Having a panic attack? Some people report that it feels as though they’re having a heart attack or even dying. Dizziness, chest pain, sweating, shaking, nausea, and hyperventilating are just some of the typical symptoms along with losing control or your sense of reality.
Here are some tips that have helped me in the past when I feel the panic start to set in.
1. Try to recognize that you’re having a panic attack and you will be okay.
2. BREATHE – it has been proven through research studies at Southern Methodist University that you can reverse hyperventilation, which will help to calm you down. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, and then breathe out for 4 counts. Repeat once or twice.
3. If possible, lay on the ground and feel the solid Earth beneath you. It sounds silly, but it actually works, especially if you are like me and start to lose the sense of reality during a panic attack! If you are standing or sit- ting, do a full body scan. Identify and “feel” each body part starting at your toes and scanning up your body to your head.
4. Mentally list or write down 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Pop a little peppermint or gum into your mouth if you can’t taste anything. Focus on it.
5. Take a big drink of water. You could be dehydrated, and the act of drinking will help slow your breath.
After the panic subsides, write down where and when it occurred. Over time, you can reflect to see if the panic happens situationally. Was there something that triggered it? Did you have a poor night’s sleep the night prior? Identifying these situations can help prevent future panic attacks or at least help you to understand why they are happening.
These tips I have listed above are ways that have helped me. I am not a licensed medical professional but have been taught these steps from years of formal therapy. Always consult your doctor for any medical-related questions!
Julia Broglie is the founder and CEO of BroglieBox, an all-inclusive, gender-neutral, seasonal subscription box that delivers tools and resources for mental wellness in a way that feels warm, lighthearted, and fun. Julia was inspired to create BroglieBox after experiencing her own mental health challenges as a young adult and losing her older brother Justin to suicide when he was just 24. Justin’s passing inspired Julia to imagine a new way to deliver support and connection to those struggling with mental health challenges in today’s hectic, fast-paced and often impersonal world. BroglieBox has been featured in Forbes, goop, Thrive Global, Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper, The Mighty, and more.