Panic attacks can be scary. In fact, some people describe a panic attack as the scariest experience one can have. It is when the body goes into flight mode and you start panicking. Panic attack symptoms can feel like you are having a heart attack, but such attacks do not harm your body. They are just a response to a trigger. You can feel light-headed and dizzy. Your heart can race, your palms can get sweaty and you can start hyperventilating. Everyone faces anxious situations in their lives and sometimes panic attacks are inevitable.
If you have an anxiety disorder, then panic attacks can occur for no reason. They can also occur because of a certain trigger. They can be very common or very rare, depending on a person’s extent of anxiety. There are a few things to keep in mind when you have a panic attack, and these can help you calm down.
Here are things to remember when you are having a panic attack:
It is NORMAL
Panic attacks are a normal bodily reaction to extreme anxiety or stress. They can happen to anyone anywhere. It is important to remember this and not blame yourself for having a panic attack. As soon as you tell your body that it is normal and everyone goes through it, you start to ease your symptoms.
Call someone you trust
If you feel like you are in a situation where you are having multiple panic attacks and want some help, then call someone that you trust and tell them what you are feeling. Talking to someone who understands you will slowly make your feelings subside as the person will try and help you calm down.
It will pass
Panic attacks can be a horrible experience but you have to remember that they will pass. Dr Neera S, based in Delhi, who has had a few panic attacks herself, told us:
“Panic attacks don’t usually last for more than 10 minutes. It may be an extreme feeling when it happens, but it goes away quickly”
Learn to breathe
When you are having a panic attack, it is important to remember to breathe in and out slowly, especially if you are hyperventilating. Having control over your breath will make you feel better. Once your breathing normalises, your state of panic goes away.
Focus on something positive
This is very hard to do in a situation where you are panicking. However, just like how Harry Potter thinks of his happiest memory when dementors are sucking his soul out — you need to learn to cast your own Patronus as well. Think of a good memory, or something positive that is about to happen and this will help your symptoms subside.
You are strong
Often people who have panic attacks think that they are weak for going through them. However, they are quite wrong. Dr Neera explains, “Once the body learns how to have a panic attack, it can occur again anytime. You have to be a very strong person to have gone through it and survived it. People think it makes them weak, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”.
Pic credits: Narkoz
Also read: Women Under More Stress Than Before: Let’s talk about Anxiety Disorders