For the uninitiated, a panic attack striking out of the blue can be akin to having a heart attack. The symptoms are very similar, very real and very scary.
Out of nowhere you suddenly have intense, overwhelming anxiety, accompanied by physical symptoms. Whilst not life threatening, these can leave you feeling very shaken and frightened, and the worst panic attacks can have you believe you’re going to die.
If you know that what is happening to you isn’t going to kill you, even though it feels like it might – the adrenalin causing your heart to pump really fast, and your body needing more oxygen in readiness to run, therefore making you breath quicker – you will be better equipped to handle the situation.
By simply knowing more about panic attacks should mean that the next time you feel one coming on, or you’re in the clutches of one, something should flag up in the back of your mind, reminding you about panic attacks.
Lay off the stimulants until the symptoms have passed, you’ll only put unnecessary stress on your body. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking, as these have a tendency to make panic attacks worse
Learn how to control your breathing. Hyperventilation (as you desperately try to suck in the oxygen your body is screaming for) won’t help you. Instead try and do breathing exercises that lengthen your breaths. It will help calm you down and put you back in control.
You should start to feel better almost immediately, but expect to feel tired too, you’ve just expended a lot of energy.
Learn calming techniques from yoga and/or meditation. They not only teach you how to calm yourself and remain in control of your situation and your breathing, but they are also enjoyable practices that give you respite from any anxiety.
Exercise as regularly as you can and try and get a good night’s sleep. Even the calmest among us will suffer if we don’t have enough shut eye.
As well as self-help techniques, professional treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy can help you better understand your specific triggers, by focussing on thinking patterns and checking your behaviour.
Because wouldn’t you rather live a life free of panic attacks, than know how to deal with an attack when it strikes?
As an ex-athlete I’ve always advocated the benefits of keeping in shape physically, but it’s just as important to look after your mental wellbeing. Book a session with Wendy, she’s the person to help you look after your brain just as you would your body.
5 x Olympic Skier and presenter of BBC Ski Sunday.
Dare to dream big and Wendy’s THE person to help get you there.
X Factor winner with a long list of sell out tour successes under her belt.
The most exciting thing in the world is getting a chance to tear it all up and start again. Keep all the things you want and throw out everything you don’t. Wendy will help you do just that!
Beauty, lifestyle and fashion blogging sensation Becky Sheeran (TalkBeckyTalk)
It’s great to have a leading psychotherapist such as Wendy in the Cheshire area, outside of her Harley Street practice. After publicly raising awareness of mental health issues and myself recovering from depression, I know how immensely life-changing expert intervention can be.
Retired ex-professional football who played for Bury, Wigan, Stoke, Preston, Norwich, Leicester and Brighton during a 14 year career. After leaving professional football, Jason battled depression and recovered with the help of therapy and family support.