Managing Panic Attacks

Anyone who has ever suffered a panic attack is very well familiarized with the fear and anguish it can cause. While medication is one method used to help patients cope with this condition, there are other useful techniques that can help in managing panic attacks. Learning how to manage panic attacks is no easy task, but the effort and time you invest is well worth it in the end. These are some of the ways of managing panic attacks:

Breathing Techniques

There are many different types of breathing techniques available, but one in particular seems to work the best. This breathing method is called “pursed lip breathing.” In order to properly practice this breathing method you will first need to exhale through your mouth until you have emptied all of the air from your lungs. Next, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through the mouth (as if you are blowing birthday candles). Repeat the steps until you feel calmer and have a clear thought process. As simple as this coping mechanism may sound, it has the potential to prevent a panic attack from occurring. How? Most people do not breathe properly (or at all) when faced with a stressful or frightening situation. This causes carbon dioxide to build up in your body, thus leading to physical symptoms such as heart palpitations and shortness of breath. By controlling your breathing, you are then able to prevent these attacks from fully developing.

Rebuild Your Thoughts

Panic attacks are often times self-induced with negative thoughts and a wild imagination. One way of rebuilding your thoughts to prevent a panic attack is to use the imagination you already have to make the situation more positive. If you find yourself in a vulnerable situation, it is helpful if you immediately begin to imagine things that make you calm and content. Some people find it soothing to think about sceneries in nature such as lakes, forests, oceans, etc.

Another approach to this technique includes substituting negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, if you start telling yourself ‘what if this happens’, or ‘what if I do not do well’, force yourself to say positive things like ‘I know I will do well’, or ‘I am sure nothing bad will happen’. These thoughts will help boost your confidence and maintain you calm.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

In order to cope with panic attacks in the long-run, it is helpful if you integrate relaxation techniques into your life. There are different styles of meditation, and it is essential that you find one that works for you. In general, relaxation techniques include; visualization exercises, breathing techniques, and sensation focusing.

If learning how to manage panic attacks is too difficult to do on your own, acquiring professional help is advised. Panic attacks can be very difficult to overcome, but with the appropriate support and guidance, becoming panic attack-
free is possible.

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