A panic attack is a brief outburst of overwhelming stress. It happens without warning and rather unpredictably and has a tendency to occur in public places for example a busy supermarket or a cramped airlift. The symptoms start abruptly with a sense of breathing trouble, chest pains, palpitations, feeling lightheaded and dizzy, sweating, trembling and faintness, rapid, shallow respiration and pins and needles. Although quite disagreeable and distressing, panic attacks typically last for just a couple of minutes, cause no physical injury and are seldom related to a serious physical illness.

Just how to help yourself:

  • Exercise can be quite helpful by redirecting the thoughts and relieving mental strain. In addition, it raises the flow of blood to the brain. Studies show that jogging for 30 minutes three times a week is as effective as psychotherapy in treating depression and will work just as well for you. So, if you’re able to, establish a routine of regular exercise – walking, swimming or whatever attractiveness. Begin slowly, building up to a more lively speed as you progress.
  • Avoid junk food and sugar and increase your consumption of wholegrain cereal, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, low fat dairy products and fish. The amino
  • acid tryptophan was discovered to ease stress and natural sources contain turkey, chicken, fish, peas, nuts and peanut butter; where possible you should eat them with a carb for example potatoes, pasta or rice, which eases the brain’s uptake of tryptophan.
  • You may also find it helpful to use essential oil of clary sage (available from health food stores and drugstores). This is both a strong relaxant and emotionally uplifting. It facilitates mental fatigue and depression and helps bring great slumber. Place two to three drops into a bowl of steaming water and inhale or add a bit to your bath water. You could also put four to six drops on a tissue when you’re going out and inhale whenever you feel especially stressed.
  • Passion flower and valerian root taken as a tea or tincture have a relaxing effect. Some individuals also have located ginger, cayenne pepper, dandelion root and Siberian ginseng to have helpful, relaxing properties.
  • Immediate help during a panic attack: In addition, you should have a way of relaxing immediately when you’re in public if you feel a panic attack coming on and you’ll have the ability to do that once you’ve got used to practising relaxation techniques in your own time at home. Try the following activity

When you’re outside. (I believe it’s a particularly great one to try when you’re waiting in a queue.)

  1. Stand as comfortably and as relaxed as you can.
  2. Take a deep breath to the count of five, and after that breathe slowly out.
  3. Emotionally tell all your muscles to relax.
  4. Repeat this two or three times until you’re feeling relaxed.
  5. Picture yourself in a nice scenario for example walking along a seashore, or sitting in a lovely garden.

If you end up hyperventilating (breathing rapidly and shallowly) cover your mouth and nose with a little paper bag and breathe into it for a couple of minutes. You are going to soon feel much more composed. During an episode focus as hard as you can on something you can see, including the design on the carpet or an image on the wall. Remain composed. Attempt to continue with what you were doing but take it slowly.

Additional help: Panic attacks may be a symptom of a more deep seated issue which will be helped by counselling (see Mental treatments, reverse). This could be a means of finding your own inner resources – resources you may have forgotten you possess due to your current stress.