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How to take charge in a panic attack

September 17, 2012

What is a panic attack? Imagine a gust of wind that suddenly hits you without warning, only now imagine that it’s not wind but intense fear and anxiety.

It may only last a few minutes, or as much as half an hour, but to experience one is terrifying. You may sweat or feel short of breath. Your heart may pound and your mouth dries out. Frightening thoughts can occur: you may become convinced that you’re going to faint, lose control, or even die.

If you should find yourself in the midst of one, there are some simple techniques you can use to take charge and calm the waters.

  • Control your breathing: you’ll want to breathe rapidly, but try and slow down. Place one hand on your chest, and another on your stomach – breathe in for two counts, and out for four. Try and concentrate totally on this action.
  • Counter negative thoughts: repeat simple, short sentences to yourself that reassure. ‘I will get through this’, ‘My heart will slow down’, ‘I am in control’.
  • Take notice of your body: sit down if you can, with your feet firmly on the ground. Tense your muscles for five seconds, then release, working in groups up your body. Feet, then legs, then back, all the way up to your face.

If you’ve experienced a panic or anxiety attack once, the likelihood of you having another one is increased. Psychological treatments are usually the most effective.

Call Life Resolutions today on 1300 668 256 to find out how our qualified psychologists can help you or a loved one with anxiety, or use the email contact form on our website.

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