Getting a grip and keeping calm during a panic attack isn’t easy, which is the prime reason people turn to medication in the first place. Our knees weaken, our hearts pound and we feel short of breath. Sometimes, we may experience a pain in our chest and we may feel light headed, too. Sound familiar? Some people even go as far as to describe a panic attack as akin to having a heart attack. And although panic attacks can be brief, they can sometimes last longer and their effects leave us feeling scared and vulnerable. A panic attack is much worse than day to day anxiety. It can spring out from nowhere and when they occur often, it usually means that we’re suffering from some sort of panic disorder. And the more they occur, the more we want to avoid situations which may trigger a panic attack. Indeed, we eventually come to fear the panic attack more than we feel the situation. The good news is that you don’t have to be scared of panic attacks, nor do you have to take refuge in drugs. Let’s take a look at 10 tips on how to deal with panic attacks without drugs.
The right mindset can help you overcome a panic attack. If you’re a naturally negative person, not only will more panic attacks come your way, but you’ll forever find it hard to overcome them. A panic attack can be scary, but like with anything in life it’s how you react that really matters. If you respond to a panic attack positively and keep your mindset right, you will be able to overcome this a lot more easily than you have in the past. How to be positive? Tell yourself that you are the boss here. It’s you that’s in control – not the anxiety. It’s in your hands to get through this and you will decide to manage how you feel. Kick negative thoughts to the curb. Adjust your mindset. Remember that your anxiety doesn’t define you.
Think of it as of a Nightmare
Nightmares are scary and so are panic attacks, but remember that both eventually end. They’re not real, they are illusions, created by your mind.
Remember That You Have a Choice
We sometimes make a panic attack worse by refusing to do anything about the situation we’re in. If we’re at a party and we start to have an attack, we decide to stick around because we don’t want to look lame. If we’re out eating a meal with people and have an attack, we carry on forcing food down us even though we feel unwell, simply because we don’t wan to speak out. Remember that you have a choice to remove yourself from any situation that’s causing anxiety. If you don’t feel well and need to leave the room, excuse yourself. There’s no need to give any explanation for why you’re leaving. If you need to go outside to calm down, do it. This is your life and health and you are in control.
Lose Yourself in a Book
Find escape in your favourite book and enter a world that fascinates you and takes your mind off things.
Find a Distraction
Panic attacks can escalate if we don’t find a distraction quickly enough. Before we know it, we’ve allowed the attack to get out of control. Distracting yourself is a fairly bulletproof way of dealing with a panic attack. Find something to do or think about that takes your mind off things when you know an attack is imminent. Call a friend, count pennies or do some organising or cleaning. The better you become at distracting yourself, the easier it will be to ward off panic attacks.
Give The Panic Attack A Funny Name
A really easy way to diminish a panic attack’s power? Give it a silly name. “Not you again, Bertha! I’ve told you time and again that I don’t like you coming around here!”
Remember That This Will Pass
Some people are natural born worriers. If they get an illness, they worry that they’ll feel this way for the rest of their lives. Everything passes. Heartache after a breakup eventually passes. The flu – as bad as it is at times – eventually passes. And so will a panic attack. Keep this in mind when you’re suffering from a panic attack. Remind yourself that it will pass like everything else passes. Sometimes it takes longer than other times, but it won’t stick around forever.
It’s Not Real
A lot of us mistake anxiety for reality when the truth is very different. Anxiety isn’t reality. If anything, it’s our interpretation of events. If your partner is out for much longer than they said they would be, how you react comes down to how you normally interpret things. Are they out late because they’re cheating on you? Have they got into trouble? Or are they just having some fun? It’s the same with a panic attack. We can either assume that it’s real and we’re sick, or we can take it for what it is, which is our body’s heightened response to perceived danger.
Speak to a Panic Attack In a Different Way
What do you usually say when you’re having a panic attack? Lots of us might say “I’m dying”. It’s a common response, but it’s a really bad one. Instead, try challenging your panic attack. “You won’t defeat me this time!” Or: “I’m stronger than you, panic attack!” The language you use can determine how you feel about things. Change your language and you can start to deal with a panic attack better. Start feeling that you are in control, not the anxiety.
Do Things That Scare You
Lastly, it’s important to remember that most of us are anxious about irrational things. We get panicky in crowds or if we’re lost in a city. But these situations aren’t serious or life threatening. Slowly inch your way into situations that scare you, so that your brain gets used to them and stops getting all panicky.
Stat happy and healthy!