Panic attacks feel awful and can also have the worst timing, popping up in the middle of work or during an important meeting. These sudden and extreme periods of fear and anxiety can mess with your mental health and derail the entirety of your day in just a couple of minutes. While panic attacks normally occur to people with panic disorders, they can also present themselves in people with other mental health issues, such as social anxiety or OCD.
The Huffington Post spoke with several experts on the matter and compiled a handful of tips and aids that’ll help you prevent and cope with panic attack symptoms:
Focus On Your Breathing Patterns
Focusing on your breathing is always a good way to remain calm, be that when you’re exercising, when you’re a little nervous, or when you feel like you’re about to have a panic attack. Danielle Forshee, a clinical social worker and psychologist, suggests diaphragmatic breathing, placing your hand on your stomach and chest and taking deep breaths through your nose while exhaling through your mouth. This strategy will tranquilize your body, lowering your heartbeat back to normal.
Concentrate On A Task
It’s very important to remember that panic attacks are temporary. A simple way to do this is to focus on the task at hand, and to avoid overt stress. Breathe deeply and carry on with your day.
Have A Walk
If concentrating on a task isn’t enough to calm you down, going for a walk and clearing your head might be more effective. Listening to music and moving can be a good way to remind you that you’re in control of your body and that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
Go To A Private Space
If you can’t calm down, try going to the bathroom and splashing some water on your face. Here, you’ll be more comfortable and won’t attract too much attention. Just try to get things under control and to remember that you’re ok.
Talk To Someone You Trust
Open up to someone you trust, who’ll offer validation and good advice. Dan Reidenberg, chair of the American Psychotherapy Association, believes that external sources can help you reframe what you’re experiencing and provide some perspective to your situation.