Panic attacks are sudden and unexpected for those who do not regularly live with them. Panic disorder is a form of anxiety which causes regular experiences with panic attacks. Once you learn your personal warning signs of an impending panic attack, you can prepare for it using some of these tips.
4 Ways To Prepare For A Panic Attack
Change your posture: Research has found that the brain thinks differently when your body is slouched or slumped compared to when you are standing tall. Striking a powerful posture with your head held high and your chest up automatically makes your brain feel more powerful and confident as opposed to panicked and weak. Your panic attack might still come on, but you could lessen the effect. By lifting your chest and expanding your diaphragm you also create more room for oxygen flow. Breathing will help send more oxygen to your brain, which is relaxing.
Walk around: Panic is full of nervous energy which is surging throughout the body. Taking a long walk will help to move some of that energy and begin to distract your mind. You can focus on walking itself or the many things you see around you. As your brain is fighting intrusive thoughts about catastrophe or dying, which is what causes panic, you can stay focused on the present and your immediate surroundings, combatting the otherwise negative thinking.
Get wet: Water is a natural agent for creating connection and calm. You can connect with water in different ways depending on where you are when you feel your panic attack coming on. If you’re near a body of water, it would help to jump in a pool or the lake. Being submerged in water is naturally relaxing. If you aren’t near a body of water, try taking a shower or a bath. Again, being under the water or submerged in the water will help your body relax. If you are out and about without access to water in these ways, you can try something as simple as drinking cold water or splashing cold water on your face. The connection to the natural element will be healing and quickly bring you to the present.
Remember that it won’t last forever: Panic attacks generally last twenty to twenty five minutes, rarely more. You will feel a peak in your panic experience before it all starts unraveling back into a state of calm. At the height of panic, you might have thoughts that you are dying, losing your mind, or that something is going terribly wrong. Remember this experience won’t last forever and the panic will soon pass.
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Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | August 7, 2017