Anxiety attacks are very real for some people. When some people sense danger or fear the worst, the feelings of anxiety and panic become very real. If you or a loved one suffer from panic, here are the 10 best ways to stop anxiety attacks.
What Causes Anxiety Attacks?
Anxiety attacks themselves can be triggered by worries large or small. Either way, the feelings of doom and danger are very real. Sufferers experience worry or fear over relationships, their health, imminent harm, or even fear they will have another anxiety attack.
From a physical standpoint, the symptoms typically start out with the sufferer hyperventilating. In turn, the rapid breathing causes the body to inhale too much oxygen and expel too much carbon dioxide. This chemical imbalance caused by rapid respiration brings on those additional symptoms: chest pains, pounding heartbeat, excessive sweating, a feeling of being lightheaded, or dizziness.
When the first signs of an anxiety attack hit, the first instinct is to breathe hard. But this is a huge mistake! Instead of trying to inhale in an exaggerated manner, focus on normal, controlled, and effective breathing so that the imbalance of oxygen doesn’t occur and set off the chain reaction previously described.
Hold Breath (Just for a Second!)
If the sufferer knows he should follow breath control but forgot to, all isn’t lost! Practice holding in that panicked deep breath for just a second (a one-one thousand count) before exhaling. This helps to rebalance the oxygen to carbon dioxide levels. Exhale normally. Then begin the breath control.
Remind Yourself It’s Not Real
The fear that triggers anxiety attacks feels very real. Anxiety sufferers need to take just a brief second to collect their thoughts and look at the cause of the anxiety with logic to see that the perceived threat is not real. This is easier said than done, especially at first. But with continued practice, it becomes easier to remember that “it’s not real.”
Anxiety attack sufferers have great success controlling their feelings by using visualization techniques. This takes a little bit of practice, but it’s very effective. Sufferers should close their eyes, relax, and imagine themselves in a time and place that makes them happy. This has an immediate calming effect.
Be Mindful of the Physical Space
Anxiety sufferers also have relief from anxiety attacks by becoming mindful of their physical space. Being aware of, and appreciating, the feelings, smells, and sights in their physical space is a welcome distraction from the feelings of panic overtaking them. This is also a technique that takes some practice.
Drink Some Water
Distracting away from the anxiety attack can help shorten or stop it. The physical act of grabbing a glass, filling it with water, and taking a few sips can stop it quickly. If the sufferer is weak in the knees from his attack, pour the glass of water for him and tell him to take a sip. Either way provides the distraction most anxiety sufferers need.
In addition, water will help to physically restore the body to optimal wellness and replenish any fluids lost to sweating during the anxiety attack.
Phone a Friend
Calling a friend or family member is often very helpful. First, it provides the needed emotional support of a friendly voice. Second, it provides a distraction from the anxiety attack. It allows the sufferer to describe the attack and vocalize it into logical terms that make the attack stop rather quickly.
Prevent anxiety attacks before they ever occur with regular exercise. Whether the sufferer prefers brisk walks in the park, yoga, or lifting weights, exercise increases endorphins and makes them feel stronger and better equipped to handle challenges. In addition, it releases the feelings of stress which are common triggers for anxiety build-up.
The calming and relaxing fragrances of lavender, chamomile, and clary sage are relaxing helpful to many anxiety sufferers. Burning these fragrances in an oil warmer can help them feel at ease and comfortable and help to discourage the onset of anxiety attacks.
Seek Professional Help
One-off anxiety attacks can happen, especially during times of extreme stress. These are most often life-changing events like an upcoming wedding, divorce, while caring for an ailing family member, or the death of a family member.
If you know someone who suffers from ongoing feelings of anxiety, encourage them to seek professional help. A doctor can confirm that there are no underlying physical diagnoses, such as hypertension, causing the physical symptoms. Next, he can refer the sufferer to resources to help him relieve the feelings of anxiety. Finally, he can prescribe medication for the most severe cases of anxiety or panic disorders.
Feelings of overwhelming fear that cause anxiety attacks are very real. They most often come without warning. The physical symptoms that result from anxiety attacks are very uncomfortable, and often embarrassing, to the sufferer. When you know the 10 best ways to stop anxiety attacks, you’re better equipped to help someone who suddenly experiences one. Being able to help your friend or loved one through a panic attack makes you a valuable resource for them and can help them work through their fears.