How to Stop Panic Attacks Before They Get Worse
If you or someone close to you is struggling with panic attacks, there are ways to manage them before they become more severe. The key is understanding what causes them, creating strategies to avoid them and practicing coping techniques before these become a regular part of life.
Deep breathing is an essential step in relieving panic attacks, as it helps to relax the nervous system and bring focus to the present moment. Try taking deep, even exhaled breaths through either your nose or mouth; some people like counting 4-7-8 breaths while others find it easier to take slow inhalations and exhales.
Progressive muscle relaxation can be an effective tool when learning how to stop panic attacks because it reduces tension in the body. McKenna suggests beginning with your toes and working up through legs, torso and neck by using tensing-releasing movements.
Another effective way to stop panic attacks is by focusing on the real world around you, rather than your internal thoughts and anxieties. This could be as easy as sitting in a room and picturing yourself outside or taking a walk and paying attention to what you observe.
Thinking about a panic attack can make it worse, so finding ways to distract yourself may help shift your focus away from the situation and onto something less frightening. Distractions could include calling a friend or doing something physical like taking a walk or running.