If you experience frequent panic attacks and suffer from anticipatory anxiety, there are some science-backed steps you can take to try to calm yourself down and make the phenomenon happen as soon as possible.
People who suffer a panic attack, also known as an anxiety crisis, are condemned to suffer an experience of intense fear, which appears suddenly and has physical and psychological symptoms such as palpitations or an increase in heart rate, tremors, sweating, choking and suffocation, chest tightness, abdominal discomfort and nausea, loss of consciousness, dizziness, feeling unreality or being separated from oneself, fear of dying, fear of going crazy and losing control hot flashes, chills and feeling numb and tingling.
According to Medline Plus data, panic disorder is twice as common in women as in men, while symptoms usually begin before the age of 25, although they can also occur by the age of 35. People with this problem often develop anticipatory anxiety about the possibility of having new panic attacks. Despite the fact that it is essential to receive therapeutic help, as well as medication from a specialist in some cases, there are some tricks supported by science that you can take into account if you run into this problem.
7 tips to reduce or lessen a panic attack
1 – Put your face in cold water: Physiological research reveals that the human heart rate decreases from 10 to 25% when our face comes into contact with ice water. This is effective during a panic attack because when we experience this sensation our body becomes physiologically excited, increasing the heart rate per minute.
2 – Force yourself to perceive the environment: This practical tip is very simple and effective to regain connection with the real world. Focus on a couple of objects around you, touch them, smell them, and look at them, from a food item to a photograph or sweater. Appreciating your surroundings, you can get out of your head and return to the real world.
3 – Practice diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing: This type of breathing, consisting of involving a large amount of air and focusing muscle movement in the lower area of the lungs, teaches the brain to dive into a relaxed state. In a panic attack, physiological symptoms are generated by thinking that you need protection – fight or flight. The slower and deeper it is, the better.
4 – Try a simple game on your mobile: Any kind of distraction has the ability to redirect your thinking. Download a popular game like Pacman, Tetris or Gálaga. You can also have relaxing music and guided relaxation sessions on hand, as well as specific applications to learn how to meditate.
5 – Squeeze a stress ball: Having a rubber ball, a Fidget Cube or any object you can manipulate in your hands is essential to connect with the present moment, calm stress and chase away anticipatory anxiety.
6 – Replace your negative thoughts with others: You must have written and more realistic refutations of your catastrophic thoughts. In this way, you can see a kinder side of things, be a more decisive person or avoid feeling and anxiety
7 – Go to therapy: To face this problem, cognitive behavioral therapy is the best solution.
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