Sunday, June 9, 2024

How To Handle A Panic Attack At Work

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Acceptance Of Your Symptoms

How to Deal with Panic Attacks In The Workplace

As Torres from The Huff Post explains These symptoms can be scary, but instead of shying away from the bodys discomfort, people should accept their circumstances to make the panic attack shorter.

Avoidant behavior is the main source of our anxiety, especially if we are in denial avoiding feeling what we are feeling at that specific moment.

Confronting our feelings is the fastest way to recover from a panic attack, since intentionally confronting or exposing yourself to the thing you fear will undoubtedly fill you with anxiety but reprogramming your brain to surrender instead of controlling or fighting it may eventually help you tremendously.

Try To Avoid Daily Stresses

Taking measures to reduce day-to-day stress can also help, too. There are things that you can do day to day, such as eating healthy meals to keep on top of your physical health, and getting regular exercise, Drake says. If you are finding that you are experiencing increased panic or anxiety, then avoiding caffeine will help as this is known to contribute and make panic worse.

It might also be a good idea to incorporate some simple breathing exercises into your routine, or even use them before a stressful event or meeting for example, she adds.

This will help to not only keep your breathing regulated, but it can also help you focus and feel more at ease.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Accept The Things You Cant Change

Changing a difficult situation isnât always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.

âIf your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, thereâs nothing you can do about it,â says Professor Cooper.

âIn a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.â

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Try To Find Evidence For Your Fear

When trying to stop a panic attack, you need to get to the root cause of it: your fear. Many times are fears are exaggerated in our mind. Our imagination can play some terrifying tricks on us. A simple way to stop panic attacks is to first label what the situation or trigger is. For example, an upcoming wedding. Then, list your feelings such as anxious, paranoid, scared, etc. Next, name the unhelpful thoughts that youre having. For example, feeling like youre in danger, feeling like youre about to die. Then, list the facts that support your unhelpful thought.

Keep in mind they need to be facts not beliefs. You might have some weird coincidences that you can list but that wont be considered actual evidence. Then, list facts that provide evidence against the unhelpful thought. For example, maybe youre still young and healthy so you likely arent about to die. Next, provide an alternative and more realistic. Next, focus on reevaluate you how currently feel. This is the Thought Record you can fill out to help you.

Chatting With Supervisors And Co

How to Handle Panic Attacks at Work

To minimize any damage to your professional relationships, consider telling your supervisors and human resource staff members you suffer from panic attacks. You can inform co-workers, too, if you feel comfortable doing so and think it will help the situation.

Remember, it is illegal for anyone to discriminate against you because of a mental illness, including a panic disorder.

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How Can I Help Someone Else Whos Having A Panic Attack

The most important thing you can do is stay calm. This situation might be scary for you. But the person having a panic attack might have no sense of time and could feel like the world is closing in on them. So its crucial to reassure them and let them know that they are safe. Then, ask what you can do to help them feel better. Offer a glass of water or your hand to hold. Some people may ask you to leave them alone. And, in those cases, you should respect their wishes.

Give them the space they need without taking offense. Let them know that their panic response is valid and that they will be OK . If you think this panic attack could be something more severe, ask if you can reach out to a family member or friend. In some cases, it might be appropriate to call 911 for medical attention.

Consider Getting Covered By The Ada

Contact an attorney that is knowledgeable about the ADA. If you have a diagnosed medical condition and your workplace has at least fifteen employees, you may be covered by ADA. Panic disorder, along with other brain-based disorders, is seen as an invisible disability, and may require you to disclose your panic disorder diagnosis to your employer. Consult with an attorney first disclosing a medical condition to your employer can have side effects. Disclosing to your employer that you have panic disorder may make you protected by the ADA, meaning that they cannot fire or demote you due to issues related to panic disorder. You may also qualify for accommodations, such as taking more frequent breaks than your colleagues. Be aware that an employer may deny accommodations if the accommodation would interfere with an essential part of the employees job.

A stigma still remains with brain-related medical disorders including panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. You may be treated differently by people if word gets around the office that you have panic disorder. Its an unfortunate reality that employees have faced. Although information about your medical condition is supposed to be kept confidential, you cant guarantee that someone in the office isnt going to gossip to someone else. Contact an attorney to see if you can be covered by the ADA and if the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder may have:

  • Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
  • A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
  • Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
  • An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
  • A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

Calming Step : Have A Script Ready

How To Deal With Panic Attacks

A panic attack can fill your head with racing, negative thoughts, which can keep the panic going and make you feel worse. But you can wield a powerful weapon against them: A script of positive thoughts.

