Although it may not be possible to completely control panic attacks, individuals can learn how to cope with the sudden rush of physical symptoms by recognizing them, gaining education about panic disorders and engaging in breathing and relaxation techniques, explains Dr. Steve Bressert for PsychCentral. Advice from a professional therapist is recommended.
Individuals can recognize signals of the body going on alert when a panic attacks happens, according to Bressert. For example, the brain sends warning messages that danger exists and the body works to protect itself by producing sweat and an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, shaking or trembling. The mind also reacts by focusing on fearful thoughts of death or harm.
It is possible to relax both the mind and body during a panic attack, notes Bressert. When a panic attack begins or individuals perceive one is about to start, it may help to breathe through the nose slowly and count to five to regulate breathing. The muscles in the body can be relaxed by lying down or sitting in a comfortable position with the eyes closed and a focus on positive, calming thoughts or mental images. It may also help to contract muscles in the toes and gently release them to release the physical symptoms of a panic attack.