Shane McDonald Facebook pixel

Panic attacks can be terrifying and overwhelming. They often leave individuals feeling trapped in a whirlwind of fear and confusion, just like gambling games. While the experience can vary from person to person, there are common sensations and symptoms associated with panic attacks. Understanding what a panic attack feels like can help individuals recognize and address these episodes effectively. In this article, we will explore various strategies that individuals can employ to self-soothe during a panic attack.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are an effective technique to regulate your body’s stress response during a panic attack. Follow these steps:

1) Look for a peaceful, cozy spot to sit or lie down.

2) Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise as you fill your lungs with air.

3) Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, imagining that you are releasing the tension and anxiety.

4) Repeat this process several times, focusing on the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Different muscular units are tensed and subsequently relaxed during progressive muscle relaxation. Follow these steps:

1) Start by focusing on your feet and gradually work your way up through your body, tensing and then relaxing each muscle group.

2) As you tense a muscle group, hold the tension for a few seconds and then release it, allowing the muscle to relax completely.

3) Visualize the tension leaving your body with each exhalation. Continue this process until you have relaxed all the major muscle groups.

Grounding Techniques

You can use grounding methods to stay in the present. It will divert your attention away from the panic attack and reduce the panic’s intensity. A few grounding exercises to try are as follows:

1) List and list the five things that you can see around you, the four things that you can touch, the three things that you can hear, the two things that you can smell, and the one item that you can taste.

2) Focus on your body sensations. Start by wiggling your toes, feeling the ground beneath your feet, and gradually work your way up, paying attention to how each body part feels.

3) Engage your senses. Sip a warm cup of herbal tea, smell a soothing essential oil, or hold onto a comforting object like a soft blanket or stress ball.

Visualization and Guided Imagery

Visualization and guided imagery can help redirect your thoughts and create a sense of calm during a panic attack. Follow these steps:

1) Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful and serene location, such as a beach or a quiet forest.

2) Visualize the sights, sounds, and smells of this place, immersing yourself in the experience.

3) Focus on the details and allow yourself to feel the tranquility and relaxation that the visualization brings.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices can enhance self-awareness and help manage panic attacks. Consider the following techniques: 

1) Pay attention to the sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind, and the emotions you are experiencing without judgment.

2) Practice deep breathing while observing each breath as it enters and leaves your body.

3) Engage in guided mindfulness meditation exercises using smartphone apps or online resources. There are apps specifically designed for anxiety and panic attacks.

It is safe to conclude that experiencing a panic attack can be an incredibly distressing and disorienting experience. The combination of intense fear, physical discomfort, and racing thoughts can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed and helpless. It is important to remember that panic attacks are not life-threatening, even though they may feel like it at the moment.

While self-soothing techniques can be valuable in managing panic attacks, it is important to remember that they are not a substitute for professional help. If you experience recurrent panic attacks, consulting with a mental health professional who can provide appropriate guidance and support is crucial. Talking to a therapist about your panic attacks is a powerful step towards understanding, healing, and regaining control over your life. Therapy offers a supportive and empathetic environment where you can explore the underlying causes, develop coping strategies, and work towards preventing future panic attacks. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and with the right support and guidance, you can find relief and live a life free from the grip of panic attacks.

Keep in mind that it is crucial to distinguish panic attacks from other medical conditions that may have similar symptoms. Consulting with a healthcare professional is important to rule out any underlying health concerns and receive a proper diagnosis. Medical professionals can assess your symptoms, conduct appropriate tests if necessary, and provide confirmation that panic attacks are not life-threatening.

Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you navigate through these challenging experiences.