So you want to stop panic attacks? Do you experience chest pains, dizzy spells, and shortness of breath regularly? Does your head pound most excruciatingly? Has the tightness in your chest convinced you you’re having a heart attack?
Long hours at work, extensive commutes, a pile of unpaid bills that has grown sky high, the physical and emotional demands of raising a family in the city all contribute to the increasing frequency of panic attacks and more people than ever are now looking for ways to stop panic attacks. But don’t raid the nearest drugstore for chill pills just yet. You don’t need to medicate to stop panic attacks and regain control of your life. Here are some of the things you can do to manage your condition and control your symptoms.
Ways to Stop Panic Attacks Without Medication
1. Try Relaxation Techniques – Relaxation techniques increase your awareness of your own body. At the same time, you will learn to refocus your attention on anything that calms you. There are many types of relaxation techniques, among them visualization and muscle relaxation. Relaxation is a great way to stop panic attacks.
Visualization – In this technique, you go on a visual journey that calms and soothes you. Use as many of your senses as you can, including sound, touch, and smell. For instance, if you imagine yourself drinking pina colada by the beach, focus on how blue the sky looks, how cold the water is, how hot the sand feels, and how salty the water smells.
Muscle relaxation - In this technique, you work on tensing and then relaxing the different muscle groups slowly. Tense the muscles for 5 seconds or so, relax for half a minute, and then repeat what you just did. Start with your toes, and then work your way up to your head.
Remember that relaxation techniques take time and practice. If they don’t stop panic attacks immediately, be patient. You are most likely not doing it right so work at it some more. The more frequently you do it, the better you will get at it.
2. Exercise Daily – Did you know that exercise is an excellent stress reducer? It improves your mood and keeps you healthy. Come up with a regular routine that you won’t have trouble sticking to, and work out regularly—daily, if you have the time for it. Start out slowly, and then gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your exercise to stop panic attacks from happening.
3. Eat Right – What you put in your mouth affects your moods, not just your health. Avoid processed foods and anything fatty or sugary. Don’t forget to include foods rich in B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Help yourself to generous servings of lentils, lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and soy, too. These help the brain make more serotonin, a chemical which induces relaxation, which can stop panic attacks.
4. Avoid Stressors – Most panic attacks are caused by stress, so learn to manage your stress levels better to stop panic attacks. What were you doing the last time you had a panic attack? Were you typing out a report? Arguing with a client over the phone? Going over the bills? Identify the activities that stress you out, and either learn to cope with them better or avoid them altogether. It might help if you keep a journal. Jot down the date when you had your last panic attack, what triggered it, and what you did to ease the pain of the attack.
5. Avoid Stimulants - A cigarette or a cup of coffee may seem like an excellent way to take the sting out of your panic attack, but the truth is that they don’t help at all. If anything, they add to your physical stress. This is because stimulants like nicotine and caffeine make you more excitable—something you shouldn’t be if you have panic attack symptoms and you want to stop panic attacks.
6. Get Sufficient Sleep – Ever tried going with little sleep or none at all, and then showing up for work the next day? Chances are, you spent the next day cranky, ready to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. Keep your stress levels down by getting as much sleep as you can. Your body will thank you for it.
Ready to Stop Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks can take a huge toll on your physical and emotional health. But, don’t be so quick to pop pills. You don’t have to medicate to stop your panic attacks. By keeping stress levels down, avoiding stimulants, eating, sleeping, and exercising right, and practicing relaxation techniques, you can regain the control that your first panic attack took away from you. Work closely with your doctor to devise a specific pan for you so that you can stop panic attacks without over-relying on medications.