Did you know that anxiety disorder affects about 40 million adults in the US?
Many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives. A sudden surge in feelings of panic, heart palpitations, and racing thoughts can be overwhelming without warning. Existing stressors in your life can prompt a panic attack at any time.
If you suffer from frequent panic attacks, there are steps you can take to prepare for the next one. You don’t have to endure the entire episode unprepared.
Read on to find out how to stop a panic attack before it escalates.
Understand the Symptoms
Familiarize yourself with the physical and emotional symptoms often preceding an anxiety attack. These may include rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, sweating, trembling, and a sense of impending doom. Recognizing these early signs can help you take action.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises are an excellent tool to calm your nervous system. It alleviates anxiety. When you notice the initial signs of anxiety, focus on your breath.
Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to four, and then exhale through your mouth for a count of four. Repeat this deep breathing pattern several times until you feel more relaxed.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Negative thought patterns and catastrophic thinking often trigger panic attacks. Challenge these negative thoughts by asking yourself if there is evidence to support those thoughts. Replace negative thoughts with positive and realistic affirmations to reframe your thinking.
Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Engage in mindfulness exercises or breathing techniques. Do progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or guided imagery. These practices can help you stay grounded and reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Incorporating these techniques into your daily routine can provide long-term benefits to prevent panic attacks.
Establish a Self-Care Routine
Prioritize self-care activities that promote emotional well-being. Ensure you get enough sleep, maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and engage in activities you enjoy.
If you find yourself drinking to relieve stress, try other alternative options which can be helpful. Exercise, take a walk to get fresh air, or engage in a creative activity. You can draw or write, it can help release the body’s tension and feelings of anxiety.
Taking care of your physical and mental health can reduce anxiety levels. It can make you more resilient to triggers.
Identify and Avoid Triggers
Pay attention to situations, environments, or substances that trigger your anxiety. Knowing your triggers can help you make proactive choices to avoid exposure.
Examples of triggers include caffeine, crowded spaces, or certain social situations. If avoidance is not possible, develop coping strategies to manage your anxiety.
Seek Professional Support
If panic attacks persist and significantly impact your daily life, seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and teach you coping techniques. They will help you explore the underlying causes of your anxiety. In some cases, people who experience panic attacks sometimes think that they are also having a psychotic break. A mental health practitioner would be able to explain to you what is a psychotic break and how it differs from a panic attack.
They may also suggest cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other evidence-based interventions to address panic disorder.
Know How to Stop a Panic Attack Today
Experiencing a panic attack can be overwhelming and scary. Take proactive steps such as deep breathing and reconnecting with reality. You can also use positive self-talk or seek help from a professional.
This can help break the cycle of panic and reduce your stress levels. If you or a loved one are struggling with panic attacks, don’t hesitate to contact mental health professionals. Learn how to stop a panic attack.
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