Recently, a Twitter user asked netizens what they would do when they had anxiety or panic attacks and it has since garnered 4.1k retweets, 1.2k replies and 10.4k likes at the time of writing.
Contrary to popular belief, panic attacks are no longer limited to individuals who suffer from mental issues and can affect virtually anyone due to busy schedules, stressful workloads, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Thus, we’ve looked through the entire thread and listed 8 helpful ways which can help you or someone you know whenever a panic attack occurs.
1. Try the breathing technique
This method is a common and easy technique that can help one to relax and most importantly, catch their breath.
Simply breathe in through the nose slowly and hold it for 2-3 seconds before releasing it through the mouth.
If that isn’t enough, one netizen has suggested doing something that would calm oneself down during a panic attack.
2. Butterfly Hug
The Butterfly Hug is another popular method in easing panic attacks and was even featured in the Netflix series It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.
How is it done? Cross your hands in front of your chest before closing your eyes and letting your mind take you to places that bring you peace and quiet. Remember to also breathe slowly and tap your arm gently on each arm.
3. Go to a quiet place
If you ever experience an anxiety or panic attack at crowded and noisy places, it’d be best to find a quiet place (e.g. toilet) and isolate yourself from the hustle and bustle. Once you’re in a quiet space, spend a few minutes calming yourself down with deep breaths. If you can lie down, all the better!
4. Belly breathing
Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a method often used in yoga that uses the diaphragm instead of the chest to breathe. Doing so has been proven to relieve stress, lower heartbeat rates and blood pressure too.
5. Hop onto YouTube!
Aside from being home to cringy and outrageous videos, YouTube has a trove of soothing music and ASMR videos that are helpful in lowering anxiety levels.
A netizen even suggested searching “Calming anxiety sounds” on YouTube and reading the comments as she has found it to be helpful and supportive.
6. Grounding Technique
This method is designed to help one in the midst of a panic attack to focus on objects he/she recognises through the five senses, thus distracting the mind and making him/her feel more in control of the situation.
Out of all the grounding techniques, the most commonly used version is the 54321 method which works like this:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
7. Take deep breaths and calm yourself with words
Yes, it’s back to breathing again. Apart from all the fancy methods, the simplest way is to take deep breaths and speak words of positivity to yourself.
Certain phrases you can try telling yourself can include “Everything will be okay” and “You can get through this”.
8. Blow into a balloon/bag that can trap CO2
Panic attacks often produce a high amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), so it’s important to get it out of your system.
Many netizens have recommended getting rid of excessive CO2 by exhaling/blowing it into a paper bag or balloon that can trap it.
You can read the entire thread here.
If you still feel anxious after trying out different ways, do not hesitate to find healthcare professionals for counselling and help.
Here are some health line services you can consult for any mental health matters:
Cover image Twitter & iStock
Editor: Sarah Yeoh