4 Techiniques to Overcome Panic Attack

A panic attack is a sudden and intense fear, and anxiety manifested in both physiological symptoms and psychological thoughts. Common symptoms are palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, sweating, numbness, and trembling. People could have specific thoughts, such as feelings of losing control, choking, and detachment. These symptoms are usually come out the blue, and they can last for minutes.


Lots of research has shown that panic attacks are the sympathetic nervous system’s false alarm, triggering a fight-or-flight response. This evolutionary response is responsible for people’s survival in dangerous situations, causing people to have racing heartbeat and anxiety. It is so frightening that some people become consistently afraid of having another panic attack. Here are some tips for you to manage the panic attack.


1. Accept it and remember it will pass soon


Don’t try to fight the anxiety, accept it, and remember it will pass within minutes. Force yourself to continue doing things you are doing now rather than temporarily setting aside work in progress and focus on the sensations and feelings. Remember, panic attacks neither cause physical harm nor drawing people crazy. However, this acceptance-based approach needs time and practice. Even though it is a slow process, it does help.


2. Take a deep breath


The principle of this method of overcoming panic attacks is putting the brakes on the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for slowing down all of those symptoms and calming you down. Taking several deep breaths are used to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system.


Panic attacks can cause people to have rapid breathing. When a panic attack is coming, take several deep breaths. You can use the 4-7-8 breathing technique to relax. Here is the breathing pattern:


--Firstly, exhaling completely through your mouth to empty your lung and making a “woosh” sound.

--Secondly, inhaling silently through your nose and count to 4.

--Thirdly, holding the breath for 7 seconds.

--Fourthly, exhaling completely through your mouth and make a “woosh” sound for 8 seconds.


This breathing technique is proved to be useful in reducing anxiety and stress. If you cannot hold long breath and follow the technique, try the 2-3.5-4 breathing pattern instead.


3. Use ice


Hold an ice cube or sink your face into the ice water. These techniques can help you distract your attention from your physical symptoms and awful thoughts and focus on the discomfort. They relieve the rapid heart beating symptom. People who have a panic attack might feel detached from reality. Noticing this uncomfortable sensation will ground yourself and get rid of the dissociative feelings.


4. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 method


The feeling of detachment or depersonalization is one of the common symptoms of a panic attack. They may feel that they are leaving their physical body and observing it at a distance. They may have a feeling that people and objects around them suddenly start to seem unreal and unfamiliar. 5-4-3-2-1 is a grounding technique to help people notice the 5 sensations and get back to reality. Grounding is a mindfulness concept to help people get back to reality and be aware of the here and now. Here are the instructions to follow:


--Lookout 5 things you can see and name them out loud. For example, you can say “I see a pen, I see my cup, I see a table, I see a window, and I see an apple.”

--Look around and think of 4 things you can feel and name them loud. For example, you can say “I feel the chair I am sitting on, I feel the air is blowing, I feel the slippers I am standing on, and I feel the hair on my face.”

--Listen for 3 sounds and name them loud. For example, you can say “I hear my dog’s barking, I hear the birds singing, and I hear an airline flying by.”

--Identity 2 different smells and name them loud. For example, you can say “I smell my mom’s cooking, and I smell the rose fragrance.”

--Taste 1 thing you can taste. It can be your favourite candy or chewing gum.


Panic attacks can be scary. Learning to accept it and mastering these techniques can help you overcome them!

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