10 Ways to Work Through a Panic Attack & How to Reduce Anxiety
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Ugh! Been there. For years I was notorious for having a panic attack while driving. My heart would race, I would sweat, and feel like I couldn't breathe. This affected my everyday life to the point where it was hard to do daily tasks, like going to the store.
In my late teens, I was the passenger in a fatal car accident. The driver of the car that hit us was killed. As time went on bruises and bones healed, I thought my mind did too. I didn't dwell on the accident or memories, I put them out of my head, or so I thought. Life was busy being the oldest of four and living in a single-parent home. There were jobs, food shopping and places everyone needed to go. So I went. I would be fine and then suddenly out of nowhere start to sweat and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest. It was scary as hell. It felt like what people have described as a heart attack. I did mention it but, physically there was nothing wrong with me so, I carried on as usual.
A few years later I was sitting in one of many psychology classes and I learned what I was experiencing. I felt relieved that I wasn't crazy or dying. Although now I had this thing that could be debilitating and yet people could not see I had it. I looked fine and was, that is until I wasn't.
The following are 10 ways to work through a panic attack:
1. Take deep breathes.
2. Understand what is happening and do not fight against it. This I cannot express is sooo very important!*****
3. Practice mindfulness
- Look around and name what you see.
- Touch something and describe the texture.
- Taste something, this could be anything from candy to a fingertip.
- Smell some essential oils. Lavender is a good one.
- Talk to someone or yourself out loud.
4. Find one object and focus on it. Think about all the characteristics of that object.
5. Try muscle relaxation techniques. Start with one part of your body and relax it move to another part, keep going until you feel calmer.
6. Picture your happy place. Wherever you love to be, in bed, on a beach, sitting in a tree, visualize yourself right there. Think of how it feels when you are there.
7. Move your body. Walk around. touch your toes. Stretch. Just move a bit.
8. Repeat a mantra.
9. Run your hands under warm water.
10. Use tapping techniques.
To this day if my life gets extremely stressful or something traumatic happens my anxiety will expose itself while I am behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. So, I have worked hard on trying different things and talking with people, to find something that works for me. This has resulted in me making a strategy for dealing with my anxiety.
I have changed my lifestyle to reduce my panic attacks to where it has been a few years since I had one.
The following are things I still practice to this day:
1. Talk to someone. I don't keep everything to myself anymore. I reach out when something is troubling me.
2. Identify triggers.
3. Eat healthier and exercise regularly, even if it's a walk.
If you experience anxiety and have panic attacks I hope these techniques help you.