Having a panic attack is nobody’s idea of fun. Suddenly your heart will begin to race and pound as though it’s about to break out of your chest. You may well find that you begin to sweat profusely. Your mind will wander and you’ll think of all the worst things that can possibly happen.
Your vision will start to become blurry and focussed to the point that you can’t see what’s going on around you. Eventually, this will eat into the center of your vision and that’s when the risk of collapsing gets real.
You’ll breathe quickly, you’ll feel sick, you may vomit and if you pass out then it can be very dangerous or at least embarrassing.
But don’t worry. Firstly: this is a condition that will affect one-third of people at some point in their lives. And for almost everyone, it is a phase that passes. It’s all a matter of learning to control the panic and attacks and to do that, you simply have to recognize the symptoms and know what to do with them.
In this post, we’ll take a look at 10 proven strategies that can help.
One of the most notable changes that occur in your body when a panic attack strikes is what happens with your breathing. You’ll find that your breathing becomes very rapid and shallow, which is a result of your sympathetic nervous system taking over. Your body thinks it is in danger, and as such, it is trying to provide you with as much oxygen as possible.
This then sends signals back to your body to say that, seeing as you’re breathing a lot, you must be in danger. Your physiology is reinforcing itself.
So you need to control your breathing and get it back to normal, which will stimulate your vagal nerve in order to engage the parasympathetic nervous system again.
Try to slow down your breathing then and to keep it calm and rhythmic. Better yet, try to use the military technique known as ‘box breathing’. Here, you breathe in slowly for the count of four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out slowly for four seconds, and then hold for another four seconds.