Panic attacks is the result of fear or anxiety in response to extreme stress or danger sensed by the body. Fast heartrate, palpitations, sweating, choking, shaking, dizziness, tingling, chills are just some of symptoms we may experience when we have panic attacks.

Recently to someone I know asked me about panic attacks. Not long ago they began to experience them, so they asked me to share some tips about how to cope.

Here are the tips I shared.

1. Grounding technique.

This technique is great because it involves all 5 senses and helps us to focus on something other than our symptoms, so we begin to fell calmer sooner.

Notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.

2. Breathe.

Practice square breathing. It is a powerful tool that can help not only during panic attacks but in any stressful situation as well. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for another 4, breathe out for 4 and, finally, hold for 4 more counts. Repeat 3 times.

3. Count.

Count slowly. Count backwards. Start from 100 at intervals of 3. 100, 97, 94… (or chose your own interval number). This helps to switch the focus from the panic attack. By counting in 3s (or whatever number you choose) you send a message to the brain saying that you are calm, there is no danger., otherwise counting in 3s (or whatever number you chose) would not be possible.

4. Use ice cubes. This is a good technique because it distracts us from the symptoms of the attack. Instead of concentrating on them, our attention will be on the feeling of coldness on the skin and discomfort it brings. This will minimise the attack and help to get rid of it quicker. Take a couple of ice cubes in your hands and hold them for a while.

Although panic attacks are terrifying, they are quite common. There is no need to be ashamed of them. If you need to talk about them or other problems with a professional, get in touch and let’s see how I can help.
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