Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How To Distract Yourself During A Panic Attack

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Aromatherapy And Essential Oils

How Can I Distract Myself in a Panic Attack: 3 Simple Steps for Quick Relief

Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.

Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.

You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.

Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:

  • Lavender

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Talk To A Therapist With Experience In Anxiety Attacks

People often fear the worst when theyre having an anxiety attack. Most of the time, theres no underlying physical problem, such as a real heart attack. But you should get the medical all clear if you have repeat anxiety attacks, just to be sure you dont need additional treatment. Then find a cognitive behavioral therapist with experience treating anxiety to help you through.

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Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know About Panic Attacks

Imagine that in the course of your daily life while in a meeting, eating in a restaurant or watching TV youre gripped with panic. Your heart races, you cant breathe, your hands shake. Youre certain youre dying.

Plenty of people dont have to imagine this: Theyve experienced it. This is what a panic attack often feels like. But theres far more to it than just the symptoms alone. Heres what you need to know about what its really like to experience panic attacks.

Everybody experiences panic in a different way so dont assume you know what to do. Instead, the best course of action is simply to ask them what they would like.

The first thing you can do is learn to accept and understand but what the person is suffering is very real and true. It is not a figment of their imagination, is not a sign of weakness, it is actually something quite terrifying and uncontrollable because the entire mind and body is experiencing an extreme case of the fight or flight response.

Understanding this means that you can provide the necessary comfort and encouragement to help that person through their episode.

A common concern people have is that everyone is staring at them which can lead to feelings of embarrassment. So its a good idea to move them away to a quiet space.

High levels of anxiety will affect a persons ability to think straight, so be concise and clear in your language and dont offer a range of choices as this will only confuse the situation.

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Get Outside In Nature

Going for long walks, especially at night the night air is so refreshing, the sounds of nature drown out everything around me, and the exercise is good and helps me get to sleep at night. Also remember to just go outside. Fresh air can help loosen those barbed wire knots keeping you locked within yourself.

Holly Drummond, via Facebook

Ill call a friend. Most of the people in my life are aware of my anxiety, so when I feel panic coming on, I know that I can call someone and have them talk me down out of the attack.

Tiffany Soriano, via Facebook

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Understand: Panic Attacks Are Not Dangerous

What To Do When You

Its important to keep reminding yourself that panic attacks are not dangerous. Yes, the body does some strange things, and it might even feel as though youre experiencing a heart attack, however, thats not actually the case. Your body is just responding to perceived danger by activating the fight-flight response. It notices that there is an emergency and it needs to make sure that you are aware and prepared to survive this encounter.

The excessive adrenaline that is pumped through your body at the time of a panic attack is what makes you feel on-edge and somewhat out of control. This is a natural and normal experience to a perceived threat. Yet, its important to remember that its only a perceived threat. You perceive things a certain way and as a result, you react accordingly. Therefore, it would make sense that if you perceived things another way, that you would react differently.

If you do end up experiencing a panic attack, keep in mind that they tend to come and go in short bursts. Therefore, its important to feel secure in the fact that experiencing panic is natural, normal, not dangerous, and wont last very long.

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Treatment For Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder

The most effective form of professional treatment for tackling panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia is therapy. Even a short course of treatment can help.

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering your panic attacks and helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.

Hotlines and support

NAMI Helpline Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Call 1-800-950-6264.

Find a Therapist Search for anxiety disorder treatment providers in the U.S.

Support Groups List of support groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa.

Anxiety UK Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families. Call: 03444 775 774.

Anxiety Canada Provides links to services in different Canadian provinces.

SANE Help Centre Provides information about symptoms, treatments, medications, and where to go for support in Australia. Call: 1800 18 7263. .

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Types Of Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, much more than the typical anxiety that most people experience in their daily lives. People may have trembling, twitching, muscle tension, nausea, irritability, poor concentration, depression, fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, breathlessness or hot flashes.

Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder have panic attacks with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. During the attacks, individuals may feel like they can’t breathe, have lost control, are having a heart attack or even that they are dying. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, nausea, sweating, tingling or numbness, and a racing heartbeat. Some people will have one isolated attack, while others will develop a long term panic disorder either way, there is often high anxiety between attacks because there is no way of knowing when the next one will occur. Panic disorders often begin early in adulthood. Many people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia . See more on Panic Attacks.

