How to Break the Cycle of a Panic Attack

  • break the cycle of a panic attack

Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear or anxiety that trigger severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. They can be incredibly frightening and may feel as though you’re losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying. Understanding what a panic attack is and how to manage and break the cycle of a panic attack can empower you to regain control over your life.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is more than just feeling anxious—it’s an overwhelming surge of fear coupled with physical symptoms. These can include:

  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feelings of unreality or detachment

These symptoms often appear suddenly and peak within minutes, leaving you feeling drained and vulnerable. But there’s good news—understanding how to break the cycle of panic attacks can help you reclaim your peace of mind.

Breaking the Cycle of a Panic Attack

Acknowledge and Accept

The first step in breaking the cycle is acknowledging that you are experiencing a panic attack. Remind yourself that it is temporary and will pass. Acceptance helps reduce the secondary fear of the panic attack itself, which can exacerbate the symptoms.

Control Your Breathing

Panic attacks often cause rapid, shallow breathing, which can increase feelings of anxiety. Slow, deep breaths can help calm your nervous system. Try this exercise: inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat until you feel calmer.

Ground Yourself

Grounding techniques can help you stay connected to the present moment. One effective method is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Focus on:

Five things you can see

Four things you can touch

Three things you can hear

Two things you can smell

One thing you can taste

This sensory exercise shifts your focus away from the panic and back to your surroundings.

Positive Affirmations

Empower yourself with positive affirmations. Phrases like “I am safe,” “This will pass,” and “I can handle this” can counteract the negative thoughts fueling the panic.

Engage in Physical Activity

Mild physical activity, such as walking or stretching, can help release built-up tension and promote relaxation. Exercise also increases endorphins, which naturally enhance your mood.

Visualise a Calm Place

Visualisation can be a powerful tool. Close your eyes and imagine where you feel completely at peace—a beach, a mountain, or your favourite park. Picture this place’s sights, sounds, and smells, allowing yourself to relax into the tranquillity of the image.

Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust. Sometimes, simply talking about what you’re experiencing can help diffuse the intensity of a panic attack. Professional support from a counsellor can also provide you with strategies tailored to your needs.

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Regular mindfulness and meditation practices can build your resilience against anxiety. By training your mind to remain present and detached from anxious thoughts, you can reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks over time.

Empower Yourself Against Panic Attacks

Breaking the cycle of panic attacks is possible with the right tools and mindset. By acknowledging your experience, employing practical techniques, and seeking support when needed, you can take control and minimise the impact of panic attacks on your life.

Remember, every step you take towards managing your panic attacks is a step towards greater empowerment and peace of mind. You can overcome these challenges and live a calmer, more balanced life. Start your journey today and embrace the confident, anxiety-free future that awaits you.

You’ll be amazed how counselling can change your life

You will find that talking with StartPoint Counselling Beenleigh is your starting point for fulfilling relationships and mental wellbeing.

StartPoint Counselling Practice is conveniently located in Beenleigh, close to Logan, Mt Warren Park, Stapylton, Homeview, Waterford, Loganholme and Yatala areas. However, we also offer phone and telehealth consultations for your convenience. See more about Booking Appointments here.

We offer a 15-minute complimentary phone session with one of our experienced counsellors. Find out how we can equip you to live the life that you choose.