Write down encouraging words you can read to yourself during a panic attack, Dr. Josell says. Your script should answer the negative thoughts. So if you feel like youre going to pass out, tell yourself you wont. If you feel like youre dying, tell yourself you wont die from a panic attack. The words you hear are powerful, and over time, they become your truth.

Ideally, write your script when youre feeling calm. Tuck it in your pocket or purse or type it into your smartphone notes so its easy to access.

If youre in the middle of a panic attack and dont have your script, you can fight negative thoughts on the fly. Try repeating in your mind or out loud phrases like, Im strong, and I can handle this, or This is only temporary, and it will pass.

Your script helps you deal with an attack that arises, but its a preventive measure, too. It can calm your fear of having another panic attack because you know youre in control. The more confident you are that you can manage a panic attack, the less likely you are to have future attacks.

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Give Yourself A Simple Massage

In order to stop panic attacks, youll need to help yourself relax. Unfortunately, going to the spa regularly can be out of some peoples price range. So youll have to practice pampering yourself. There are a few spots that do the trick.

When having a panic attack, massage the top part of your nose between the eyes. Just move your finger up and down gently to help you relax. You can also massage your wrists or feet. Sometimes rubbing your chest above the heart can help you unwind. Some people rub ice on themselves in a massaging motion to help stop panic attacks. So you can try that too!

What Are Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are more common in people who have a type of anxiety disorder, but anyone can experience them, says Emma Mamo, head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind.

Panic attacks can be a really horrible experience, but its important to remember that they will pass. They tend to be over in a matter of minutes , and are surprisingly common.

Panic attacks feel like an alien has taken over your body, says Dr Perpetua Neo, a Psychologist and Executive Coach. They are physiologically and psychologically exhausting. Theyre often your body screaming at you that something isnt right in your life.

Whether its something in your personal life, or something at work, the feelings of conflict/anxiety that surround it could lead to a panic attack anywhere.

Neo goes on to advise that often, we try to rationalise our fears away which essentially makes the problem worse.

We oscillate between living in our head and escaping our heads in what I call Cognitive Photostop, she explains, a concept where we use our intellect to explain away and attempt to bypass experiences, avoiding dealing with them.

We often arent aware we might be experiencing High-Functioning Anxiety, because we subscribe to the stereotype that a person with anxiety is completely unable to function and hides under the covers every day, chewing their nails. And then our body erupts in panic attacks to signal its time to stop managing the situation, and start getting to the root and mastering it.

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Close Your Eyes And Breathe

Whenever you find yourself having a panic attack, take a moment to lie down, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Then out. In. Then Out. In. Out. Breathing deep naturally helps slow your heart rate to help you calm your anxiety. Taking the time to focus on your breath helps move your mind into the present inside of the past or future. Find time each day to get that quiet moment to yourself just to breathe. The more you practice mindful breathing, the fewer panic attacks youll have.

Top 3 Exercises For Relieving Anxiety

How To Handle Panic Attacks at Workplace

The exercises discussed above are useful tools your client can use to prevent and control a panic attack.

They might also find it useful to know techniques for managing generalized anxiety that might exist in the broader context of their panic attacks.

As you learned above, anxiety can act as a sensitizing factor, making it more likely for a panic attack to occur. In a more general sense, your client may find it easier to engage with their therapy and maintain a positive attitude if they feel confident controlling their everyday mental health.

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How To Handle Panic Attacks At Work

Feeling like the worlds going to end, youre about to die, or youre going mad Struggling to breathe, pains in your chest, dizziness, feelings of terror

These symptoms are all too familiar for nearly 1% of the UK population roughly 600,000 people. And despite trends around workplace happiness and reducing stress for employees, panic attacks involving all of the above can happen in the workplace just as easily as anywhere else.

Know Your Goals Mission And Vision

To ensure thateverything runs smoothly, there are three important things you should know:

  • Where you are today. Be able toidentify who your customers are, how your product can solve your customerproblems or address their needs.
  • What you are doing now. Evaluateyour current marketing approaches. What are the things youve done that areworking? Is your website performing as it should? What types of campaigns giveyou the best results? Have you activated any campaign automations?
  • Where you are headed. Pictureyourself 5 or 10 years from now. Where do you want to be? Marketing takes timeand effort. And it all begins with knowing your business.

