What are Panic Attacks and How to Prevent Them?

Don’t panic! The phrase which we have heard so many times, at our home, before some important gathering, event, office presentation, project submission, etc. it’s not the phrase that sent a shiver down our spine, it’s the feeling of intense anxiety and fear we experience followed by expecting some actual danger. These feelings can influence us to react in a potentially unsafe and out of control manner that could be harmful to us. Those kinds of situations inhibit our ability to think rationally.

What is a Panic Attack?

A Panic Attack is sudden episodes of intense anxiety, panic, and fear that trigger several irrational, uncontrollable physical reactions from us when there is no actual danger.  The experience is very frightening. A person totally loses control during a panic attack, it feels like they are hyperventilating or having a heart attack or even dying.
Other symptoms include heavy breathing, trembling, sweating profusely and abnormally rapid heartbeats. Many people experience just a couple of panic attacks in their entire lifetime and the feeling vanished when the stressful situation ends. But if you are experiencing these conditions repetitively and possess a fear for your next panic attack, you may be suffering from a condition called Panic Disorder.

Though panic attacks are not in any way fatal or life-threatening, they, however, affect the quality of life you are living and thus a frightful condition. On the brighter side, you can effectively prevent them.

Symptoms of Panic Attack

In order to prevent a panic attack, you have to first identify the symptoms of the panic attacks. Panic attacks can strike at any time and anywhere leaving a feeling of worn out and fatigue afterward.

The symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Rapid, pounding heartbeat
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Headache
  • Tingling sensation or numbness
  • Dizziness, faintness or light-headedness
  • A feeling of detachment or unreality
  • A sense of impending danger or doom
  • Fear of loss of control or death
  • Hot flashes
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea

How to Prevent Panic Attacks?

  1. Take Deep Breaths: If you have a feeling of a panic attack, you should take deep breaths to dissolve the hyperventilating effects of panic attacks. If you take deep breaths, you’ll be able to control your anxiety level effectively and stop your panic attack from getting worse. Focus on your breathing, inhale deeply from your mouth, hold for a second and exhale slowly from the same.
  2. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness will alert you of the reality since panic attacks will give a sense of detachment or unreality, this will help you in keeping your adversity under control. Focus on something, like the feeling of your hairs, or a pen in your hand, those things will keep you grounded and prevent you from losing the sense of reality.
  3. Find a Point of Focus: It would be really helpful if you find a single object to focus all of your attention on during the panic attack. It’s really simple, pick one object which is fairly visible to your sight and keenly note everything about it. Focus all your extra energy on that specific object and your panic attack will subside.
  4. Do Lighter Exercises: Endorphins are necessary to keep the blood pumping the right way in our body and as we all know exercise will help you in releasing endorphins in our bloodstreams, this exercise can be very helpful in diluting the panic attack. Also, endorphin is known as ‘mood-enhancing’ hormone. Try doing light exercise at the time of your panic attack like walking or swimming etc.
  5. Imagine Your Happy Place: Think of the most relaxing place you want to go to. It could be anything a sandy beach, a spa or in green valleys. Imagine yourself to be there enjoying the tranquillity of your surroundings, dive in as many details as you can and soon you’ll find yourself readily distracted from your panic attack.

All these tips will help you in averting your panic attack and you’ll soon find yourself calmly searching the solution for the situation you are dreading.

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