How to deal with panic attacks
A few weeks ago after I had been for a run at my local park, I walked into my flat, took my jacket off and laid on the floor to cool down. The minute I laid on the floor that's when it hit me, a tsunami of emotions choking me. My breath became quick and shallow, transforming into floods of tears. Trying to catch my breath and simultaneously crying resulted in my whole body experiencing a panic attack.
I wasn't in pain, I wasn't upset about anything and I have no logical reason to react the way I did. The only potential reasons for my outburst could have been that I was close to starting my period, so all of my hormones and stressors were highly reactive. Or, as is usually the case, there were some unconscious thoughts troubling me that had not yet been addressed.
It took me a few ways for my body and mind to return to its natural state. Coping with the aftermath of a panic attack, where your body and mind are exhausted will make you want to curl up in bed and fall asleep. However, being able to continue with your day and seize it is the best thing you can do. To do that, I’ve listed the top 5 ways I coped with coming down from a panic attack:
It’s a struggle to catch your breath while in the middle of a panic attack, so the first point of call is to always be aware of your breathing and keep it under control. The best kind of breathing to use is deep belly breathing. Breathe in from the depth of your belly, letting the air travel all the way up, hold the breath for a few seconds. Then exhale pushing the air out of your mouth, while simultaneously pushing your belly out. Repeat this until you feel you have gained control over your breathing.
Call a loved one
If like me you live alone and there isn’t anyone around you, it can be difficult to get through similar situations without support. I will always call my Mum if I need some help or support, having someone talking to you will ground you and bring you back down to Earth. The voice of someone else, especially a loved one who is close to you, gives you something to concentrate on. If you can concentrate on that person's voice it will bring you back into the present moment.
Take a shower
If there are any negative feelings surrounding you take a shower. This might seem a bit odd, but try mentally visualising the water stripping away any toxic unconscious thoughts, down the drain and gone forever. Like me, if there are any toxic unconscious thoughts that may have caused a panic attack using this visualisation will give you the space to come out of that mindset.
Listen to calming music
To calm the nervous system and reduce the body’s flight or fight response try listening to some calming music. Instrumental or sounds of nature are particularly good when using music as a tool to calm the body and reduce your heart rate.
Eat some fuelling food
When your body goes through something like a panic attack, it drains you, mentally and physically. After an episode, you are most likely going to feel exhausted. Replenishing your body with good, nutritious foods is vital to regaining energy and clarity. Try eating clean and fresh foods that are full of vitamins.
I hope this helps you find a path to your own coping mechanisms.