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Effective Strategies for Managing Panic Attacks: Tips from our Kelowna Counselling team.

Updated: Jun 5

picture of brain with panic attack
Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are like sudden storms that can strike without warning, leaving individuals feeling overwhelmed and powerless. The intense surge of fear and anxiety can be debilitating, making it challenging to carry on with daily activities. However, there are strategies and techniques that can help manage panic attacks effectively, enabling individuals to regain a sense of control and calm amidst the chaos. Our Kelowna Counselling team will detail these below;

Understanding Panic Attacks:

Before delving into management strategies, it's essential to understand what panic attacks are and how they manifest. Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear or apprehension that arise abruptly and reach a peak within minutes. Common symptoms include:

1. Rapid heartbeat or palpitations

2. Shortness of breath or hyperventilation

3. Sweating, trembling, or shaking

4. Feelings of impending doom or danger

5. Chest pain or discomfort

6. Dizziness or lightheadedness

7. Nausea or abdominal distress

8. Tingling sensations or numbness

9. Hot flashes or chills

Effective Strategies for Managing Panic Attacks:

1. Deep Breathing Exercises: Deep, slow breathing can help counteract hyperventilation and induce a sense of relaxation. Practice diaphragmatic breathing by inhaling deeply through your nose, holding for a few seconds, and exhaling slowly through your mouth.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): PMR involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body, systematically working from your toes to your head. This technique helps release physical tension and promotes overall relaxation.

3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness techniques, such as mindfulness meditation and body scans, can help anchor your attention to the present moment, reducing the tendency to dwell on fearful thoughts or sensations.

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT aims to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to panic attacks. Techniques such as cognitive restructuring and exposure therapy can help individuals reframe their thoughts and confront feared situations gradually. Our therapists at Creative Therapy Consultants, in Kelowna, are well versed in providing therapy using this evidence based technique.

5. Grounding Techniques: Grounding exercises involve focusing on your immediate surroundings to anchor yourself during a panic attack. Examples include naming objects in the room, feeling the texture of an object, or focusing on the rhythm of your breathing.

6. Self-Care Practices: Engaging in regular self-care activities, such as exercise, adequate sleep, healthy nutrition, and relaxation techniques, can help reduce overall stress levels and mitigate the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

7. Seeking Professional Help: If panic attacks significantly impact your daily life or persist despite self-help strategies, seeking support from a mental health professional is crucial. Therapists can provide tailored interventions, such as individual therapy, to address underlying issues and develop coping skills.

Building Resilience:

Managing panic attacks is not just about coping with symptoms; it's also about building resilience and creating a supportive lifestyle. Here are some additional tips:

- Education: Learn more about panic attacks and anxiety disorders to gain insight into your experiences and available treatment options. This can be done with the assistance of a therapist, or trust source.

- Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with understanding and supportive individuals who can offer encouragement and assistance during challenging times.

- Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge the courage it takes to face panic attacks. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer to a friend in distress.

- Stay Consistent: Consistency is key when implementing coping strategies. Make a commitment to practice relaxation techniques regularly, even during periods of relative calm.

- Stay Present: Focus on what you can control in the present moment rather than worrying about future panic attacks. Mindfulness can help cultivate acceptance and resilience in the face of uncertainty.

Managing panic attacks effectively requires a combination of self-awareness, coping strategies, and resilience-building techniques. By incorporating deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and cognitive-behavioral strategies into your daily routine, you can regain a sense of empowerment and minimize the impact of panic attacks on your life. Remember that seeking professional help is a proactive step towards reclaiming your well-being. With dedication and support, you can navigate the storm of panic attacks. As always if you have questions or would like to access counselling support in Kelowna or virtually please reach out.


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