It’s like you’ve lost control of your body, hyperventilating as the panic attack runs its course.
Panic is really tough because it stops you in your tracks.
You can’t function until the panic attack has passed and you can breathe again.
It gets in your way.
When you’re feeling anxious, you breathe faster. When you’re feeling relaxed, you breathe more slowly. If you slow the breath down, you signal to the nervous system that it can relax.
Panic attacks are a kind of anxiety where your system goes into a fight or flight response. Your body thinks it needs to fight or run away.
Panic attacks occur when stress and worry build in the system, starting with a thought which gives rise to stress and anxiety, which leads to another thought which gets rise even more stress and anxiety.
This continues creating a downward spiral until a panic attack happens as a result of so much anxiety building up in the system.
This in turn leads to the symptoms that we looked at above.
In order for a panic attack to happen, first we go through a thought spiral.
Our thoughts lead to anxiety which builds and builds. Eventually this leads to a panic attack.
The key is to stop the thought spiral as soon as possible.
You can ask yourself:
Which thoughts do I notice lead to anxiety?
What happens when I refocus my attention elsewhere?
Which situations in my life are leading to this anxiety and how can I approach them differently?
Panic attacks happen because our nervous system gets overloaded.
To stop a panic attack, we need to signal our nervous system to slow down.
Working with the breath is often one of the easiest ways to do that.