Most people will feel anxious in certain situations. Especially when coping with stressful events or changes that could have a big impact on their life.
Let’s face it, living through a global pandemic has been stressful and anxious for all of us.
Anxiety is a natural human response. But in some cases, people can experience severe anxiety or panic attacks.
We’ll look at what might be the triggers for these panic attacks and explore some strategies that could help you cope with them.
Panic attacks are an exaggerated version of your body's normal response to danger, stress or excitement.
A panic attack can happen quickly, with physical symptoms that can include:
You could experience a panic attack at any time. It will differ from person to person.
Someone may experience one and then never have another. While some people may experience them regularly.
In some instances, a place, situation or activity might trigger a panic attack.
They can come on very quickly and most panic attacks will last between 5 to 20 minutes.
If you're having lots of panic attacks at unpredictable times and with no specific trigger or cause, you might be given a diagnosis of panic disorder.
Everyone experiences anxiety I different ways. This makes it hard to know exactly what causes anxiety and triggers panic attacks.
It could be because of:
Living with anxiety and panic attacks can be difficult and frightening, but there are steps you can take that might help.
Here are some simple coping strategies for managing your next panic attack.
Concentrate on your breathing and make a conscious effort to slow it down while counting each breath.
If possible, place your hands on your stomach and fill your belly with breath.
Relax your body one section at a time.
Tighten and loosen the muscles of your shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet.
Then move on to your back, neck and head, including your facial muscles and jaw.
Try our simple relaxation exercises to help you cope with stress.
Focusing on a particular taste or smell can help, like mint-flavoured sweets or aromatherapy oils and scented candles.
Touch something soft or comforting. Sometimes, stamping hard on the ground can help. This will also help to control your breathing.
You could concentrate on looking at an image or photograph that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Or use your mind’s eye to picture a place that has happy memories.
The 5-4-3-2-1 method is a type of grounding technique. Using the same techniques as in mindfulness sessions, it helps direct the person’s focus away from sources of stress.
During a panic attack, you should:
Your panic attacks may be triggered by the same things, such as enclosed spaces, crowds, money worries or work.
By learning to manage or avoid these triggers, you could reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.
Talking to someone you trust about what's making you anxious can also help.
If you can’t speak to someone close to you, the Samaritans and Anxiety UK have helplines that you can call to talk to someone.
If you or the people you employ are experiencing panic attacks, contact the team at Fusion to find out how our occupational health services can offer support and guidance.
Posted by Clare Hurley on
23 March 2021 at 11:20 AM
Choices for WellbeingHealth & WellbeingMental HealthOccupational Health