How to stop panic attacks in five steps

Most people will experience at least one panic attack in their life, often brought on by a frightening experience. However, some people suffer from panic attacks on a daily basis. Quite frankly, panic attacks are horrendous! They make you feel terrified, vulnerable and they can be completely debilitating.

Here are five really simple and effective steps on how you can manage, remove, reduce or stop your panic attacks entirely in their tracks.

Panic attacks are symptomatic behaviours generated by your internal protection mechanism; your fight or flight response that allows you in situations of danger to fight, flight or freeze. Some symptoms might include; rapid heart rate, numbness in legs and arms, dry mouth, sweating, needing to go to the toilet, feeling disorientated or absolutely terrified. The fact is if you are having a panic attack you have linked your fight or flight mechanism to the wrong thing. Therefore, it is only a perceived danger and not a real danger.

Here are 5 steps to help:

  1. Appreciate that you have engaged you body’s internal protection mechanism. Don’t fight it, thank it.
  2. Change your terminology. Terminology has a huge impact on how you feel. Instead of using the word ‘panic’ which in itself is a really emotive word that will take you to another level of emotion, say it for what it actually is and that is your body trying to protect you. So instead of panic attack, try protection attack.
  3. Take a look around and ask yourself the question; “Where is the danger and what danger am I in right now?”
  4. Once you have looked around and realised that there is no real danger, the next thing to do is to assure yourself, firstly, there is no danger and secondly, you have had a protection attack before and you survived it, and you will survive this protection attack too.
  5. Trace your negative feelings and turn them in the opposite direction. You will notice that when you have a protection attack those negative feelings will usually emanate from your stomach and come up to your mouth. Trace those feelings with your hands until you get the rhythm and the speed, and when you feel like you have got that turn them in the opposite direction and then slow them down. By doing that, you will get control of those feelings and they will start to diminish.

For more help on easily overcoming panic attacks, check out our Grounding Techniques.

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