Most people who have anxiety attacks often have little warning before these attacks strike. For them, the first sign of an attack is a soaring heart rate or difficulty breathing. Fortunately, knowing what to do during an anxiety attack can help to lessen its effects. If you’re prone to having anxiety attacks, you’ll want to keep reading to understand what treatment options are available.
First Things First: What to do During an Anxiety Attack
Some medical professionals make a distinction between panic attacks and anxiety attacks. For the purpose of this post, we treat them as the same thing, due to how similar their symptoms are to each other. Additionally, the in-the-moment treatment of them is often the same. As such, we may refer to them as panic or anxiety attacks interchangeably throughout this post. The following tips can help you through your symptoms:
What to do During an Anxiety Attack Includes Recognizing Symptoms
If you suffer from anxiety attacks, you may feel as if you’re dying. Waves of panic and the fear of dying surge through your body. The additional occurrence of symptoms like heart palpitations can convince you that this is true. It’s one of the reasons why having an anxiety attack feels so scary. By first recognizing that you’re not having a heart attack, you can get control of your racing thoughts.
Keeping a Journal
This suggestion is related to the one above. You can’t know what to do during an anxiety attack if you don’t recognize the symptoms. Keeping a journal allows you to see if your anxiety attacks have a pattern. Don’t make the process complicated. Just write down any thoughts and symptoms that arise when your attacks strike. Once you see a pattern, make a plan to deal with some of your panic triggers.
Shutting Out External Stimuli
In the event that your attack stems from an external trigger, like work stress or certain phobias, like crowds, try to shut out external stimuli. Try closing your eyes. You can additionally try focusing on all of the blue spots you see. Try an activity, like sketching in your journal. These activities force you to focus on something other than the attack’s trigger. This allows you to stop the loop of thoughts that perpetuate the attack.
If your anxiety attack has not also caused you to hyperventilate, then try doing some light exercises. Exercises like swimming, yoga or walking work well for this purpose. This is one of the most effective forms of treatment we’ve seen at our anxiety treatment center.
Moving your body releases those feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It also allows you to change scenery. This is an important detail for those external influences.
As we mentioned, an anxiety attack makes breathing a struggle. Force yourself to take deep breaths into your diaphragm. This eliminates the shallow breathing that accompanies an attack. If you’re not sure what this means, watch a baby breathe. You’ll see her tummy rise and fall easily as she breathes. Her breaths don’t get stuck in her chest.
To do this, breathe in slowly through your nose. Then, you want to exhale slowly out of your mouth. If you’re not sure you’re doing this correctly, place a hand on your stomach. If you feel it moving in and out, you’re doing the breathing correctly.
If you’ve been living with anxiety attacks, you may need a bit of help getting them under control. A visit to our Encore Health Group anxiety treatment center near you can help you create a game plan for dealing with panic attacks. Contact us today. We can discuss the treatment options we have for your anxiety disorders.