Panic attacks can be debilitating. Believe me, I know. But one of the worst things you can do when having a panic attack is run away. I know, everything in us is telling us to RUN, GET OUT! However, when we run, it just tells our brains, “See that place is scary. You shouldn’t be there.” Here are my suggestions on what to do in those fleeing moments.
1. Take a Time Out
It is perfectly okay to step out of the environment for a moment. Go outside, get some air. Breathe. What you are trying to do in these moments in to bring the level of anxiety down and calm yourself as much as you can. Once you reach that calm stage, even if you are reducing anxiety by half, give yourself a pep talk. “I’m doing great. I know it’s hard but it will be over soon.”
2. Don’t Hide
I think a lot of people feel that they should keep their panic attacks to themselves so no one knows. I say - tell someone you trust. You don’t have to give them your full life story. Just let them know that you need to step out. Let them know that you are feeling a little overwhelmed. More than likely they will just say okay and ask if there is anything they can do to help.
3. Reward Yourself
The best part about panic attacks, if there is a best part, is that you get to reward yourself. Don’t skip this step. It’s an important one. Your brain needs to be rewarded for going through that traumatic situation. The reward not only makes you feel good but it tells your brain that you are okay. If, during the reward, you can have a quick conversation with yourself that not only did you make it through but that space is safe, it will only help matters if/when you need to go back to that space.
My Take Away…
Panic attacks can be debilitating, I get that. But, whatever you do, don’t run. Don’t flee the situation. That only makes things worse, trust me. Instead, step out for a second and take a deep breath. Try to relax. Don’t hide your symptoms, tell someone. And, when you make it through, reward yourself.
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