Understanding and Managing Panic Attacks

Most of us have experienced the unpleasant feelings that a panic attack brings. Most of the time, it feels as if you are going to have a heart attack and the anxiety makes you believe that something bad is going to happen.

However, understanding the truth behind panic attacks is essential, as it is not as bad as we might think if managed properly.

Panic attacks represent the body’s “fight-flight-freeze” response; it prepares our body to defend itself. However, sometimes it can react when there is no real danger. They are harmless, even though they can feel tremendously uncomfortable and even scary. Due to the fact that they are basically simply an alarm system, they are not designed to harm us, which means that even if we feel like we are dying or going crazy depending on how bad the panic attack is, we are actually not even close to that.

Another important fact that you need to know is that panic attacks are brief, typically lasting only 5 to 10 minutes at peak intensity. Unfortunately, they do make us feel like they are never-ending. If you feel tired after a panic attack, it’s because they do take a lot of our energy away, which is why they don’t last very long.

Learning how to manage and control a panic attack is highly necessary and helpful at the same time. Building a toolbox of strategies should be a priority. There are a number of strategies that you can try and which have proven to work:

1. Calm Breathing – this strategy can help reduce some of the physical symptoms that one experiences during a panic attack; because we tend to breathe faster when we are anxious, it can make us feel dizzy and lightheaded, which can make us feel even more anxious. Calm breathing involves taking slow, regular breaths through your nose. On the other hand, keep in mind that the goal of calm breathing is not to stop the panic attack, but rather to make it a little easier to go through the feelings.

2. Muscle Relaxation – this technique involves relaxing your body and it uses tensing various muscles and then relaxing them to help lower the overall tension and stress levels.

3. Realistic Thinking – this tool helps you prevent a panic attack from happening; it involves learning how to identify scary thoughts that can trigger and fuel feelings of panic. You need to ask yourself what you are afraid will happen during a panic attack and try to face the possibilities. Remember the fact that a panic attack cannot harm you as it is simply an alarm system that our body has.

All in call, remember that panic attacks will not cause you to faint, lose control, go crazy, or die. All you need to do is be aware of it happening and manage it as good as you can.