7 Tips to Calm Down after an Anxiety Attack
Anxiety attacks can be very difficult and distressing for those who experience them. A significant part of the population has suffered from or will suffer an anxiety attack at some point in their lives, which includes intense fear, tachycardia, dizziness, and the feeling of an imminent threat.
These attacks can be due to a high alert system in which the mind mobilizes the organism and creates a strong psychological and physiological reaction, causing the person to lose control over themselves.
Managing these situations isn’t easy. If you’re already suffered panic or anxiety attacks, it’s best to seek professional help.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll give you 7 tips to help you calm down and naturally relax at the first symptoms of an anxiety attack.
What is an anxiety attack?
Dr. David H. Barlow, Professor of Psychology at Boston University and the director of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders and Clinical Programs and Boston University, points out that each year people go to the emergency room believing they are having a heart attack.
These can be incredibly uncomfortable and the sufferer can feel like they are going to die or are going crazy. Therefore, the simple fact of informing them that none of these things is going to happen can give them some relief.
However, knowing what you’re dealing with is always helpful. Likewise, studies such as the one carried out by researchers at Harvard University show that almost 27% of the population will suffer an anxiety attack at some point. In many cases, these can become recurrent until they completely alter the quality of life of the patient.
Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, are intense reactions that cause a loss of control of some bodily functions. As this publication from the Medical Journal of Costa Rica and Central America points out, symptoms include:
- Sweating and chills
- A suffocating feeling
- Pressure on the chest
- Dizziness, nausea, or stomach discomfort
- Fear or panic
Anxiety attacks, which vary in degrees of severity, are triggered by catastrophic thoughts. They often come on quickly, which is why it’s so important to become familiar with these tips so you can start treating an attack as soon as possible.
Tips to relax during an anxiety attack
Mindfulness helps create a relaxed state of mind and focus on your body. This relaxation technique of Buddhist origin can help you be aware of sensations, thoughts, emotions, bodily states, and the environment around you.
These mental processes allow you to relax and also to regain control over yourself. Therefore, starting with mindfulness is a successful strategy to reduce the symptoms of anxiety attacks. However, most studies are needed, as shown in this article published in the Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Psychology.
Read also: Five Mindfulness Exercises for Anxiety
2. Breath control
Breathing deeply is crucial during any crisis because the symptoms can come on so quickly. That’s why it’s so important to focus on your breath as soon as you feel it beginning to accelerate.
To control anxiety, you can use relaxation techniques through diaphragmatic breathing, as suggested by this article published in Comprehensive Nursing: Scientific Journal of the Official College of Nursing of Valencia, which can help alleviate the symptoms of an anxiety crisis.
3. Eye movements
Eye movements can help control anxiety, sadness, and depression. When you’re feeling down, your eyes are often looking down. So to help prevent anxiety, you need to force yourself to look up. You need to do this with your eyes, not your head. Then, in just a few minutes, you’ll notice the negative feelings improving.
This technique is related to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which is a type of psychotherapeutic approach. Although this technique has a long history in the field of psychological trauma, as suggested in this Behavioral Psychology publication, more studies are needed to verify its effectiveness.
4. Essential oils
Essential oils have therapeutic properties that could prevent health problems. Thus, to treat an anxiety attack, you want to choose essential oils with relaxing and balancing properties. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to take your personal preferences into account.
We recommend the following essential oils:
You can also use essential oils in a room perfume or with electronic diffusion.
5. Cold water on your eyelids
A simple trick to prevent an anxiety attack involves applying a stream of cold water over your closed eyes. If you want, you can use it on the rest of your face as well. Cold hydrotherapy is also a really simple natural way to relax the body and prevent an attack.
6. Magnesium bath
Magnesium is a mineral that has a balancing effect on the nervous system. It’s most commonly consumed as a supplement, but always with medical approval.
However, for a faster effect, you can take a bath with magnesium sulfate, otherwise known as Epsom salt. Add a half a cup of Epsom salt to your regular bath with the water quite hot. The bath can help you relax, but always consult a doctor before using magnesium.
7. A paper bag to prevent hyperventilation
This information is important: if an anxiety attack doesn’t resolve within one or two minutes, it’s necessary to have a paper bag nearby. Putting the bag to your mouth and breathing through it can help regulate breathing and facilitate symptom reduction.
About anxiety attacks
To conclude, you should never forget that professional help is necessary. In fact, there are many effective remedies out there for anxiety attacks.