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Your Handy Guide for Coping with Panic Attacks

Ever had one? Panic attacks feel awful in the moment and often seem to come out of nowhere. Sometimes they can be past trauma coming back as a bodily reaction rather than a memory. Your body isn't able to tell the difference that it is not in danger. This is why sometimes these intense episodes don't make sense when they happen. If you have ever felt paralyzed by anxiety, like you can't move, or like you will be sick, you are not alone. Your hands might feel tingly, you can feel hot, have dry mouth, or your heart might be beating fast and in my experience, I broke out in a rash on my chest.

Here is what can help you the next time this happens:

Remind yourself this is a panic attack and you aren't in real danger. It feels like you are going to die but you aren’t. Your body can't stay in fight or flight mode for hours, most panic attacks peak within 10-15 mins and rarely last more than an hour. This feeling will pass.

Focus on your breathing. Slow and steady breaths, with the out breath being longer than the inhale.

Practice grounding yourself in the here by naming something you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Splash your face with cold water or let an ice cube melt in your hand.

Practice relaxing your body. Do some dancing, jumping jacks, anything to relax your muscles and help you feel less tense. At least move around from room to room.

It is helpful to show yourself compassion as you try to relinquish control. We are all trying to find a sense of control in our worlds but this is simply not possible in all situations and we must know when to let go and trust in ourselves and the world.

Remind yourself no matter what, you will get through it, just like you did the past.

Give your brain a moment to find its rational centres its temporarily lost touch with.

Finally, remember it takes time to learn these skills. And it takes practice - it helps to try some of these techniques before you really need them.

There is help available! Reach out if you need it.

~ Laura

We're here if you want to talk :) Take the first step and call us for an appointment ...(506) 651-1239

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