Your heart is racing, your breathing increases and you feel like enemies surround you from all sides. You’re not in a war or trying to escape a killer, you’re simply having a panic attack, plain and simple. But it’s not plain and simple at all. In fact, it’s a living hell, and you would do anything to escape the inescapable.
As a small child, at about the age of 9, I started to experience my first full-blown panic attack. I had gone through small attacks from as far back as I can remember, but none so drastic as these. I thought I was dying, I literally felt for my pulse and listened to all the little bones in my skull pop as I swallowed. I pulled at my sleeves, thinking the tight elastic bands at my wrist were cutting off my circulation. I felt doomed, and for months, I couldn’t endure a full 8 hours in class. When my father came to pick me up, always about two hours into the school day, I would cry and he would tell me…
“It will be better tomorrow. You will stay all day.”
But it would be months longer and several trips to the child psychologist more that I would be able to stay a whole day in school. It was devastating, not only for me, but for my family as well. But I pulled through.
There should be a quicker way to deal with these symptoms of anxiety and dreaded panic. It doesn’t have to be a full regimen of medications and therapies to allow us to live a semi-normal life. I thought about this for a long time and finally decided to research this very topic. These are the steps that I found, steps that would allow me to get deal with a panic attack before it reached a harmful crescendo.
- Splashing cold water on your face during a panic attack can change your perspective for a moment, allowing you to gain clarity. The cold water apparently stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and awakens the vagus nerve. This simple technique drives down the heart rate and regulates digestion.
- This might sound weird, but it works. As with animals who narrowly escape becoming some other creature’s dinner, we can shake like they do. They really do! When the danger is past, animalistic instinct says to “shake it off”. There are actually a few shaking meditations that might help you get the right idea.
- Prayer works, it does! You don’t have to be overly religious to do this either. You can speak one word only, in the mood of peace and love, and this will also stimulate the parasympathetic system. It’s all about focus, training your mind to calm in a conscious effort to talk with a greater power.
- Have you ever heard of Binaural beats? Well, if not, it’s simply the low tones or sounds, like ocean waves and other aspects of nature. Listening to Binaural sounds not only calms the heart rate but also transports you to another location in your mind. Here you can regulate your breathing and enjoy your imagination.
- One simple technique works wonders, especially when you are cold. If you warm your hands, you can regulate your blood pressure, considering stress causes blood to accumulate in the shoulders and chest due to the fight or flight response during trouble. Our extremities, when warmed by a nice cup of coffee or extended in front of a fire can stimulate parasympathic regions.
- We all know that massages are beneficial to stress, but the scalp massage is highly underrated. A scalp massage increases serotonin and dopamine while decreasing cortisol. With this being said, a scalp massage could drastically reduce anxiety levels in moments.
- One technique that has amazing results, is deep breathing. That’s right, something as simple as drawing a nice long breath can release numerous anti-stress enzymes. You can calm down your entire nervous system by releasing oxytocin, prolactin, vasopressin and acetylcholine, eliminating that panic attack before it reaches unprecedented levels of hell.
These are only a few ways to prevent panic attacks. There are so many other tricks and tips that can help reduce the severity and occurrence of these horrible events. If you are especially fatigued, but never-the-less feel yourself headed toward that swell of panic, try eating dark chocolate. This takes little effort and it’s yummy too!
Your hyperventilating and your heart rate is off the charts! Go ahead and splash some cold water on your face and give yourself time to remember your other anxiety killing strategies. Before you know it, you will calm again and ready to take on the world.
Well, it’s a start anyway. Why not try these and see what works for you! Never give up!
By Sherrie Lee Hurd, Truth Inside Of You.