Have you ever experienced a sudden gush of overpowering anxiety and apprehension? Or have you been around someone going through an attack of this kind?
If you understand the severity and the difficulties that come about during a panic attack, than you must understand the do’s and dont’s of such a situation, which is usually accompanied by chest pain, uncontrolled breathing, nausea, sweating, heart palpitations and the feeling of extreme agitation.
Have you ever experienced a sudden gush of overpowering anxiety and apprehension? Or have you been around someone going through an attack of this kind? If you understand the severity and the difficulties that come about during a panic attack, than you must understand the do’s and dont’s of such a situation, which is usually accompanied by chest pain, uncontrolled breathing, nausea, sweating, heart palpitations and the feeling of extreme agitation.
Most importantly, panic attacks need to be managed with caution, to avoid making the situation any worse for the patient.
While we are not medical experts, here’s a list of researched do’s and dont’s.
You should never tell the person suffering from the attack to ‘just calm down;’ this statement can compound someone’s anxiety rather than bringing it down. Remember that pacifying the unease in such a situation isn’t as trouble-free and easy.
Also, do not say: “There’s nothing wrong with you.” While this statement comes from good intentions, it does not relieve the sufferer from shortness of breath, numbness and tingling sensations, sweating and severe awkwardness.
Do not put any kind of pressure on individuals undergoing a panic attack. Do not force them to sit down or lay on their backs if they do not want to.
Never say: “You’re overreacting.” In your view, that’s what they must be doing, but bear in mind, it is not in their control.
Do not leave them alone even if you’re having a tough time taking care of him or her. Do not forget they need your support.
Say soothing and firm sentences like: “How can I help you calm down?’ or “I am here for you, tell me whatever you need.”
Ask them what you can do to make them feel better. Take them out to some place they like or to a quiet and open area for a change of surroundings. Be empathetic.
Listen to them supportively. Remember, they are feeling uncomfortable and sharing their feelings with you might help them recover quicker. Do not give too much advice before listening patiently to all that they have to say.
Encourage them to try to control their breathing. Ask them to take deep breaths from their nose and exhale from their mouth. Controlled breathing turns out to be one of the most effective ways to tackle anxiety and panic.
In case of serious panic disorders, seek medical aid and help the person find alternative therapies to battle the frequency of these attacks.
How to stop them?
Start talking to yourself and tell your brain that it is just there for ten minutes and you are fine. Trust us it actually works. Talking to yourself is good for mental health at times and to calm oneself down.
Practice diaphragmatic breathing
First sit comfortably with bent knees and breathe in slowly through your nose and let your stomach expand (try and breathe like a baby, that is the trick). Keep your upper chest as still as possible. Slowly exhale, tightening your stomach muscles.
Accept your feelings
Start by spotting what emotion you are feeling at the moment. Most panic attacks are caused by the emotion of fear. Fear is actually a good emotion that at times helps you perform better and reminds you to take care of yourself. Listen to your feelings, take good care of yourself, and keep your emotions in check according to the situation by keeping an appropriate perspective.
An extremely useful approach towards such psychological problems is the practice of yoga. Several yoga positions tend to make conditions much more comforting for the patients of panic attacks and anxiety disorders.
Some of the most effective yoga postures to help people find serenity and respite are:
Balasana (The Child Pose): This is one of the most ideal yoga poses to fight anxiety and panic. It involves sitting with your legs under you and bending forward such that your head touches the floor and your arms are placed vertically forward or by the side.
Shavasana (The Corpse Pose): This posture is usually practiced at the end of one’s usual yoga session. You can also do this whenever you’re feeling anxious. To perform the shavasana, one needs to lie down on the back with both arms on the sides and concentrate on the breathing.
The Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): This pose is an essential balancing pose that helps you calm the rush of your mind and give attention to the current posture. It requires you to stand on one foot and bend the other so your foot is against your inner thigh to form a triangle. The hands are vertically raised above the head and joined together in the form of Namaskara.
Shirshasana or the Sarvangasana (The Headstand or the Shoulder Stand): Both these positions require you to turn upside down and focus on your breathing. They place you in a completely inverted position and compel you to focus on your breath and your body at the present moment.
Pranayama (Breathing exercises and Meditation): Several breathing exercises help in inducing a state of mind that is calmer and more at rest than normal. The person is supposed to concentrate on his or her breathing, their counts and the depth of the inhalation and exhalation. It efficiently helps in the deviation of the mind from the stress and apprehension, thereby uniting the body with the soul.