Anxiety attacks can be a frightening and overwhelming experience that often happen suddenly and without warning, leaving the individual feeling out of control and helpless.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack can include a rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, difficulty breathing, and an overwhelming sense of fear or panic. It is important to remember that anxiety attacks are a common experience and can happen to anyone. Seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor can be a helpful step in managing anxiety and preventing future attacks.
Additionally, practicing these stress-reducing techniques below alongside deep breathing, mindfulness, and exercise can also be effective in managing how to stay as calm as possible if you or someone you know are suspecting symptoms of an anxiety attack.
1. Breathe deeply and slowly. This helps to regulate your heart rate and oxygen levels sending a signal to your brain that you are safe.
2. Focus on something in the present moment. This can be a physical sensation, a sound, a smell, or an object. This helps to distract your mind from the negative thoughts and feelings that trigger the attack.
3. Repeat a positive affirmation or mantra. This can be something like "I am okay", "This will pass", or "I can handle this". This helps to counteract the negative self-talk and irrational fears that fuel the attack.
4. Relax your muscles. Tense and release each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. This helps to release the physical tension and stress that accompany the attack.
5. Use grounding techniques. This can be something like holding an ice cube, touching a soft fabric, or smelling a pleasant scent. This helps to activate your senses and bring you back to reality.
6. Talk to someone you trust. This can be a friend, a family member, a therapist, or a helpline. This helps to vent your emotions, get support and reassurance, and feel less alone.
7. Challenge your thoughts. Identify the irrational or exaggerated thoughts that are causing the attack and replace them with more realistic and balanced ones. For example think "I'm having an anxiety attack and it will pass".
8. Use coping skills. Something like listening to music, reading a book, watching a funny video, or doing a crossword puzzle. This helps to engage your mind in something positive and enjoyable and reduce the intensity of the attack.
9. Practice mindfulness. This can be something like observing your thoughts and feelings without judging them, accepting them as they are, and letting them go. This helps to reduce the attachment and reaction to the negative emotions that trigger the attack.
10. Seek professional help. If you have frequent or severe anxiety attacks, or if they interfere with your daily life, you may benefit from seeing a therapist or taking medication. This helps to address the underlying causes of your anxiety and learn more effective ways to cope with it.