Living with panic attacks is incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, panic attacks are self-sustaining, and very difficult to cure on their own. That's why so many people seek medical help or psychological intervention, because it can be hard to stop panic attacks any other way.
But there are panic attack self help tips that can potentially stop you from experiencing further panic attacks, and while sometimes additional help is necessary, these tips alone can help some people stop their anxiety altogether.
Comprehensive Self Help for Panic Attacks
While these individual tips are valuable, there are more comprehensive ways to cure panic attacks and keep them from coming back. Find out more by taking my free 7 minute anxiety test.
How to Get Started
The following are several valuable tips for getting the self-help you need for your panic attacks. However, these don't represent comprehensive strategies. Rather they're individual tools that you can use to control your panic. If you want a more comprehensive strategy, make sure you take my anxiety test now.
Beginning Tips - Things to Know
The goal of this is to show some of the more valuable ways to prevent anxiety on your own. But there are of course the basic tips - tips that are important for reducing panic. For example:
- Face Fears It's very important that you don't let panic attacks stop you from anything. If you run away from places that cause panic attacks or withdraw after them you reinforce the panic attacks and possibly make them worse.
- Sleep Sleep may seem like silly, easy advice, but for panic attacks it is especially important. Sleep renews the body's neurotransmitters which are important for preventing panic, and a lack of sleep has a tendency to cause physical symptoms that trigger panic attacks.
- Exercise Exercise releases positive feeling neurotransmitters in the brain that improve mood, and reduce muscle tension in a way that can prevent triggers. Exercise and long term jogging have been tested against some anxiety medications and shown to be as good or better.
So these basic tips may seem easy and simple, but they are more important than you may realize and few people with panic attacks actually follow them. Make sure you do. Still, if you're looking for better strategies, the following are helpful self help tips for fighting panic attacks.
Exposure to Triggers
The first is exposing yourself to panic attack triggers. Panic attacks are often triggered by different physical sensations - most of which are similar to the ones that occur during a panic attack, and in some people create a rush of anxiety that a panic attack is incoming.
But if you expose yourself to those triggers on purpose, you can start to reduce the amount of anxiety you feel when they occur, because you'll be more used to them. For example:
- Nausea - Spin in a chair.
- Chest Pains and Trouble Breathing - Hyperventilate on purpose.
- Rapid Heartbeat - Drink lots of coffee (if possible).
Some of these can be unhealthy for those that have asthma, breathing problems, etc., so always talk to your doctor before you try any of them. But by exposing yourself to the feelings that trigger panic for long enough, you can eventually prevent anxiety from flowing when you do experience them.
Breathing issues cause most of the worst panic attack symptoms. When you have anxiety, your body has a tendency to breathe faster and less efficiently. Your body is preparing to run away, but since you never run that preparation causes you to breathe out more carbon dioxide than you create, creating what's known as "hyperventilation."
Hyperventilation causes some of the worst panic attack symptoms, including:
- Chest pains
- Difficulty Breathing
- Feelings of Faint
- Muscle Weakness
Unfortunately, hyperventilation also tends to make someone feel like they aren't getting enough air, rather than not getting enough carbon dioxide, so they tend to breathe faster and deeper instead of slower and calmer.
That's why it's so important to try to breathe better when you have panic attacks. You need to slow down your breathing as much as possible, while still creating a controlled breath. Try to take as long as 15 seconds for each breath, 4 breaths per minute. Take 5 seconds to breathe in through your nose, hold for about 2 seconds, and then breathe out slowly for 7 seconds through your lips like you're whistling.
You can't generally stop hyperventilation when it starts, but you can reduce the severity of it. Any time you notice hyperventilation symptoms occurring, make sure you start taking these breaths.
Panic attacks tend to occur because people become too "in their own head." They monitor their whole body, they let their thoughts run wild, and they withdraw and let their anxieties go out of control. The less you're in your own head, the easier it is to control your panic.
But for many, getting out of your head is easier said than done. You need activities that are effective for making sure you don't let your mind take control of you. Some ideas that work include:
- Calling Someone Calling someone on the phone, especially while going for a short walk, can be very helpful. It's hard to talk to someone on the phone and still be in your own head, and if you're going for a walk at the same time you can get your blood moving and breathe more efficiently. Immediately call someone when you feel an attack coming on and you'll be much less likely to have a severe attack.
- Doing a Puzzle Puzzles, especially if you can do them with someone else, are also valuable ways to distract your mind. Doing a puzzle can be very difficult if you don't get out of your own head, so being involved in one can be beneficial.
- Positive Technology Some people also find that surrounding yourself with positive technology can be very helpful. By positive technology, we're talking about things that make you feel happy, not sad or stressed. This includes upbeat music, funny and light hearted TV shows, humorous podcasts, and more, while also staying away from anything that could cause stress. Normally technology can increase anxiety, but if you surround yourself with it, it can be enough of a mental distraction that your panic attacks may decrease overall.
These aren't perfect strategies, but spending time with friends and talking as much as possible while also doing healthy activities is a great way to make sure that you can't spend too much time lost in your own thoughts, which can decrease the severity of any of your panic attacks.
Fighting Panic Attacks With Self Help
These are some possible strategies that can help you get through your panic attack issues. While they're by no means perfect, they can give you a better opportunity to keep your panic attacks from being too severe.
Still, the best thing you can do to stop your panic attacks is to take my free 7 minute anxiety test today. This test will provide you with valuable information on what can be used to stop your panic attack symptoms.