A panic attack can be really scary, especially if it’s happening to you for the first time. But no matter what the case might be, there’s no such thing as getting used to a panic attack. Well, research has been made over the years and it has been found that there are actually certain ways that you could handle panic attacks at the instant they occur, though it might be a bit challenging, considering the fact that you’re scared out of your mind, but then again, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
Panic attacks occur when your adrenaline glands fill your body with adrenaline response. Adrenaline causes the heart to pump extra blood. This extra blood gets pumped into your major muscles to increase your ability to run fast and to increase the strength in your arms. Extra blood also goes into your brain to give you heightened abilities to respond to the emergency.
It takes three minutes from the time that your brain sends the emergency signal until your body is fully adrenalated with extra blood in your large arm and leg muscles and in your brain. In that three minute period, you experience your heart pumping hard and extra blood flowing throughout your body. As long as your adrenal glands keep getting an emergency message, they continue to produce and release additional adrenaline. Once your brain stops signaling an emergency, your adrenal glands hold the adrenaline instead of releasing it.
Follow the following steps if you’re faced with one of these attacks. They are really simple steps to follow and will save you a whole lot of future complications.
Stop negative thinking
This is simply done by channeling your thoughts into more positive things, try as hard as possible not thinking of anything negative at all. Put at instant stop to any negative thoughts rushing through your brain, thereby stopping the emergency message that your brain is sending to your adrenaline glands. Often, people having a panic attack get into an endless loop repeating the same catastrophic thoughts over and over in their head. Interrupting this endless loop gives you the opportunity to replace the scary message with a calming one.
Relax and breathe
Most people might see this as unnecessary, but it is the first and most important step of dealing with the panic attack right on the spot. When you feel short of breath, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting enough air. In fact, people will often say “I can’t catch my breath”, and this shows that they’re getting air, because we talk by making air vibrate. If you’re talking, you’re breathing! It’s not a dangerous symptom. But it does get people very scared, and it produces other uncomfortable physical symptoms, so it’s worth your while to be able to correct it.
You’ve probably already had it told to you, and you’ve probably also read it as well, that what you need to do is “take a deep breath”. If you’re like most people, that advice hasn’t helped you much. It is good advice, but it’s incomplete. It doesn’t tell you how to take a deep breath. A good breathing exercise should tell you how to take a deep breath. It is very simple, the only thing that you’re missing is exhaling. The reason why you’re finding it hard to breathe is because you’re not exhaling. Handle that, and breathing shouldn’t be a problem when you get these attacks.
Now that you’ve done away with the negative thoughts, the next thing you would want to do is to start making positive statements. For example, if you feel like you’re having a heart attack, which is always the case in most cases, the normal thing that will come to your mind to say is “ Oh my, I’m having a heart attack, or “I’m going to die, or “HELP! HELP! After you’ve stopped yourself from thinking negatively, make loud statements like “Oh I know I’m having a panic attack and it’s just going to last for some minutes, and that’s it” or if you could just say “I’ve been through worst, I can go through this and come out strong”. Keep repeating these statements until the attack finally subsides.
Though it’s true that panic attacks can be really scary when they occur, it is beneficial that you learn how to tackle it when it occurs. Control your breathing, try breathing out more. Stop thinking negatively entirely and try putting focus on making more encouraging statements in that situation.
Image courtesy of: malibuvista.com, patriciaolaughlinpsychotherapy