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6 Things you can do when you have a panic attack

Picture this: You're going about your day when suddenly, out of nowhere, your heart starts racing, your palms get sweaty, and a wave of fear washes over you. You're having a panic attack. In moments like these, it can feel like you're drowning in a sea of overwhelming emotions, desperately searching for a lifeline to pull you back to shore. But fear not, because in this blog, we'll explore nine actionable strategies to help you navigate through a panic attack and find your way back to calmness and clarity. So take a deep breath, and let's dive in.

  1. Practice Extended Exhales: Learning to control your breath by extending your exhales can actively engage your nervous system and help to bring your heart rate down. This technique is a tool you can use when you feel a panic attack coming on.

  1. Top-down Strategy Awareness and Mindset: Reframing stress positively through beliefs and mindsets can aid in releasing stress. Remind yourself that the panic episode won't last forever, and focus on strategies that can calm your stress.

  1. Change Your Environment: Physical changes in your environment, including safety signals like comforting objects or certain smells, might help. Create a dedicated safe space at home or look to calming environments when feeling stressed.

  1. Double Inhale Exhale Cycles: Use a breathing technique where you take a double inhale through the nose and a long exhale through the mouth. This pattern is designed to shift your autonomic nervous system toward a more calmed state quickly

  1. Change the Scene: If possible, retreat to a space that you find calming. This could be a designated safe zone in your home populated with objects that generate positive emotions, such as comforting photographs or familiar music. Such environmental changes can help reduce stress triggers

  1. Focusing on External Salience: Ground yourself in your environment by paying attention to physical details around you. This can involve feeling the surface you are on, looking at the time with precision, or really noticing the shape of everyday objects like a doorknob. This helps divert attention from internal feelings of panic to the external, less threatening world

Keep in mind that coping mechanisms can vary from person to person, so it may be beneficial to practice these strategies to determine which are most effective for your individual experience.

If you are experiencing panic attack, make sure you visit a professional. 

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