There are lots of ways to handle a panic attack. There has always been a stigma about mental illness, and that is just now beginning to change. Over 40 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety and many don’t know how to properly handle a panic attack. I’m one of those 40 million people, so I wanted to share the best ways to handle a panic attack that I use when I'm suffering from one.
1. The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique
Pick out 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. This will ground you and help you regain a sense of control. This is one of the most commonly recommended ways to handle a panic attack.
2. Deep, Controlled Breathing
Take in a slow, deep breath through your nose while counting to five. Place one hand on your chest and the other over your diaphragm. The hand on your chest should stay still and the one on your diaphragm should raise with your breath. This technique is how to tell if you’re truly breathing deeply.
3. Have a Conversation (if You Can Speak)
Talking to someone about anything at all will help you focus on something other than your panic attack and will help you calm down more quickly.
4. Relax the Muscles in Your Body
The more quickly you relax your muscles, the faster your body uses up the stress hormones which caused the stress response. I do this by isolating the muscle groups in my body and consciously relaxing each group from my toes to my neck.