Phobias are irrational fears. Individuals with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but thinking about or facing the feared object or situation can bring on a panic attck or severe anxiety.

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Dunk Your Face In Cold Water

While it may sound strange, dunking your face into a bowl or sink full of cold water can help stop a panic attack in its tracks.

“Research in physiology suggests that the human heart rate slows down 10 to 25 percent when our face comes into contact with ice cold water,” Forshee says. “This is affective during a panic attack because when we are experiencing panic our body physiologically becomes aroused .”

It may be tricky to come across a bowl of ice water while out in public, but this may be a good one to try at home.

How To Distract From A Panic Attacks

How to help your friend during a panic attack – BBC

The next time you experience a panic attack or intense anxiety, try to keep emotions in check by temporarily distracting yourself. The following is a list of some distraction techniques you may want to try when faced with overwhelming emotions:

  • Count Your Breaths: Inhale and exhale, counting as one then inhale and exhale and count two, etc. Continue counting each cycle of breath until you reach 10. If you lose count, go ahead and start over from one.
  • Use Entertainment: Read something of interest, such as reading a book or flipping through an enjoyable magazine. If reading doesnt work, you may want to try watching TV or a movie to set your mind on something else. Listening to music may help you feel calmer. Research has also shown that playing video games can be effective for distracting people from anxiety.
  • Engage in a Relaxation Technique: Relaxation techniques such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation , or mindfulness meditation can help you re-center and find a sense of calm.
  • Participate in a Creative Pursuit: You may find that strong emotions are lessened when you get your creative juices flowing. Some activities may include making art or crafts.

Relaxation activities can help divert your mind and let you refocus on more pleasant thoughts. Plus, it is difficult to feel anxious and upset when in a relaxed state of mind.

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Try A Coping Visualisation

This method involves you imagining yourself in a situation where you have had a panic attack or you have been in a heightened sense of anxiety in order to stimulate a sense of panic. Its also known as negative visualisation.

While youre imagining it, walk yourself through how you would cope in that situation. What will happen is that your mind then has a roadmap to follow in terms of dealing with the real panic, Dr Arroll says.

This technique may sound counter-intuitive but Dr Arroll explains that it works because facing your anxiety head on can often be the best way to deal with it. Imagining yourself coping is more useful than trying to avoid the situation, Dr Arroll says, adding that, a sense of denial is one of the most detrimental things.

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Start Smacking Some Gum

Chewing gum is a well-known anti-anxiety technique. I’ve given it a try, and I gotta say there is something about gnawing away on some minty goodness that is very soothing. That’s because any repetitive activity can help distract the mind and re-focus attention, as noted in an article from McGill University. So pop some Bubblicious and get to chewing.

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Focus On Your Safe Space

I’ve had a therapist help me create a “safe place.” It’s a place you think of that’s real or imaginary where you feel safe and content. Once you have this place established you mentally place yourself there whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. I also use my bed as a safe place. It’s where I go at the end of the day and pretend that everything that’s making me anxious can’t reach me there.

How Does A Panic Attack Differ From Anxiety

5 Ways to Calm Yourself During an Anxiety Attack

You will come across quite a few mentions of anxiety attack on the Internet. The term anxiety attack is not a medically recognised term and it can mean different things.

When it comes to your mental wellbeing, being specific helps health professionals such as a general practitioner, cognitive behavioural therapist, or clinical psychologist to diagnosis and manage your symptoms effectively.

Whilst some symptoms can be similar , panic and anxiety are two very different things.

For starters, a panic attack has a very sudden onset and the symptoms are extreme. Within seconds, you may experience chest pain, trembling, and feel disconnected from your reality. Anxiety, however, tends to gradually build up across time. You may find yourself worrying excessively and feel an intensifying amount anxiety across days and weeks. Unlike panic attacks, anxiety symptoms tend to feel less intense but the symptoms may be persistent for longer periods of time .

In summary, a panic attack is different to anxiety in their intensity of symptoms and the length of time that the symptoms present themselves.

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Dont Compare Normal Stress To Their Fear Of Panic:

Sometimes people start comparing their normal stress to the fear of panic or panic attacks. However, this is something you should avoid doing, especially when you are willing to help some with panic attacks.

