What are the best ways to deal with panic attacks and anxiety? How do we overcome it?

How do I overcome my panic attack? It is something I’m entirely new to, and it feels way too paralysing that it’s making me upset and angry.
Is there any suggestions that can help my mind cope with this? That I can truly overcome this?

Context: I have an irrational fear of getting stuck in public transport or in a crowded transport.

I hate all of this. Some days are good and some days are bad. I am truly frustrated.

Please let me know coping strategies :slight_smile:

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Dear @Prizzy

Thank you for reaching out for support. We appreciate you bravely sharing with us your fears of public transport. Panic attacks are very uncomfortable sensations to experience. It’s understandable that they can feel overwhelming and paralysing, leading to feelings of frustration, anger, and fear. Kudos to you for your resilience in resolving this. :clap:t4: :clap:t4:

Before I share more on some possible common strategies. I’d like to highlight that there are different levels of intervention for addressing panic attacks and fears. Getting help from a trained professional will enable you to experience therapeutic support as you deal with the discomforts of facing your fears. Also, the trained professional will be able to uncover with you possible root causes for the panic attack and thereby tailoring a treatment plan best suited to your needs. Whilst logically we may know there is nothing to be afraid however that same message isn’t being felt in our body hence, we experience uncomfortable sensations in our body whenever triggered. Fear is one of our body’s ways of signaling to us “Hey I’m not feeling okay, I need connection, and help to feel safe again”.

Generally, the first few steps of addressing panic attacks are to build safety in the body again. Here are some coping strategies that may help you manage panic attacks, particularly related to your fear of public transport and crowded spaces:

  1. Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and body outside of a triggering moment. This can help build a sense of familiarity and safety in your body. Thereafter during moments of panic. Focus on slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

4-7-8 Breathing (Relaxing Breath): This technique is known for its calming effects and can help reduce anxiety. Here’s how to practice it:

  • Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of 4 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7 seconds.
  • Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of 8 seconds.
  • Repeat the cycle for a few rounds, maintaining a steady and relaxed pace.

Box Breathing (Square Breathing): This technique helps to regulate breathing and promote a sense of calmness. Follow these steps:

  • Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, imagining tracing one side of a square.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds, imagining moving along the top of the square.
  • Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for 4 seconds, tracing the opposite side of the square.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds, completing the square.
  • Repeat the pattern for several cycles, focusing on smooth and controlled breathing.

You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense and then release different muscle groups to reduce physical tension.

  1. ** Grounding Techniques:** Grounding techniques, such as noticing and describing your surroundings or using sensory objects like a stress ball or textured item, can help anchor you in the present and reduce anxiety. Here are some grounding techniques for you to try out and see which one resonates with you the most. Similarly practice these outside of a triggering moment regularly and then use them again when you notice the onset of a panic attack.

5 Senses: Focus on your senses by naming five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Rainbow: Find 2 things of each colour in the rainbow in your surroundings.

Alphabet: Find 1 thing of any 10 letters in the alphabet in your surroundings. Or find things that begin with the letters in your name. (If you really can’t find things for some letters, it’s okay to imagine the thing: For example Z, - imagine a Zebra)

  1. Gradual Exposure Therapy: Consider working with a therapist trained in exposure therapy to gradually desensitise yourself to your fear triggers. Start by exposing yourself to smaller anxiety-provoking situations related to public transport or crowds, and gradually increase exposure as you build confidence.

  2. Seek Support: Please reach out to friends, family, or a support group for understanding and encouragement. Talking about your experiences can reduce feelings of isolation and provide valuable insights and support.

Overcoming panic attacks takes time and effort, and it’s okay to seek professional help to get quality and trained support. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you work towards managing and eventually overcoming your fears.

I hope the above has been helpful and if you’d like more resources or if there is anything else you’d like to share with us, please do. We’re here to listen to you, your feelings are valid and you matter! :grinning:

Kind regards,
Cool Breeze =)

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