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How to Deal With an Anxiety Attack. 7 Methods to Get Calm

We have all been in stressful situations; it is part of life. However, when this worry causes us physical distress, this may be anxiety. One of the biggest symptoms of anxiety and related disorders is anxiety attacks. If you believe you are experiencing anxiety attacks, do not let them take over, and do not panic. There is relief.

In this article, we will help you understand what an anxiety attack is and provide methods to help you cope. We know it can be stressful and even scary, but there is hope and treatment available. Let’s get started.

What Is an Anxiety Attack?

Understanding what an anxiety attack is is the first step to healing. For example, the terminology is important here. Many people believe they are experiencing an anxiety attack, but are actually having a panic attack. These are two different terms to describe very similar experiences with a slight difference. So regardless of what you call it, is important to know what is going on in your body.

Anxiety attacks occur suddenly. They can be triggered by a memory or an upcoming event. They often happen with no warning. They last from several minutes to a half-hour. These symptoms can be intense, including:

  • Shaking;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Chills;
  • Hot flashes;
  • Stomach aches or nausea;
  • Feeling overwhelmed;
  • Chest paint;
  • Hyperventilation;
  • Inability to calm down.

If you feel like you are experiencing anxiety attacks, seek help. There are treatment options to prevent them. It is important to note that the reoccurrence of anxiety attacks makes them part of a panic disorder. This can impact someone’s ability to function daily.

However, people with an anxiety disorder may not necessarily experience panic attacks as a result of their disorder.

How to Recognize an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks happen in response to feeling stress or fear about something. They cause the person to become quickly overwhelmed. A professional can help you sort out if you are experiencing anxiety or a panic attack.

Panic attacks usually come on suddenly and out of nowhere whereas an anxiety attack may be experienced after worrying about something. Anxiety attacks can last four hours and affect you for months, so if you are experiencing this, please seek help.

Some symptoms can feel like very serious health problems. Some people report feeling like they were having a heart attack or stroke. If this is the case for you, contact your primary care doctor.

How to Get Calm

Our 7 best tips for successfully coping.

1. Practice mindfulness and breathing techniques.

Anxiety attacks cause our breathing to become abnormal, so when we can calm our breath, this helps us focus and keep our heart rate normal. These kinds of exercises can be done from anywhere and are a great tool to work through anxiety of any kind. For more information on mindfulness techniques and practices, read our other article:

2. Challenge negative thoughts.

Anxiety attacks can negatively affect our thoughts. These events put us in a state of fear and reinforce the need to panic. Instead of feeding into your symptoms, try to challenge them. Next time you have an anxiety attack try:

  • Acknowledging what you are experiencing as an anxiety attack.
  • Better assess your situation.

This will take some time, but once you get into a habit of putting yourself in the moment and being in control of your thoughts, you will better be able to manage your anxiety attacks.

3. Know your triggers.

You should start to get rid of or avoid things that trigger you. Some are obvious while others may not be. Write down what happens in a journal so you can determine if it is events, people, foods, or habits. This is also a great resource for your therapist to help you recognize your triggers.

4. Get enough sleep.

Sleep is our first line of defense for most things. Once your mind and body have time to rest, it helps set you up for a better day. It can stabilize your moods and help you focus better. Try to sleep at the same time each night (including weekends). After doing this, your body will adjust and it will be easier for you to fall asleep.

5. Distract yourself from symptoms.

Anxiety attacks can be very difficult to cope with, no matter how long you have experienced them. Instead of trying to do an exercise, sometimes it can be just as helpful to distract yourself from symptoms until you have calmed down enough. This can happen by playing a song or a game or visualizing you are somewhere else. As long as you are distracted, even for a little while, you will be able to become more relaxed more quickly.

6. Connect with others.

Isolating yourself from others can make your symptoms worse. Talk to friends, family, or support groups. Making these positive social connections can help you keep up communication with others and feel supported. Remind yourself that there are people to talk to when you feel anxiety coming on.

7. Avoid comparison.

This can be a trap we all fall into. When you feel like you do not have it together, do not look left to right at other people. You will never move forward that way. Focus on living your life to the best of your ability and accept yourself for who you are. Some people do things more quickly than others and that is okay! If it is meant to be, it will be in its own time.

When to Get Professional Help

Sometimes self-help methods do not fix the problem as much as we would like. When your anxiety or anxiety attacks start affecting your day-to-day life and interactions with others, it is time for professional help.

You should find professional help if you experience symptoms regularly. It is important to get these checked to rule out any underlying conditions. Your doctor will want to get a better understanding of what is going on behind the scenes.

Depending on your anxiety levels, your doctor may recommend different treatment methods. You may be referred to a therapist. If you are not ready for in-person therapy, online therapy is a great option. Anxiety affects everyone differently, but working with a professional to understand it and receive support is the best way to cope.

Anxiety attacks and therapy

Having a therapist to talk to about your problems will not only help you move forward but gain a better understanding of the situation. Therapists are licensed and experienced professionals who are there to help you with various problems in your life. Many people turn to therapy when they are spiraling and need guidance. When you learn how to control your anxiety, you improve your quality of life.

Talk therapy is the most common treatment for anxiety. The method used will depend on you and your therapist. Counseling can help patients create strategies for coping with stress while psychotherapy can help regulate emotions and manage stress. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on thought patterns and how to make them more positive. All approaches are valid, just different based on your own personal needs.

Working with therapists has many long-term benefits. Interested in getting started? On Mental Treat, we have a variety of licensed professionals who specialize in anxiety treatment and are available in-person and online. Working with our professionals means learning coping skills that will help you regain control of your life and your anxiety. Simply access the platform here and filter to find the right professional for you.

A Word From Mental Treat

It can feel like your life is out of your control when you are coping with anxiety, but we ask you to take a moment and reflect. Sometimes stepping away from the the situation can help you recognize your emotions and think more clearly about your situation. What do you need to do in order to get your anxiety under control? What are the positives of prioritizing mental health?

Take control of what you can control to navigate these difficult moments. It may help you see the situation in ways you did not before. Looking for more information on anxiety? Check out these other articles from our blog:

We hope you found this article informative and helpful. Best of luck with your journey to recovery and healing. Take care, and be well.

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