Feeling panic about things that are beyond our plans may make sense. Let's say missed an important file even though had to make a presentation, suddenly the car breaks down in the middle of the road, or when phone is left in a public place. When the problem has been resolved, the feeling of panic usually slowly subsides, but what if the feeling of panic you experience appears suddenly and triggers a very intense feeling of fear and anxiety?
Frequent panic attacks are characterized by a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, muscle tension or tremors that appear suddenly and can occur at any time, whether during activity. This condition certainly disrupts a person's quality of life, according to the American Psychological Association around 1 in 75 people are at risk of experiencing panic attacks, its more often found in adults because of the many changes they face.
How to deal with panic attacks?
Until now, the cause is still difficult to know exactly, however this occurs because parts of the brain and nervous system misinterpret a movement or sensation, as a result the movement or sensation is considered a threat, resulting in a panic response.
Behind that, there is a family history of panic disorder, suffering from mental problems such as depression, or have experienced a traumatic event, often doing strenuous activities that drain your energy and mental health are several factors that are considered to be associated with an increased risk of panic attacks.
1. Seek support from close people
The first thing to do if this happens when you are with friends or family, ask them to help you and tell them what you feel honestly, the goal is to feel more calm. That way they will reassure you that the symptoms of a panic attack will soon end
2. Control your breathing
Panic attacks can cause shortness of breath, making it difficult for oxygen to enter the brain, therefore adjust your breathing to be slower and more regular. You can breathe slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth or better yet you can do the 478 breathing technique by taking a deep breath in 4 counts, holding it for 7 counts and exhaling slowly for 8 counts.
You can do it while closing your eyes to make it more calm or you can also stomp your feet to help regulate the breathing process. Not only to relieve panic attacks, you can also do this exercise regularly to prevent panic attacks.
3. Do muscle relaxation techniques
Each person may have different triggers for panic attacks, in addition to regulating your breathing you can also do relaxation techniques such as doing yoga or we can do it by tightening the body muscles by clenching the fist tightly for 5-10 seconds, then releasing it slowly, this technique can help relieve muscle tension. Experts argue that this method can improve mental health because alpha waves that play a role in increasing mood
4. Grounding technique
Grounding technique is a way to avoid negative memories or thoughts through a simple way that involves all senses by looking at 5 objects around you. In psychology this technique is not only for managing anxiety problems, but also can be adjusted to your needs such as when you are going to do a job interview, presentation, or face an exam or whatever it is that causes nervousness that can be done by yourself and can be practiced anywhere.
- Touch 4 things around you.
- Listen carefully to three soothing sounds around you
- Inhale two scents near you
- Taste one flavor of food or drink
5. Focus your mind on an object
This method can help you divert your attention from a panic attack by observing its details. The object you choose can be anything around you, for example if you choose to focus on candy, try to feel the sensation of candy in your mouth
Just focus on it while thinking about what flavor the candy is? what is the texture like? Is the candy sweet or sour? Is the candy soft, or sticky? What shape is the candy? What color is the candy? Whatever it is, the important thing is to divert your attention
Another example, if you choose to focus on the wall clock, pay attention to how the clock hands move, describe in your mind what color, shape and size of the wall clock are, by doing this, you can reduce the anxiety that arises
Overcoming panic attacks is not something that can be said to be easy. However if you ever experience a panic attack or feel overwhelmed and afraid of something, it is a good idea to consult a professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist as a first step.
According to experts knowing the symptoms that appear during a panic attack can also help you to recognize that even though it feels very worrying, even maybe scary, but it is only a bodily reaction and not something that threatens your life, this understanding will greatly help reduce the excessive fear that you may experience.
It needs to be underlined that panic disorder cannot be diagnosed by yourself, the condition can worsen if not handled properly, especially since some of the symptoms of panic disorder can also be similar to other health problems, so it is really important to make sure your condition to the doctor.