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  • Writer's picturePenny

Understanding Panic Attacks and How to deal with them

Hey people, it’s Penny, and I’m very happy to be talking about this wellness topic here. Of late, I’ve been trying to live more intentionally and trying to find the cause of my recurring panic attacks.

What causes panic attacks?

I had this revelation when I started to notice lately that we really are spending our lives in a superfast mode. We are focused on consumption only. That’s why we have this urge to shop and spend money on things we do not need. We do this in our one-to-one relationships too.

When we think we are getting tired of our partner, we just replace them. It has become very easy for us because we are used to consuming things because we know that a greater thing is expecting us. Or even when we are with our friends, drinking our coffee, but then all of a sudden one of us starts taking a picture of their coffee, one starts texting, and the other just stops talking; she is focused on the TV.

When we live in autopilot mode, we tend to do things mindlessly and recklessly. The release of adrenaline and dopamine becomes addictive when we are so used to consuming things and building friendships and relationships that are not aligned with ourselves and our values. This unfortunately results in panic attacks.

Panic attacks and how to deal with them

Panic attacks have both psychological and physical symptoms. The psychological ones can feel like a feeling of unreality, a fear of dying or passing out, and a fear of going crazy or losing control. Usually, an attack would last 10–15 minutes. Physical symptoms can mimic many illnesses.

For instance, back in 2019, my right arm was getting numb, and I used to feel a stabbing pain on the right side of my chest. It turns out it was just a panic attack.

When we look at the statistics, on average, over 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are treatable, yet not everyone chooses to get treatment for them. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety receive treatment.

For me, therapy is the most efficient and one of the best ways to deal with these attacks, as solving them on my own didn’t result positively; however, one approach would be to include some self-care ideas while you are going to therapy. For instance, delving into yourself and asking why these might be happening opens a room for self-reflection.

Techniques to deal with Panic Attacks

So, how can we connect with our inner nature and deal with these attacks? Here are some easy yet effective techniques!

1) Meditate.

This is what helps me stay grounded when I feel like I’m losing myself. There are various meditation techniques, ranging from Vedic to mindful meditation.

Meditating to keep panic attacks at bay

The type of meditation I do is called transcendental meditation. I just sit with my eyes closed for 20 minutes and repeat a mantra silently. It helps me regulate my emotions and my intrusive thoughts.

2) Move around.

I cannot stress enough how important this one is! Whenever I don’t move enough, I tend to get more anxious.

Yoga is a great way to keep active

Lately, I’m trying to move my body by doing yoga and going on walks around the park near my home.

3) Shifting your focus

When we are focused on the possibility of a panic attack happening, chances are it’s going to happen. When you feel like that overwhelming feeling is coming, simply try to distract your mind by doing something else.

Cuddling a pet is always therapeutic

You can keep a worry journal and write down your feelings and thoughts; call a close friend you trust, or cuddle your pet. My therapist usually advises me to focus on blue objects in the room and count them if I’m having an attack.

4) Use deep breathing techniques.

Breath-regulating has been very helpful on my mental health journey. I usually try the boxing breathing technique whenever I feel on edge. The box technique, also known as square breathing, is a simple yet very effective technique.

Deep breathing is good for the body and mind

All you have to do is breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, and then breathe out for 4 seconds. With this easy breathing technique, you will calm and regulate your nervous system in seconds!

5) Self-dates.

For me, if I’m always feeling on the edge or panicked, it means that I’m not sparing enough time for myself. Recently, I started to take myself out on little coffee dates or even shopping sprees. You are your own best friend; you should not forget that.

6) Be mindful.

A panic situation happens because you do not live in the present. Either your mind is focused on the future or past experiences that you think have the potential to affect your current state. When you plant the mindfulness seed in your life, you will soon notice that whenever you choose to be mindful, you will feel more relaxed and less alarmed.

7) Keep a journal.

I can never stress enough how much writing has helped me cope with my emotions and my thoughts over the past 5 years.

Journaling helps you gain a new perspective on things

Writing down what you feel from time to time will help you gain a new perspective on things.

8) Watching movies that focus on anxiety and panic attacks.

I believe in the power of cinema, and recently I noticed that watching movies that have characters going through anxiety disorders and panic attacks helped me massively. One of my favorites is Perks of Being a Wallflower. I loved the book so much when I read it when I was 18, and I love the movie equally.

Logan Lerman in perks of being a wallflower movie

Charlie is trying to tackle freshman life while going through PTSD, and he writes all about his losses and his triumphs in a series of letters. This actually inspired me to write letters to my future self. Besides, I think the movie beautifully depicts how, in our early years, we all go through an emotional journey.

Jennnifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook is another one I really like and has helped me on my mental health journey. When I watched the character Pat and how he tries to see the good in everything, I realized how common some things in life are and made me aware that I’m not alone while dealing with my own emotional ups and downs in life and how crucial it is to try to see the 'silver lining’ in every situation.

Inside Out Disney Movie

The third one has to be Inside Out. I love animated movies, and I came across this one while I was working on another guest post for Yadav’s blog! It definitely helped me to realize the different feelings I have, how unique they are, and the freedom that I got when I accepted them just as feelings.

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Author Bio:

Penny is a fresh Classics master's graduate who is passionate about psychology, mindfulness, literature, and history. She has been creating content continuously on her little corner of the internet, What Did She Type since 2018. She is currently working on relaunching her blog and creating her first-ever online course about mindfulness and creativity.

How to reach Penny -

Instagram: @whatdidshetype

Twitter : @whatdidshetype



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