Panic attacks can be very frightening and terrifying. It can cause increased heart beat with going weak on the knees. So how do you calm down from a panic attack? Let us understand about this in detail.
How Do You Calm Down From A Panic Attack?
Panic attack may last for a short span of time but it can leave a long lasting feeling of being uneasy and uncomfortable. If you are worried about how do you calm down from a panic attack, you need to consider the related factors and your own responses to them.
In order to overcome a panic attack, it is important to understand the panic attack and train your mind to accept the attack and respond in a calm way. Training the mind involves responding in a manner that is acceptable and that does not worsen the situation. Behavior therapy and breathing training helps to reduce hyperventilation and is an important part of reducing symptoms of panic attacks. This is one of the effective ways to calm down from a panic attack.1
It is important to note that if a particular strategy does not solve the problem it is probably not doing any good and a different strategy should be looked for.
Here are some of the steps to follow to calm down from a panic attack. These can also be called as AWARE steps, with each step being valuable in providing relief.
- A – Acknowledge and accept
- W –Wait and watch (and maybe, Work)
- A – Actions to make yourself more comfortable
- R – Repeat
- E – End
Acknowledge and Accept:
It is important to train the mind to acknowledge and accept the situation they are in. The situation cannot be changed and it is important to accept that. For example, if a person experiences headache, the fact cannot be reversed or changed. It is important to accept it that the headache is going to linger for some while. It is important to acknowledge that a headache is there and patiently look for logical ways to manage it rather than panicking over it. Other strategies involve understanding why the situation has occurred and taking steps in future to avoid the situation. While physical complaints are easily accepted, complaints arising out of emotional upsets may be difficult to accept. Hence, about panic attacks, it is necessary to first understand and accept that there is a concern that demands attention.
Wait and Watch:
One of the main causes of panic attack is that it shuts the ability to think and make rational decision. If a situation arises which is likely to trigger panic attack it is important to sit down, breathe and wait. This gives the mind to stay calm and stay in control. Slow counting from 1 to 10 or reverse is known to be very helpful in staying calm.
Waiting stops you from jumping into actions which may worsen the condition. This is one of the most accepted ways to calm down from a panic attack. Another way to stay calm is by watching or observing the situation. You may use panic dairies to record your emotions and actions. These diaries contain a set of questions about the scenario you may be in. Answering these questions when a panic attack is anticipated can help in distracting the mind and also calms the body. The mind is tricked into believing that you are the observer rather than being the victim. Reading the diary later can help in training the mind to avoid or ignore the situation in future. If writing is not practically possible at the moment, recording a conversation with self can be helpful.
In most of the cases, by this step, most of the condition is under control. It is important to make yourself understand that no matter what the triggering situation is, it will come to an end. However, it is important to stay composed during this period. Some of the actions can help you calm down from a panic attack.
Some of the techniques advised by experts are listed below:
Belly Breathing. Medically this is known as the diaphragmatic breathing. This exercise involves deep breathing which helps in providing oxygenation to the body. The exact way to do this breathing is inflating the belly during breathing in and not raising the chest and while breathing out, first contracts the belly and then exhale the air.
Talking to Yourself. Talking to yourself not only distracts the mind but also keeps you busy till an acceptable situation is attained. A question and answer conversation is the best sort of conversation here.
Staying in the Present. Panic attack usually occurs when the person starts imagining the consequences the present situation will have in the future, which may not actually happen. It is important to stay focused on the current situation rather than thinking over what will happen next.
Working with your Body. Panic attack often causes muscle tension and increased heartbeat. When a panic attack occurs, calming exercises such as meditation can help a lot in easing the muscles. Also, physical exercises can help keep muscles relaxed and ease them thus offering greater relief.
It is not unusual to calm down for a while and go back to square one. In such cases, it is recommended to start over the process from first step again. Repeat it over and over again till you feel better and you are in control of your body, mind and soul.
This is the last but the most important step. It is important to train the brain that no matter how bad the situation is the panic attack will eventually end. The brain should tell itself to hang on till it gets over. Once the panic attack is over say ‘it’s over’ to yourself for the end assurance. This will help you control a panic attack in future much more efficiently.
How do you calm down from a panic attack, ultimately depends on you. These are just some of the strategies to help you. If the panic attack occurs frequently, it is essential to meet a psychologist or counsellor. They will be able to further guide you as to why a panic attack is happening and how to handle it. At times, medicines might also be necessary to control the anxiety and panic attack, which is best advised by a psychiatrist.