Mental Health

How to Get Rid of Panic Attacks

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Panic attacks and anxiety are two very common issues in the population of modern society. For quite a few people, their panic attacks may often prevent them from living to their highest potential out of fear, and they almost always interrupt the person’s day.

If you suffer from panic attacks it is important for you to understand that you are not the only one, and that there are steps you can take to help eliminate panic attacks from your life.

1. Identify your triggers.

Although in the moment your panic attack may seem like it came out of nowhere, there is almost always a trigger or underlying cause that resulted in your panic. Before you can begin to eliminate panic attacks, you have to figure out what is causing them in the first place.

For instance, someone may experience panic attacks based on social situations like going to a large party. Another may experience panic attacks before an exam, or maybe by not hearing back from a friend right away.

The steps to get rid of your panic attacks can often change based on what is causing them. While all of the steps that follow this one can be very effective, you will have to tailor this process to your specific needs.

2. Get rid of the bad stuff.

Once you have identified the triggers to your panic attacks, you should now make a list of them and figure out which ones can be eliminated form your life and which cannot. For example, you cannot stay at home every moment of every day, so eliminating social activities isn’t really an option.

Instead, you can go to less hangouts and meet with smaller amounts of people. You are, essentially, easing yourself into it. If your panic attacks are triggered by events that can be eliminated yourself without causing further harm, consider distancing yourself from the situation and taking a breather.

You can reintroduce this element when you are ready, but often taking a break is what you need to process the situation until you can manage your panic attacks.

3. Breathe deep.

If you pay attention, a panic attack can be identified before it occurs. Whenever you are feeling anxious and suspect that a panic attack is nearby: stop. You will often experience rapid breathing and in extreme cases hyperventilation.

There is one simple remedy to this situation: just breathe. Stop thinking about the situation at hand and focus on taking a series of deep breaths. A good starting point is inhaling for seven seconds, and then exhaling for seven seconds. Count in your head to keep your breathing even.

You can place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest to make sure that you breathe properly. When inhaling your stomach you expand, and contract when you are exhaling. Your chest should remain level as much as possible. When you are focusing this much on your breathing, it is hard to panic and let things fall out of your control. Continue taking deep breaths following this technique until you feel yourself calm down.

4. Distract yourself.

Another great step to take when trying to get rid of your panic attacks is to distract yourself. Specifically, you want to engage in an activity that you enjoy that will allow you to focus on something besides what is upsetting you at that particular moment.

This might mean reading your favourite book, or watching an episode of Seinfeld. Whatever the case may be, find something that you like to do to distract yourself.

5. Talk it over.

If you experience panic attacks, sometimes the best thing for you to do is talk it over with a trusted friend or family member, or even a professional if the panic attacks are serious enough.

Even if they can’t help, sometimes just having someone listen to you can bring a lot of stress off your shoulders. Eventually, your panic attacks may stop altogether if talking through it helps you to cope and understand.

6. Just yell stop.

If you experience panic attacks, chances are they will be accompanied with negative thinking. These bad thoughts often aren’t true, but your mind will position them as a clear truth. When this happens to you and you are able to identify it, try yelling at your brain to stop and keep interrupting the negative thinking as much as you can.

At some point, you should have the opportunity to replace this negative thinking with some more positive thoughts to get rid of any impending panic attacks.

7. Use relaxation techniques.

The next step to help eliminate your panic attacks is to engage in a relaxation technique. These can be adopted into your daily or weekly routine, depending on space and preference. Additionally, you may come up with some relaxation techniques on your own. The ones described below are guidelines to help you get started.
Meditation is a practice that involves training your body and mind and focusing on a state of healthy well-being. Like taking deep breaths in the previous step, meditation will allow you to clear your mind.

To start a meditation, you want to find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed for the length of time that you have decided you will meditate for. Once you have found it, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

Begin to take some deep and even breaths, allowing your mind to let all thoughts flow away as if they were caught by a river, leaving your mind free from thought. Many people also choose to repeat a mantra during meditation. This can be any short phrase that you choose, with one popular choice being “Aum/Om.”

Yoga is also an increasingly popular activity for improving physical health as well as mental. Should you decide to engage in yoga as a way of getting rid of your panic attacks, make sure that you choose your style wisely.

Bikram Yoga, otherwise known as hot yoga, would not be as effective or appropriate for relaxing, whereas a session of Restorative yoga will be ideal for you. Restorative yoga is done at a slower pace and often involves the use of yoga blocks or other aids that allow the user to experience the benefits without overexerting themselves.

Of course, if you are experienced in yoga, a faster paced class like Vinyasa or Ashtanga may be suitable for you to use to get rid of your panic attacks.

8. Limit facebook time.

Using Facebook as a way to keep in touch with your friends and family is great, but spending too much time looking at other people’s profiles can often have negative effects.

When trying to get rid of your panic attacks, you should limit the amount of time that you spend on Facebook, as constantly comparing yourself to others can become very harmful to your self-esteem. If you check it at least once every single day, perhaps reduce that to just a couple times per week for no more than ten minutes at a time.

In addition to limiting your time, if there are a couple specific people that you are constantly comparing yourself to or items that they post often contribute to your stress and panic attacks, Facebook has a tool where you can actually unfollow them while still remaining friends. This way, you won’t see their content unless you specifically go looking for it.

There are many different ways of coping with panic attacks, so once you’ve found one that works for you stick with it and feel better!

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Nicole Harding

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