There’s nothing worse than anxiety or panic attacks. The rush of cortisol makes your body go into fight or flight mode. During these heightened periods, you may feel like things are spinning out of control and that your life is in danger. Here are the most common symptoms that you’re having a panic attack and how to overcome them.
1. Your Heart is Racing, or You have Palpitations
Palpitations are one of the most common signs of a panic attack. The extra adrenaline rush causes the heart rate to increase. If your heart begins to race at a fast pace, you should use a couple of tricks to slow it down. First, deep breathing exercises can bring your pulse back into proper rhythm. Also, you should try bearing down on the muscles you use for a bowel movement. The racing heart often stops within 5-10 minutes once the attack is over.
2. You’re Dizzy
People describe dizziness in various ways, and it’s prevalent in anxiety. You may see the room spinning, or you may feel off balance. Some feel as if they are going to pass out. The best way to combat this feeling is to sit still and put your head in a downward position. The dizziness most generally will pass with the attack. If you get up and try to move, you may fall and get hurt. Just wait for your anxiety levels to lower, and things should go back to normal.
3. You Feel Like You Are Dying
The first thing most people think or feel of during an attack is that they are dying. A heart attack mimics many of the same symptoms of a panic attack. While time is of the essence in a heart attack, you’re in no real danger of death during a spell of heightened anxiety. You may feel that you are having a single point of failure and things are shutting down, but this is not true.
When you feel these waves of fear rush over you, remind yourself that it’s temporary. While you should be concerned about your heart, if you know you have recurring panic, then you should tell yourself that it’s happened before, and you made it through okay.
4. You Can’t Breathe
One of the main issues during a panic attack is that you can start hyperventilating or your airway feels restricted. Have your doctor prescribe an inhaler to help you breathe properly. Try the old breathing in a paper bag trick if you feel that you have labored breathing because you cannot get enough air. Feeling short of breath is very common with panic.
Being disoriented can be very scary. Derealization or depersonalization is a common thing when having a panic attack. Some people feel that things look like a cartoon, or their surroundings appears off. This can be a sign that an attack is coming, and you can start breathing to get through it. Calming yourself can do wonders. During the anxiety spell, you may also feel confused, scared, and don’t know what to do. The best thing is to find a comfortable area and try to go to your happy place mentally.
Lastly, keep in mind that the bigger deal you make of your attack the worst it will be. Rather than playing into the fear, you need to learn to control it. Taking deep breaths and slowly letting them out can help to get the proper amount of oxygen to the body and help to calm you down. Once you learn to manage your attacks correctly, then won’t be as bad. Sure, they are still uncomfortable and challenging to deal with, but you can learn how to manage them by taking control.