Panic attacks can often kick in without any prior warning. They are described as a sudden surge of unexplained anxiety, intense fear and apprehension. Individuals explain it as a feeling of fear in response to a threat even though there is no threat.
These episodes can last for just a few minutes or longer, but do not persist for more than an hour. For some individuals recurring attacks may cause the person to avoid places or situations associated with the panic attack. While fear is primarily in the mind, some people may also experience certain physical symptoms when having a panic attack. These can include discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, quickened heartbeat, trembling, sweating, or a choking feeling in the throat.
Because panic attacks can be unforeseen, knowing some simple yet effective remedies to deal with them can be helpful. Here are ten ways to cope with a panic attack.
1. Slow breathing
Slow breathing can help relieve anxiety and prevent an oncoming panic attack from setting in. Individuals who find themselves breathing too hard before or during a panic attack can practice slow breathing as soon as they notice this symptom. The focus of slow breathing is on controlled inhalation and exhalation movements that concentrate on steady diaphragmatic breathing.
This breathing technique allows more oxygen to enter the body and calm the mind. As such, diaphragmatic breathing not only calms the effects of arousal at the time of panic, it also redirects the focus from the panic symptoms to the breathing technique. As diaphragmatic breathing becomes habitual, the nervous system becomes less susceptible to panic in the first place.
It can usually take about two weeks to become acquainted with the feeling of diaphragmatic breathing, and about six months of regular practice to turn it into a habit.