Fear is the normal response we have to an immediate threat of danger or pain. While it’s completely normal to feel anxious, people with anxiety attacks experience excessive fear and worry of everyday situations, with little or nothing to provoke them.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 30% of American adults experience an anxiety attack every year Anxiety attacks can cause people to avoid the situations that trigger the symptoms interfering greatly with their daily activities. Anxiety attacks are sudden and overwhelming, but there are proven ways to lower your anxiety and think more clearly. Here are 5 best ways to stop anxiety attacks;
1. Control your breathing One of the most common symptoms of an anxiety attack is rapid breathing and shortness of breath. The first thing you should try when you have an anxiety attack is to breathe deeply in order to control your breathing pattern. Immediately you recognize you are having an anxiety attack practice the following technique;
- Place your hand firmly on your stomach
- Take a deep breath for about 5-7 seconds •Hold your breath for about 3-4 seconds
- Exhale gently with pursed lips•Repeat the technique a few times If possible, open a window and breath some fresh air and keep practice your breathing.
The trick is to control your breathing. If you control your breathing, you will prevent rapid breathing which can significantly increase your anxiety and other unpleasant symptoms.
2. Acceptance Acknowledging the source of your discomfort will go a long way in reducing your anxiety attack. Remind yourself that you are experiencing an anxiety attack and it isn’t a catastrophe. Accepting that the attack, no matter how unpleasant, will end after a short period can significantly help someone remain calm. If you have experience anxiety attacks before, try to remind yourself that previous attacks passed and this too will pass.
3. Practice Mindfulness Most anxiety attacks happen when people imagine something bad happening either in the past or in the future. Mindfulness brings you back to the present and it can help you manage your situation better. Take deep breaths and concentrate on what is happening now
If you are new to practicing mindfulness and are having a hard time concentrating, use the following technique;
- Take a seat and place your hands on your thighs.
- Name out loud 5 things you can see, then 5 things you can hear and finally five things you can touch
- Repeat the technique a few times until you feel you are back to the present
4. Go to your happy place Close your eyes and imagine being in the place where you feel happiest and most relaxed. Think about how calming the place usually is for you. Try to refocus all your energy there. Remember how it felt to be so happy and relaxed. The goal is to focus all your attention away from what triggered the anxiety attack in the first place.
5. Relax your body Relaxing your body improves your mood and helps you curb the anxiety attack.
Perform muscle relaxation techniques like light aerobic exercises. They will release the endorphin hormones, which will help in reducing your symptoms.