Maybe you have felt anxious or stressed in a dangerous situation. However, these experiences are not quite the same as someone suffering from a panic attack. You should try not to compare your normal stress or anxiety with the experiences of panic attacks in case of people you are willing to help.

We would also let you know that someone having panic attacks might also feel helpless, physical pain and discomfort, and might be unable to manage the things what is happening with them.

Take Care Of Your Physical Needs

Dont focus on whats freaking you out. Take care of your physical needs first. Havent showered/shaved? Do it. Dishes? Done. Laundry? Folded and put away. Small real-world accomplishments help bring me out of my head and back to reality. Its also really uplifting to feel clean and sexy once in a while. Feel free to pamper yourself when cleaning. Bath bomb away. Homemade spa days are the greatest.

Holly Drummond, via Facebook

A therapist once told me to schedule my worrying. I know a lot of people with anxiety disorders tend to overthink everything. Were experts at contingency plans, but this process often becomes obsessive and only makes you more anxious. She told me to schedule a time during the week where I allow myself to worry and think to my hearts content. Knowing I have a specific time to do that helped me let it go the rest of the week.

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Try Talking To Them Gently

Let them know that youre there for them, and that they are safe. They might not answer you, but if they do then you can ask them what you can do to help.

Try not to take it personally if their response isnt necessarily friendly or helpful remember that theyre unlikely to be aware of what theyre saying or how theyre coming across to you.

How To Mindfully Refocus Your Attention

5 Tips to Cope During a Panic Attack

Distraction is really referring to the practice of mindfully refocusing your attention. This is where we break the chain of worried thinking and rumination by doing something else, preferably physical. Im sure youve been there. A worried thought has popped into your mind and before you know it that thought has snowballed into a hundred other negative thoughts. That mild pain in your ankle has become something closer to bone cancer. Or that strange noise on the airplane is a failing engine. This is known as catastrophizing or catastrophic thinking. Rumination is where we get trapped inside these kinds of thoughts and suddenly find that hours have gone by and weve worked ourselves into feeling really anxious, all because of that first thought we had in the beginning.

Instead, try mindfully refocusing your attention by quickly changing your activity so that your brain has to stop and take notice of what youre doing. It can be anything but physical activities work best as your brain has to literally stop for a moment and recalibrate. Even five minutes of focusing on something else can break the pattern and free up your mind.

Here are my five personal favorite ways of mindfully refocusing:

  • Stepping outside for a few minutes to walk the dog or even just look up at the sky

  • Counting ten blue things in my environment

  • Turning on a favourite, mood-boosting song

  • Lighting a candle and watching the flame

  • Recording three things I am grateful for in a gratitude journal.

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    You Have No Reason To Be Nervous

    Most likely, the person who is having the panic attack is aware that there is no reason to be anxious. When going through a panic attack, a persons fight-or-flight stress response is triggered, making their mind and body prepare for an actual or perceived threat.

    Even if they are not in any real danger, they still may not be able to stop the attack from running its course. Reinforcing that the persons fear is unfounded can increase ones sense of anxiety.

    Instead of bringing the lack of threat to their attention, try being a voice of encouragement. Use a soothing voice and simply remind them that you are there for them.

    How To Stop A Panic Attack

    Relax! Dont Panic Relax relax.. relax.!

    We often say this to ourselves or to someone else in a situation of danger or when we feel fear, anxiety, or panic. Panic attacks are nothing but a sudden attack of fear, panic, or anxiety.

    Different people experience different symptoms like difficulty in breathing, sweating, acute chest pain and sometimes they can feel thoughtlessness too.

    Panic attacks are confused with anxiety attacks. Basically, anxiety is an ongoing phenomenon but panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear. Panic attacks are horrible and can hit anyone. So dont panic! I am going to tell you different techniques to deal with panic attacks. They are easy to execute and can make you feel better. But before that, you should have basic knowledge of a panic attack.

    What is Panic Attack?

    A panic attack is a sudden experience of extreme fear that triggers critical physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. It strikes without warning and can occur at any time, even during sleep. Panic attacks can be very terrifying. You might think that youre losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying when panic attacks occur.

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