How to Deal with a Panic Attack

Posted on Posted in Counseling

The onset of a panic attack can be a scary, frightening ordeal. Those who suffer in this way testify to its debilitating effects. So it is difficult to believe that when we experience panic attacks we are actually being looked after by our internal systems. It happens this way. We are built in such a way that, if there is a perception of danger, our body automatically  primes us for action.  We go into “fight or flight” mode and a massive shot of adrenaline is injected into our system, which speeds up our heart rate and breathing, and we feel clammy, tingly and dry-mouthed. Whilst this is a natural process, without awareness of what’s happening these symptoms can create a feeling of panic which, in turn, accentuates original feelings of stress and before we know it a full blown panic cycle is created.

Panic-cycle_001

What do we do?

We can recover in 2 stages

In Stage 1 we need to reverse the panic attack by doing the following:

Firstly, you need to change the signals your brain is receiving. Start by slowing your breathing. If you are hyperventilating – breathing so fast you feel you cannot breathe at all – put your hand over your mouth. “When you hyperventilate, your blood fills with oxygen, and becomes acidic, causing the tingly, panicky feeling” , says chartered psychologist and panic-attack specialist Felix Economakis. “Putting your hand over your mouth brings carbon dioxide back into your blood again and slows your breathing.”

hand over mouth

Next, do a yoga breathing count. Breathe in for a count of five, expanding your belly. Hold the breath for 15 seconds then breathe out for 10, pulling your belly button towards your spine. Repeat five or six times until your breathing is normal.

dan-scott-breath-3

In stage 2 we need to move from our panicked self into the more grounded observing self.

We can do this by firstly examining any aspect of our dress -our clothes for example. Begin to describe them to yourself in forensic detail – style, color and kind. This takes our mind off the panic attack and begins to strengthen the observing self.

Next we fully bring ourselves into the present safe moment by repeating the following

Right now I am feeling _________________ 
(insert name of the current emotions, usually fear) 
 
And I am sensing In my body ____________________ 
(describe your current bodily sensations – e.g. sweating, nausea, fast heartbeat) 
 
Because I am having a panic attack 
 
At the same time. I am looking around where I am right now in _______________ 
(the actual current year) 
 
Here _______________ 
(name or describe the place where you are) 
 
And I can see ______________________ 
(describe some of the things that you see right now, in this place) 
 
And so I know that I am not in danger right now 

(adapted from Babette Rothschild’s ‘Flash-back Halting Protocol’)

Experiencing both realities simultaneously by stating “I’m feeling panicky here and I’m not in any actual danger now” will often reduce the panic very quickly. It’s very important that we say the ‘and’ as both realities count.

Once the panic is lessened or gone, take a walk, if possible, in green surrounding. One study conducted by Japanese researchers has found that walking in green areas is particularly useful for those suffering acute stress.

forest
© 2016 Patrick Counseling All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “How to Deal with a Panic Attack

  1. It’s remarkable to pay a visit this web site and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this piece of writing, while I am also keen of getting know-how.

  2. Every weekend i used to pay a simple visit this website,
    because i want enjoyment, for the reason that this this
    webpage conations really fastidious funny stuff too.

  3. Greate pieces. Keep posting such kind of information on your
    page. Im really impressed by your site.
    Hello there, You have performed an excellent job.

    I will definitely digg it and in my opinion suggest to
    my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this website.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, Keila, and I’ll soon be posting a new blog on how to recover from Chronic Stress
      Regards, Patrick

  4. Great blog! Is your theme tailor made or would you download it
    from somewhere? A design like yours with some simple adjustements would actually make my blog jump out.
    Please tell me in which you got your design. Thanks a whole lot

  5. Thanks for some other informative web site. The place else may just I am getting that kind of info written in such
    a perfect way? I have a mission that I am just now working
    on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

  6. This is really attention-grabbing, You are an excessively professional blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to searching for extra of your fantastic post.
    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks

  7. Your style is so unique compared to other people
    We have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you
    have the means, Guess I will just book mark this blog.

  8. I just want to mention I am beginner to blogs and definitely enjoyed you’re website. Probably I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You surely have superb well written articles. Kudos for sharing with us your web site.

  9. Normally I tend not to learn post on blogs, but I want to say that this write-up very compelled me to have a look at and do so!
    Your writing style continues to be surprised me.
    Thanks, very nice article.

  10. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of the site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to obtain that “perfect balance”
    between superb usability and appearance. I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this.
    Furthermore, the blog loads super quick for me personally
    on Internet explorer. Superb Blog!

  11. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your website and
    detailed information you present. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old
    rehashed information. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and
    I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  12. Excellent blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any forums
    that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from
    other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Kudos!

  13. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think
    that you can do with a few pics to drive the
    message home a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog.

    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  14. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating
    it but, I’d want to shoot an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and that i anticipate
    seeing it improve after a while.

  15. I simply want to tell you that I am very new to blogging and seriously savored your web blog. Likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly have perfect posts. Thanks for revealing your web site.

  16. All other webmasters should make note: this is what great posts look like! I can’t wait to read more of your writing! Not only is it thoughtful, but it is also well-written. If you could respond with a link to your Facebook, I would be extremely grateful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *