How to Handle a Panic Attack: 11 Ways
Panic attacks often come on out of nowhere and can be very scary. While they usually last for only 5-20 minutes, during this time, you might experience sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, and even the feeling that you’ve lost control of your own body. 5-Minute Crafts is about to show you several simple techniques you can use to handle panic and anxiety better.
This article is for informative purposes only. Consult your doctor before trying any of the methods mentioned below.
1. Breathe deeply.
Hyperventilation (the condition when you start breathing very quickly) can increase anxiety and tension, so it’s crucial to take deep and slow breaths during a panic attack.
- Place a hand on your abdominal area.
- Take a deep breath in through your mouth for a count of 4 while feeling the air slowly filling your chest and belly.
- Hold it for a couple of seconds.
- Then breathe out, also through your mouth, for a count of 4.
- Breathe in this way until you feel better.
You can also try breathing into a paper bag if you have one on hand.
2. Splash your face with cold water.
Сold water can have a calming effect on you by slowing down your heart rate.
- Take a bowl filled with cold water and splash some right onto your face. Repeat if necessary.
3. Apply a cold compress.
If you’re in a public place and can’t actually splash water on your face, a cold compress might do the trick and help you to calm down.
- Take something cold (like a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, an ice pack, or even a bottle filled with cold water) and put it on your forehead or the back of your neck.
4. Close your eyes.
Closing your eyes will help you block out any extra stimuli from the outside world and concentrate on your breathing.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply until you feel better.
5. Choose an object to concentrate on.
Focusing on one particular thing can help you reduce other stimuli and calm down faster.
- Pick one object in clear sight and start mentally describing it as thoroughly as possible.
- Describe any patterns on it, its color, shape, and size. Think about how it feels, who made it, and anything else you can say about it, focusing all of your energy on this object.
6. Ground yourself.
Panic attacks can make you feel detached from reality, which is why it’s always helpful to ground yourself in the present moment.
- Notice 5 different things you can see around you, thinking about each of them for some time.
- Find 4 different sounds you can hear right now and concentrate on each of them for some time.
- Touch 3 different objects and think of their texture, temperature, and shape.
- Identify 2 different smells and find out if they trigger any memories or feelings in you.
- Taste 1 thing. This could be a piece of candy from your pocket or even your own fingertip.
7. Relax your muscles.
When you feel anxiety, your muscles usually tense up. But if your mind feels that your body is getting relaxed, it will calm down as well.
- Try to relax each muscle of your body, starting from your toes and slowly moving your way up through your entire body to the neck and face.
8. Put your head between your knees.
This method will help you increase the blood flow to your head if you’re feeling faint or dizzy during a panic attack.
- Sit down on a chair and put your head between your knees.
- Continue sitting in this position for a few minutes, slowly breathing in and out.
9. Stand up tall.
Straightening your spine will help you breathe more deeply by releasing your diaphragm.
- Once you feel a panic attack coming on, stand up and straighten your spine as much as you can.
- If you can’t stand up right now, at least try to sit up straight.
10. Use the H.A.L.T. technique.
H.A.L.T. stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. This trick can help you find out any possible triggers of your panic attack.
- When your symptoms pop up, ask yourself the following questions: Am I hungry? Am I angry? Am I lonely? Am I tired?
- Once you realize the real reason for your panic attack, you can do something to stop it.
11. Inhale lavender.
Lavender essential oil can help you relieve anxiety and calm down your mind.
- Take a bottle of the oil and apply a few drops of it to your wrists.
- Then breathe in the scent of the oil.