.

Second, cry if you need to, do not stop the stream of tears. This is a natural way of your brain to talk to you and tell you how it’s feeling. Squeeze on a pillow or on a cloth but never attempt to hurt your skin instead. Try to rest on a chair or a bed and regulate your breathing. Recall one happy memory, a really strong one you have and focus on it.

Read ALL I NEED IS A HAPPY THOUGHT https://astoryofthoughts.com/2020/03/16/all-i-need-is-a-happy-thought/

Third, remember that your negative thoughts put you in this situation and a modification of your thinking would be the best treatment. Immerse yourself in sensory experiences involving your sight, your hearing, your touch or your movement. When you give your body a calming sensory experience, it sends a new feedback to your brain that in return will have something better to focus on. This will start regulating the neurochemistry again. Sensory experiences could be something you like watching, something you like listening to, something you like creating with your hands or some motor actions you like to engage in such as dancing or swimming etc…

Forth, talk to someone about your feelings and do not keep it dwelling inside of you. You need to put your feelings in words to be able to digest it. This is how our human brain functions. We are verbal animals and words have a powerful impact on our psyches.

Fifth, when you start feeling anxious or overwhelmed with life events, do not ignore your feelings and do not keep going. STOP. Deal with your anxiety to avoid a panic attack in the first place.

READ THE ECHOES OF SILENCE ON DEPRESSION https://astoryofthoughts.com/2019/02/07/the-echos-of-silence/

Ignoring anxiety signs is the most dangerous thing you could do to yourself. If symptoms persist, please consult a professional. You will need extra support to learn how to tame your brain.

READ HERE ON THE FEAR OF THERAPY https://astoryofthoughts.com/2019/10/07/the-fear-of-therapy/



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