Panic attacks are no walk in the park. Some people feel like they’re literally dying or having a heart attack, while others become light-headed and disconnect from reality entirely. Either way, panic attacks will leave their victims feeling helpless and vulnerable to the uncertainties within their own minds.
The good news is that there are things you and your loved ones can do to help keep anxiety at bay, greatly reducing the chances of a panic attack ever manifesting again! As it is with many different health issues, preemptive treatment is always the best, so here are seven ways to stop a panic attack before it hits.
Talk to a counselor or psychotherapist
It’s time for everyone to let go of the idea that only mentally ill people should talk to a psychotherapist. The reality is that most people carry traumas and mini-traumas from childhood that affect the way they report to the world and their behavior in it, so everybody needs therapy.
When it comes to coping with panic attacks, talking to a therapist will help you organize your thoughts and feelings, recognize patterns in your behavior, and give you tools to cope with things like anxiety and emotional triggers.
Don’t just go to one session and expect to get better though. Healing old wounds and overcoming fear takes time and effort. Even the best therapist in the world can’t do that for you, so cut yourself some slack and make it a regular habit to talk to someone!
Use medication when necessary
It’s common for people with various forms of anxiety disorders to take prescription medications regularly in order to keep themselves feeling normal in stressful environments. These medications should never be taken as a means to cope over the long term, but as a way to gain your own footing so that you can eventually get off of medications entirely.
You can avoid potentially harmful prescription medications like Benzodiazepines, SSRIs, and SNRI’s by using cannabis. Certain strains of cannabis are often used to treat anxiety -particularly those higher in CBD content, however there are also products with high THC levels that also help to calm the nervous system, alleviating symptoms of anxiety instantly. To learn more about how cannabis can be used to soothe the nervous system, read this article on Veriheal.
Utilize deep breathing
One of the most common and terrifying aspects of a panic attack is feeling like you can no longer breathe or control your breath. You can combat this before it ever happens by practicing deep breathing exercises on a regular basis.
A scientific study found that people who practiced deep breathing regularly had lower levels of cortisol, which correlates to lower levels of stress. Simply taking five minutes each day to practice slow, controlled, diaphragmatic breathing can help to mitigate the instance of overwhelming stress and panic attacks.
Mindfulness is simply being present in what you’re doing, where you are, and accepting of things beyond our immediate control. It doesn’t take a Tibetan monk to practice mindfulness, but they practice it for a reason! Mindfulness is so simple that it’s easy to forget to be present. With millions of things running through your mind seemingly all at once, it’s no wonder why anxiety can arise.
Set a reminder on your phone to be mindful throughout the day. Practice mindfulness when you’re cooking or washing your hands. Consciously feel the soap in your hands, then the feeling of rubbing them together, and the feeling of the water as you rinse it away. As you practice mindfulness more and more, you might begin to notice a constant sense of calmness that you carry with you everywhere you go.
Muscle relaxation techniques
If you’ve had a really stressful day, a great way to help yourself unwind is through muscle relaxation techniques. Essentially, muscle relaxation techniques teach you how to relax muscles throughout the body in segments or groups, so that you can eventually be able to relax the entire body.
Muscle relaxation techniques are a great tool for people who have trouble sleeping at night, and can also be a great way to start the day!
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to get ahead of anxiety, but you should always consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen -especially if you haven’t been active in a while.
Exercise promotes a healthy body and mind, giving you a chance to get all of your built-up anxious energy out in a healthy way. So make sure you’re exercising for 30 minutes or more, 3-5 days a week!
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that’s low in simple sugars will help you avoid sudden spikes of glucose, which can trigger symptoms of anxiety. Also, avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol will greatly reduce your risk of having another panic attack.
Maintaining good physical health is essential to keeping anxiety at bay. Always make sure to drink enough water, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates to make sure you’re properly fueled and functioning optimally.