Here’s How to Handle an Anxiety Attack
Panic attacks can come in many forms. From sudden outbursts to controlled despair, there are a variety of ways in which an anxiety attack manifests itself. Unfortunately, around 6 million American adults live with a panic disorder. These attacks can be triggered by a certain situation, feeling, or nothing at all. If you are unsure of what triggers it, there may be no definitive way to prevent the attacks, but there are some ways to handle one effectively.
Change your thinking. It’s easier said than done, but simply changing your thinking can turn the panic attack around. When you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack, it’s easy to let your thoughts consume you, and the body can respond in the same way it would if it was in danger. Tell yourself that you’re okay – even if you don’t feel like it. Remind yourself that this has happened before and that it does end. Thinking calmly and walking yourself through it will prevent getting wound up.
Try a relaxation exercise. When your body has an intense response, you want to calm it down. Practice the technique of squeezing your hands together tightly and then letting go, noticing the change between tightness and ease. Doing so will shift your mind’s focus and will help you to start to relax the rest of your muscles.
Control your breathing. Anxiety attacks can cause rapid breaths and dizziness. A guided meditation or mindfulness exercise can help regulate your response, and it gives the mind something to focus on rather than the panic itself.
Keep track of what makes you anxious. Over the course of a day, chart your anxiety. If you can find a pattern with how you’re feeling, you may be able to pinpoint what it is that is causing your panic attacks so that you can stop the attacks in their tracks or at least reduce their severity.