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How to manage and prevent panic attacks

Updated: Apr 9

 Life Coach. Mental health service

So panic attacks. Awful things!

They are debilitating, embarrassing and life limiting.

Panic attacks are a fear response to a know or unknown trigger and are an exaggeration of your normal reaction to danger, stress or even excitement.

They can come on quickly and include symptoms such as dizziness, palpitations, feeling hot or cold, sweating, chest pains, struggling to breathe or feeling disconnected from your mind , body and or surroundings.

During an attack it's very likely that you will be afraid and you may even think that you are going to die.

The fear of of having an attack can stop you from going out and this can then lead to conditions such as agoraphobia.

You may only ever experience one panic attack in your life and never be troubled by them again or you may have them regularly.

Typically they last between five to twenty minutes but may feel longer if you have one followed by another or are suffering from long term stress or anxiety.

You can manage panic attacks by:

1. Focusing on your breathing. Try to control your breath counting to five on each inhale and again on the exhale.

2. Stamp your feet. This helps to bring the minds attention to something else and the physical action helps move the nervous energy out.

3. Use your senses. Look for something to stare at, focus on a sound, eat a sweet or cuddle something soft such as a cushion or a jumper. Or if you have a pet, stroke them it will soothe you both.

4. Walk barefoot. The different sensations will help ground you and connect you back to the present moment.

After a panic attack, take time for yourself. Your body and mind has been through a traumatic event and you may need to sleep or be somewhere quiet.

You may also want to eat or drink something to replace the fluid and glucose required to make the adrenalin produced during the attack.

While all of these strategies are helpful, prevention is always better than a cure.

Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety effectively will reduce attacks.

You can do that by:

Being mindful. Pay attention to your body and mind so that you are alerted when the first signs of the attack are upon you. You can then proactively use the strategies above to head it off.

Reducing caffeine and alcohol,eating healthily and taking regular exercise will also help prevent attacks as the help keep the body and mind balanced.

You may feel that you need medication from a GP and that a discussion you can have with them.

A regular meditation practise can help as can coaching to support you in dealing with the underlying causes of your attacks.

Having a good wellbeing toolkit to help you manage the stresses and strains of your life effectively will reduce the likelihood of panic attacks. This can include journaling, spending time doing things you like, being in nature, using affirmations or practising yoga, pilates, tai chi or breathwork and

Practise living in the moment. Anxiety is usually caused by worrying about the future. It is impossible to have any negative feelings when we are focused on the here and now.

As always you can get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about how coaching can support you.

Whatever you do this week, take care of you . Chris .


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