Anxiety attacks and panic attacks often go hand in hand. The symptoms are almost exactly the same, and they both can come out of nowhere. Most panic attacks last approximately 10 minutes and many people experience at least one of these a week or more. If you have ever experienced an attack like this, you most likely felt like you were having a heart attack – like you had absolutely no control over your body. Our goal in this guide is to reduce those feelings as much as possible so you can breathe easy once again.
Here are some tips for how to calm down during an anxiety attack.
Acknowledge The Fact That You’re Having A Panic Attack
Because of the “panic” that comes along with an anxiety attack, it’s natural to want to fight back against it. You may think that by ignoring the problem, it will just go away. That doesn’t work. As difficult as it may be to do, acknowledge that you’re having an anxiety attack when symptoms start to occur. This will make it easier for you to evaluate what’s going on and eventually calm yourself down.
Bonus: Telling yourself that you’re having a panic attack will erase the fear that something worse may be going on, like a heart attack or stroke. These feelings can make an anxiety attack much more intense and harder to overcome.
Talk Yourself Through The Attack
You are the only person inside your head during an anxiety attack. Even if there are other people in the room, chances are you will be deaf to what’s going on everywhere else. Use this time to talk yourself through the attack. Tell yourself that this is only temporary, that you will get through it, and you will not have to go to the hospital. Ease your worries before they even become worries. If you’ve had panic attacks in the past, you’ll have a better idea of what goes on in your head during one. Try to negate all of those thoughts right away, and continue to remind yourself that you WILL overcome this.
Focus On Your Breathing
During an anxiety attack, you’re liable to experience shortness of breath. This feeling can be intensified if you take a series of short breaths, which is what you will instinctively want to do. Instead, try to focus on your breathing. Breathe from deep within your belly, making your stomach go up and down as you inhale and exhale. This will slow your heart and it will keep your mind from wandering elsewhere, which will all lead to a shortened panic attack.
Relax Stiffened Parts Of Your Body
Another common experience during an anxiety attack is body stiffness. You may feel yourself clench your fists or extend your legs to the point that you cause yourself pain. Once your breathing has slowed down to a point that it seems manageable, do an evaluation of your body. If you notice any tense areas, try to relax those body parts so you can start to feel more relaxed overall.
Stay Where You Are
You will be very tempted to remove yourself from a stressful situation, thinking that will relieve your anxiety. Don’t. This is very tough to do at first, but it’s important for you to stay exactly where you are, right in the midst of the anxiety. Why? Because this allows you to assess matters after the attack and see that perhaps they weren’t as bad as you thought they were. If the crowd is still too much for you to handle or you feel yourself slipping back into a panic attack, then you can choose to leave. You just have to give yourself a chance to evaluate what’s going on after the anxiety attack to prevent another one from happening in the future.
Work With An Anxiety Counselor To Tackle The Root Of The Problem
Even though anxiety attacks feel like they are coming from nowhere, they often stem from deep-seated emotions or memories that you need to work through. With the help of anxiety counseling, you can figure out what the root cause of your anxiety is and work on ways to overcome it. Over time, you will experience fewer and fewer anxiety attacks, and perhaps one day in the future, you won’t have any at all.