Anxiety attacks - when to recognise them & how to treat them - Subtly Anxious

Anxiety attacks - when to recognise them & how to treat them

5 Steps to Calm and Reduce an Anxiety Attack

Living with anxiety can be a daily struggle, especially when anxiety attacks strike. An anxiety attack can feel overwhelming, leaving individuals paralyzed by fear and panic. However, there are steps you can take to calm and reduce an anxiety attack, regain control, and find relief. Whether you are facing an anxiety attack or helping someone else through one, follow these five crucial steps to alleviate the symptoms and regain a sense of calm.

1. Recognize the Symptoms: The first step in managing anxiety attacks is to identify the symptoms. Anxiety attacks often manifest as an intense feeling of fear or panic, accompanied by physical sensations such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, sweating, or chest tightness. By recognizing these symptoms, you can acknowledge that it is an anxiety attack and not a life-threatening situation, helping you approach it with a more rational mindset.

2. Practice Deep Breathing: Deep breathing is a crucial tool for calming anxiety attacks. Slow, deep breaths help regulate your heart rate and oxygen intake, reducing the intensity of the attack. Focus on inhaling deeply through your nose, feeling your abdomen rise, then exhaling slowly through your mouth, allowing your body to relax. Practicing deep breathing exercises can bring your focus away from the anxiety and back to your breath, promoting a feeling of relaxation.

3. Engage in Grounding Techniques: Grounding techniques are effective in redirecting your focus away from anxious thoughts and into the present moment. Here are a few techniques to try:

- Use your senses: Explore your surroundings by identifying 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. Engaging your senses helps bring your attention away from your anxious thoughts.
- Counting or reciting: Choose a category, such as types of animals or names starting with a specific letter, and count or recite as many items as you can. This mental exercise helps distract your mind from anxiety and gives you a task to focus on.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: Start from your toes and work your way up, tensing and then releasing each muscle group. This relaxation technique helps alleviate physical tension and promotes a sense of calm.

4. Challenge Negative Thoughts: Anxiety attacks often involve negative thought patterns that spiral out of control. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if they are rational or based on evidence. Remind yourself that anxiety often causes irrational thinking and that these thoughts do not reflect reality. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations or calming statements to break the cycle of anxiety. This is all part of Subtly Anxious. Empower yourself. Embrace your thoughts.(R) 

5. Seek Support: It is important to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional for support during and after an anxiety attack. Talking about your experience can provide comfort, reassurance, and help you develop coping strategies for future attacks. Additionally, consider seeking professional help if your anxiety attacks are interfering with your daily life and activities.

Struggling with anxiety attacks is a never-ending process, and everyone's experience is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. Don't be discouraged if certain techniques are not immediately effective. Explore various coping methods, and with time, patience, and persistence, you can find the strategies that work best for you.

This is not medical advice nor is it intended to be an alternative to therapy. 

If you would like to know more about our anxiety resources, head to our resources page. 


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