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Some People May Develop Panic Disorders

For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.

How To Handle A Panic Attack At Work: 10 Simple Ways

How to handle a panic attack

Swarnakshi Sharma

Panic attacks can be very scary and challenging to handle but the challenge can be even more when youre dealing with a panic attack at work. At our workplace, worries and anxieties about what our coworkers would think of us can even raise your panic.

If youre overly concerned about having a panic attack at work in front of your managers, coworkers, or supervisors then your overall well-being might be affected and can make your workplace a not-so-safe place to work. Such behaviors can also cause severe conditions and can make an existing panic disorder even worse.

For example,

in a recent news piece that I read, it was reported that a Kentucky man experienced a panic attack after his employer threw him a workplace birthday party against his wishes. Kevin Berling, a man with an anxiety disorder, had told his manager that he did not want his birthday celebrated at work because it would cause him significant stress. His wishes were either ignored or did not reach the concerned ears.

This surprise party caused the man to have an anxiety attack. When called in the next day to discuss his reaction, he had another panic attack after the managers accused him of stealing other coworkers joy. He was told to leave work afterward and fired the same week over email.

When serious mental health disorders are not taken seriously, they can cause us to feel ashamed about our condition and feel concerned that well lose our job over it.

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Splash Cold Water On Your Face

Hey, while you’re in the bathroom, do yourself a favor and splash some cold water on your face. “Sometimes we have a biological reaction that is ingrained in ourselves that creates an automatic panic state,” says therapist Brian Pollack, LCSW, CEDS. “You can reverse this by holding putting cold water on your hands and face. If that doesn’t work, try some ice packs on your forehead.” I know it sounds strange, but it really does work.

Build A Support Network

You may keep your panic secret from coworkers. However, you may want to confide in trusted family, friends and healthcare professionals. The people who make up your support network have an impact on your journey to wellness and recovery.

Having social support can help relieve the stress you may feel about your job and ease the loneliness you may feel when hiding your symptoms at work.

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Nobody Has To Confront Panic Attacks Alone

Panic attacks can be a tough thing to confront, but its important to remember that theyre treatable, and nobody has to confront them alone.

Whether its you, or someone you work with, as soon as the person is ready, the support is there to guide them through this process, so they shouldnt be afraid to reach out for help.

Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques

Panic Attack at Work: How to Handle Panic Attacks at the Workplace ...

Muscle tension is a symptom of anxiety, and muscle relaxation techniques can help reduce tension and promote relaxation during an attack. Progressive muscle relaxation aims to release tension in one group of muscles at a time to relax the whole body.

Much like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack in its tracks by controlling your bodys response as much as possible.

If you attend muscle relaxation therapy, your therapist might take you through the following

  • First, you may learn how to tense the muscles before releasing the tension.
  • Then, you will learn how to relax the muscles without tensing them first.
  • You may also learn how to relax specific sets of muscles, for example, in the shoulders, for practical use in everyday situations.
  • Finally, you may learn how to practice rapid relaxation, when you can identify any areas of tension and release it as needed.

To start relaxing your muscles at home, consciously relax one muscle at a time, starting with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way up through your body.

Muscle relaxation techniques will be most effective when youve practiced them beforehand.

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Breathe Along With This Gif

I know, you aren’t supposed to browse the internet at work. But if you’re feeling panicky, don’t hesitate to sneak away and breathe along with this GIF. “When you are having a moment of panic, creating air flow to your brain is key,” Pollack says. So breathe in as the GIF expands, and out as it collapses.

Hopefully, you’ll feel better soon.

Images: Pexels

Tips For Overcoming New Job Anxiety

Kristen Fuller


If you get butterflies in your stomach before starting a new job, youre not alone. New job anxiety is common. Many firms offer new hire orientation and onboarding to alleviate the anxiety thats natural when starting a new job. Check out our experts advice and 12 tips to manage new hire anxiety those first nerve-wracking days on the job.

If a new job is triggering feelings of anxiety that are distracting or overwhelming, speak with a therapist who specializes in stress and anxiety. Work with an anxiety specialist to develop healthy coping skills and strategies so feelings of anxiousness dont control you and your life.

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