Normally a panic attack can last anything between 10 minutes and half an hour. During this time it is very difficult to keep control of yourself and the situation – this is one of the debilitating effects of panic attacks, the fear that you will have one in public and show the world how little in control of yourself you are.
Here are some tips on how to handle yourself during a panic attack. Of course, to cure panic attacks is a different story – these tips are there to get you over an individual attack with the least amount of stress.
The most important thing to do is to try and relax. Of course this is also the most difficult thing to do since the whole point of having a panic attack is that you are feeling stressed and anxious! If you were feeling relaxed you wouldn’t be HAVING a panic attack.
One of the best ways of getting to relax is to breathe. You need to slow your breathing. Too deep breathing can cause hyperventilation again, so the trick is to breath just deep and slowly enough to slow your heartbeat and to relax. Yoga is very good for teaching breathing techniques, as well as Tai Chi. It might be worth taking up one of these two disciplines to help you with relaxation and breathing techniques for overcoming anxiety.
Keep on reminding yourself that the panic attack WILL pass. Try and ride it out, and remember that it will not last more than about half an hour at the most.
Try to think positive thoughts or even distracting thoughts. Focusing on your panic attack and how you are feeling is counter productive. Even though it might be difficult, try and push positive thoughts to your head instead of negative ones such as thinking about feeling like you are going to die, that this time you are having a heart attack or that you cannot get any air into your lungs. If you cannot think positive thoughts, at least try to eliminate the negative thoughts or try and empty your mind.
Try and confide in a friend, family member or colleague. Even though you might feel ashamed of what is happening to you, you will be surprised at how keen friends and family are to assist.
Often people who suffer from anxiety want to be alone during an attack, but they also want to know that there are people close by who could potentially help them if things get out of hand. It can be a tremendous comfort to know that you have a trusted friend or colleague at your work place or school that knows what might happen to you and that you can turn to when you feel a panic attack coming on. You might want to explain to this person that you just want him or her to be ‘there’ for you when it happens to you, and what they can do to help – either by just being close by, or by taking you to a private environment, or talking to you soothingly – whatever works for you as a panic attack treatment.

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