Ask anyone who suffers from panic attacks, and they will tell you it is a terrible thing to experience. Most people who have panic attacks are not understood by others, and they are often thought to be dramatic. In fact, panic attacks are a very real thing, and they are definitely not a good experience for people who suffer from these attacks.
Panic attacks happen when our brain senses something threatening whether it is an actual threat or not. During a panic attack, a person can experience symptoms such as sweating, shivers, shallow breathing, increased heartbeat and a general feeling of uneasiness. Imagine nearly missing another car while driving or almost losing control of the car, that is how it feels during a panic attack. Adrenaline starts to rush and an intense feeling of fear sets in during a panic attack.
Everyone experiences a panic attack at some point in life due to a serious threat or a dangerous situation. But if you experience panic attacks frequently without being exposed to a real danger, then you might be affected by a panic disorder.
10 Scientifically Approved Methods To Stop A Panic Attack:
So, if you want to know how to stop panic attacks read these 10 tips before panic disorder gets out of control.
1. Self-massaging the scalp
Just like it is relaxing to get a nice massage in a stressed nervous situation, it can be helpful in stopping a panic attack. According to research, massaging the scalp can result in a shift in a person’s biochemistry. And according to one study, a scalp massage can reduce cortisol levels and increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine which are the feel-good hormones.
So, if you find yourself experiencing symptoms of a panic attack, massage your scalp gently to reduce the tension you are feeling. All you have to do is a little online research and learn the proper way to give yourself a gentle scalp massage.
2. Take deep breaths
Almost every stress relieving technique uses deep breathing in one form or another. You must be wondering how something as basic as deep breathing can calm your nerves, but it is a fact. Proper slow breathing can have a calming effect on the whole nervous system and can work wonders in stopping a panic attack.
Some stress relieving techniques that use deep breathing are resistance breathing, breath moving, and coherent breathing. Deep breathing stimulates your vagus nerves that cause the release of hormones to provide relief from a panic attack.
So, next time you feel that a panic attack is coming, take deep but slow breaths by holding the breath for 2 seconds and then exhaling. You will surely feel better instantly if you try this technique during a panic attack.
3. Give it a shake
Most animals shake themselves after they have successfully escaped a threat or predator, but humans have long abandoned this habit because we live in relatively safe environments. However, shaking still does help in relieving stress in a stressful situation. So, next time you start to panic, try to shake yourself, and it might work for you.
4. Listen to binaural beats and waves
Binaural waves are a revolutionary technology that can have a positive effect on your mood and your ability to handle pain. Low-frequency binaural waves have the ability to reduce anxiety in individuals, and it can even relieve symptoms of ADHD in children.
You can download a few binaural beats from the internet, or you can use ocean sounds and play them whenever you feel you are panicking. Focus on the sounds and try to relax while imagining you are in a nice safe place and you will start to feel better instantly.
5. Carry dark chocolate with you
This solution is probably the most pleasant one among all, and you are likely to use it often because it is effective in fighting panic attacks. If you eat dark chocolate with more than 85 percent cocoa content, you can get a healthy dose of magnesium in your system. Magnesium can help calm your nerves and chocolate is a great source of this nutrient.
Other than magnesium, chocolate also contains other nutrients that stimulate the release of serotonin and helps improve your mood.
So, keep a few pieces of dark chocolate with you and as soon as you feel a panic attack coming, eat some. Not only will it taste great but it will also help calm you down, and hopefully the panic attack will pass without a problem.
6. Try splashing cold water on your own face
A splash of cold water on your face can be refreshing and relaxing at the same time. According to research, the parasympathetic system is activated by cold water splashes on your face. This helps to stimulate vagus nerves and brings down your heart rate while stimulating the nervous system. The area behind your ear is especially sensitive, so, make sure you get the water all the way to the back of your ears to see the benefits.
7. Distract yourself
Panic attacks are usually due to overstimulation of your own brain and anxious thought process. So, if you can distract yourself momentarily during a panic attack, you can expect to overcome the attack pretty nicely.
Try different activities such as reading a book, clean the house or do chores, try calling your parents or friends, or just think of something to distract yourself by thinking about stuff that makes you happy. Anything would be better than thinking about the anxious thoughts that cause panic attacks. You can practice distracting your mind from anxious thought, and slowly but surely you will start to get better at overcoming your anxious mind.
If you can’t distract yourself by simply thinking about something, try a more sensory thing such as previously mentioned water splashing method or smelling and tasting something strong. These more engaging experiences are sure to distract your mind from the anxious thoughts and if all else fails, try touching some ice. Sensory experiences are found to be more effective as compared to distracting thoughts during a panic attack.
8. Do yoga: Rabbit Pose
If you are already doing yoga try to do the rabbit pose and with practice, you will be able to master this great stress relieving pose. During this pose, you have to sit on your heels, knees, and feet simultaneously. Then, you have to reach behind you to hold your heels. This pose is known to relieve stress and tension in your back, neck, and shoulders where stress is normally stored up. Rabbit pose is recommended especially for people with anxiety and depression as it compresses the thyroid and parathyroid glands. And on top of that, this pose can also increase blood flow to the brain. All these benefits of rabbit pose are sure to provide relief during a panic attack.
9. Warm up your hands
When we are stressed or anxious, our body starts to pump more blood to areas such as shoulders and hips because of the fight or flight response. This causes your hands and feet to become cold, so if you warm your hands, it can help reverse the flight and fight response. Research has even shown that you can reduce your blood pressure by warming your hands.
You can physically warm your hands using hot water, hold a cup of warm tea, or wear gloves and visualize yourself in a nice and warm place such as in your bed or under your blanket. Visualizing yourself in a comfortable position while warming your hands can significantly reduce the panic attack risk.
10. Use ice packs
When you feel a panic attack at home, try using an ice pack. You can prepare two or more ice packs beforehand to deal with an attack. As soon as you feel a panic attack coming, quickly put two ice packs against your lower back and hold some in both your hands. This method works because tension in your upper body moves to your lower body where ice packs are placed. After doing this technique, move on to another technique such as deep breathing to completely eliminate any stressful feeling.
Panic attacks can be frustrating, and you should deal with them instead of just living with the disorder. So, now that you know some techniques to combat panic attacks, you will be ready next time you feel a panic attack coming.