How to Stop a Panic Attack
Does stress sometimes get the best of you? If you are like most people you probably fall into this category. We deal with a number of stress issues in modern life. Some have jobs that are sedentary. Maybe you are having sleep issues or relationship problems. Possibly you don’t have enough quality time because you have taken on too much responsibility? Perhaps you have taken on the care of an elderly parent or you are just a type “A” perfectionist.
Stress can come in varying degrees but it always diminishes our lives. Panic attacks
and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are probably the worst forms of stress. For many cases you will need some cognitive therapy but I want to show you a simple technique that you can use anywhere, anytime, without anyone around you being aware that you are decompressing. This also works to lower your blood pressure. It just takes a couple of minutes. Try it! You’ll be amazed at how quickly something so simple can work!
Square Breathing Technique
* Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor (This is not necessary but do it if possible)
* Take a breath in through your nose while counting slowly to 4
* Hold the breath in for another slow count of 4
* Exhale through your mouth for a slow count of 4
* Hold again for a slow count of 4
* Continue 1-5 minutes or until you begin to feel calm.
Use this square breathing technique anytime you find yourself in a trying circumstance that could induce a panic attack or if you feel one coming on. A panic attack is an extension of our fright/ flight mechanism and whether you are in real or imagined danger it makes little difference because that portion of your brain makes no distinction. It is preparing you to fight for your life or run until you are out of danger. Psychologically, we sense danger then physiologically our bodies react….heavy breathing and rapid heartbeat. If you are not running or fighting or doing some other physically strenuous activity you may easily mistake these symptoms as a heart attack.
The square breathing technique overrides that part of the brain in two ways. First it causes the heart to slow down secondly slow and steady breathing directly causes the brain to release a variety of chemicals that tells the body, “All is well; it is safe now”.
If you have never had a panic attack before and you experience these symptoms it is best to err on the side of safety. Get medical help immediately.