A panic attack can be a terrifying experience
If you, or someone you are with, has one, how can you help yourself or them?
A panic attack is a scary experience even when we have had one before and know that we came through it OK …….but the first experience of a panic attack is even more frightening because we don’t know that it will pass and we will be OK
Although a panic attack may seem to suddenly overwhelm us, our brain has sensed something that has triggered an anxious response … these triggers are varied and individual to the person experiencing the attack but is likely that the trigger is something that has happened in the past ….so the first thing to do if you feel yourself becoming anxious is to think about the present ….the moment… and recognise that NOW is different …..and focus on your breathing. Try belly breathing or talk the person experiencing the attack through the stages of belly breathing. The following video shows how to belly breathe.
This will help to focus the mind on the moment and help the muscles to relax rather than tense.
During a panic attack the body responds as it would if it was in great danger and the following physiological responses occur
- blood sugar levels increase
- eyes dilate
- start to perspire
- heart rate increases
- mouth can become dry
- muscles tense
- blood flow to the arms and legs decreases and pools in the head and trunk
These responses cause real physical effects such as irregular heart rate, light headedness, numbness or tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, chest pain and blurred vision which can be very frightening -but all of the above will be eased by belly breathing and focusing on the moment.
If you are helping someone else, keep calm yourself and reassure the person that they are not in danger and if they focus on breathing, the attack will pass.
If you feel you would like to work with a Life Coach to help alleviate anxiety, please give me a call for an initial chat on 07708238929