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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Linder

5 Effective Strategies to Halt a Panic Attack in Its Tracks



Panic attacks can be overwhelming, debilitating, and frightening experiences. They often strike without warning, leaving individuals feeling powerless and out of control. We understand the impact panic attacks can have on mental well-being. I know from experience as I literally just had one earlier today. Yup that's right, Counselors can have panic attacks too. That's why we're dedicated to providing practical strategies to help you regain control and stop panic attacks in their tracks. In this blog post, we'll explore five effective techniques to manage and mitigate panic attacks. Please note, while these can help you there is no guarantee. Please seek out a therapist if you need to explore other options.


1. Deep Breathing Exercises:

One of the most powerful tools for managing panic attacks is deep breathing exercises. When a panic attack hits, your body enters a state of hyperarousal, leading to rapid breathing and a surge of adrenaline. Deep breathing techniques help counteract these physiological responses by activating the body's relaxation response.


To practice deep breathing, find a comfortable position and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process several times until you begin to feel a sense of calm wash over you.


2. Grounding Techniques:

Grounding techniques are another effective way to combat panic attacks by redirecting your focus away from overwhelming thoughts and sensations. These techniques work by engaging your senses and bringing your awareness back to the present moment.


One simple grounding technique involves naming five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. By actively engaging your senses in this way, you can anchor yourself in the present moment and alleviate feelings of panic.


3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation technique that involves systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body. By alternating between tension and relaxation, you can release physical tension and promote a sense of relaxation throughout your body.


To practice progressive muscle relaxation, start by tensing the muscles in your feet and then slowly work your way up to your head, progressively tensing and relaxing each muscle group. As you release tension from your body, you'll also experience a reduction in feelings of panic and anxiety.


4. Mindfulness Meditation:

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful practice for managing panic attacks by cultivating awareness and acceptance of present-moment experiences. By practicing mindfulness meditation regularly, you can develop greater resilience to stress and anxiety, making it easier to cope with panic attacks when they arise.


To practice mindfulness meditation, find a quiet space and sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Bring your attention to the sensations of your breath as it moves in and out of your body. When thoughts or emotions arise, simply observe them without judgment and gently bring your focus back to your breath.


5. Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques:

Cognitive-behavioral techniques are therapeutic strategies that focus on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with panic attacks. By identifying and challenging irrational beliefs, you can develop more adaptive ways of thinking and responding to stressful situations.


One effective cognitive-behavioral technique for managing panic attacks is cognitive restructuring. This involves identifying and challenging distorted thoughts that contribute to feelings of panic and replacing them with more realistic and balanced perspectives. CBT not your thing? Talk to your therapist about DBT skills instead. DBT is typically Emily and I's favorite.


Resources for Support:

1. Go to the nearest emergency room or call 911

2. Call/text the suicide hotline at 988

3. Psychology Today's Therapist Directory: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists


Conclusion:

Panic attacks can be frightening and overwhelming, but they don't have to control your life. As a bonus one, the one that helped me today was ice/cold. I grabbed a ice pack and put it on my chest. My body reacts to the cold very quickly so it is my way re-gaining control which then allows me to do deep breathing and some of these other ones. Remember, you're not alone, and support is available. These are very basic techniques, your therapist can go into much more detail with these. If you're struggling with panic attacks, don't hesitate to reach out to a qualified mental health professional for guidance and support. If you are in the state of Ohio we are taking new clients and would be happy to help you navigate your journey toward greater well-being and resilience. When in doubt, please use one of the resources above if needed.



Disclaimer: This content is NOT meant to be a replacement for therapy. This is also not treatment advice or crisis services. The purpose of this content is to provide education and some corny fun. If you are interested in receiving therapy look up a therapist near you! If you are in the state of Ohio visit www.calibrationscc.com to schedule with one of our counselors today! We offer free video consultation calls so you can make sure we will be a good fit for you.

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