Controlling anxiety and panic attacks: 5 practical tips

October 28, 2015

Anxiety attacks involve a rush of adrenaline that can make you feel apprehensive, afraid and even increase your heart rate. Panic attacks can be more serious since they cause your heart to race, breathlessness, uncontrollable shaking and a feeling of helplessness. Either one can be frightening.  Here are five practical tips to help control them.

Controlling anxiety and panic attacks: 5 practical tips

1. Recognize and accept the situation

Not everyone has the same symptoms during a panic attack.

  • When you recognize what causes your fears and anxieties, it's vital to tell yourself that these attacks are not harmful to the body, the attack you are feeling will not last forever and that you are not going to suffocate.

2. Try breathing and counting

As soon as you feel an attack starting, breathe calmly to stop the release of adrenalin.

  • To start, inhale slowly and hold each breath for a while before letting it our slowly and fully. Silently count to five as you hold your breath.
  • Focusing on your breathing will teach you breath control, allowing your body to relax and avoid hyperventilation.

3. Avoid cigarettes caffeine, drugs and alcohol

Stay away from caffeinated drinks and drugs, as they affect the nervous system and can make you feel more nervous.

  • Nicotine in cigarettes also reaches the brain via the blood stream and is known to affect peoples' moods.

4. Aim for a healthier lifestyle

It's important to get ample fresh air if you suffer from panic attacks.

  • Walking and enjoying a change of scenery will take your mind off your fears and allow you to focus on other subjects.
  • Lack of sleep can only create more anxiety. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

5. Seek professional help

If your panic attacks worsen, you may be susceptible to developing a panic disorder, a condition that typically affects more women than men.

  • If you have recurrent panic attacks, with more than four attacks per month and have an intense fear about the possibility of future attacks, there's a chance you may be suffering from a panic disorder.

In such case, seek help from your family doctor who can steer you in the right direction towards getting the help that you might need.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy examines the way you perceive the situation that leads to the panic attack and can help treat panic disorders.

Panic attacks and heart attacks

Although alarming, panic attacks are usually not fatal. During an attack you may breathe more rapidly than normal. When this happens, the brain receives too much oxygen and as a result you may become dizzy and perhaps even feel as though you're having the symptoms of a heart attack.

  • If the symptoms still really concern you, there's no harm having it checked out by a healthcare professional.

So keep these five expert tips in mind to help you control your anxiety and panic attacks. And if you feel like you should seek help for your anxiety or panic attacks, don't hesitate to do so.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu