What to do when you’re having a panic attack

Your hearts racing out your chest but for no reason. Heat is rising through your body. You feel like the world is actually closing around you. In fact, this might be you dying.

If you’ve experienced those feelings, then you’ve had a panic attack. Panic attacks can rise out of nowhere and are often a way of our body outletting anxiety. The human body hasn’t caught up with modern day yet and therefore we still have our caveman “fight or flight” ready at all times. We are always ready with adrenaline to run away from a lion. But what if you’re just on the bus and this kicks in?

Here’s what to do when you’re having a panic attack-

Now first of all, I’m not a professional but with 10 years of suffering from panic attacks, I seemed to have worked out what works for me and what doesn’t.

1). Acknowledge what is going on- The first step is to remind your mind and body that everything IS okay and you are NOT dying. Despite the physical symptoms you are feeling, remember it’s just a panic attack. Remember that your mind and body are connected so tell your inner self there is no need for a reaction right now. This is step one.

2). Use an “ocean breath”– Now the supposed way to overcome a panic attack is to take deep breaths, but personally, this only leads to more panic and makes me feel light headed. The real way to help your breathing it to use an “ocean breath”. This is where you constrict the back of your throat and make a noise as if you are very quietly snoring. It’s something I learned in yoga and it really helps to bring my mind and body back to the ground. If you research “ocean breath” you will find lots of information on it. I hope this works for you too.

3). Distract your mind with something completely different- When having a panic attack it can be really easy to think about everything bad in the world that makes you panic. You catastrophise everything and think of anything and everything bad that could happen. It’s important that you stop this. Try to think about something different that you can get your mind into. Think about your favourite day out. Where would you go? What would the weather be like? Who would you go with? What would you eat in the day? Or something which I often do is think about what presents I’ll get people for Christmas. It’s random but it means I’m thinking deeply about something completely unrelated to panic. It’s a type of mindfulness and for me, it really helps.

4). Think rationally about your next steps– For me, one thing which would trigger my panic attacks was the tube. Being underground on a train and knowing I couldn’t just run off when I needed to was my worst nightmare. So I would think rationally about what was next.

Okay, so my next stop is ….. after that there are only 2 left. After that I will walk off and be in the fresh air. If things get really bad, I can get off the next stop and walk.

Another scenario. You are in a meeting and start having a panic attack.

So I have 15 minutes left. That’s okay. After that I can leave and get on with my day. If things get worse in the next 2 minutes, it’s okay because I can leave, I am in control. If anything bad did happen there are people here to help.

As hard as it is at the time, try to BE as RATIONAL as you possibly can. You will slowly find yourself feeling less panicked.

5). Look after yourself for the next 10 minutes– Remember your body has just gone through a lot. Get a glass of water, sit down and just compose yourself for a few minutes. Don’t waste your breath talking/explaining yourself. Don’t get your heart rate up again for no reason. Just take 5 minutes to sit and be calm. This is key.❤️

So there’s my 5 steps on how to cope with a panic attack. Please remember that there is not always a reason for a panic attack, it just happens. So don’t waste your time worrying about how and why it happened. Look after yourself and please try to go through my 5 steps. Also whoever is suffering with this right now, please understand that it gets better. It has done for me and it will do for you. Thanks for reading and lots of love.🤍

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