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wellbeing with sally; experiencing panic attacks

I hope that everyone is keeping themselves well. Now the lockdown seems to be easing, I hope that some of you are able to get out more to socialise, or just do slightly more normal things!

I want to touch on panic attacks this month, as I expect there are many of us that suffer with panic attacks and there are some very helpful things we can do that may help the symptoms or even relieve them completely. If you have ever experienced an anxiety or panic attack, you will know how frightening and panicky it can feel and how much it can affect everyday life.

young man distressed

what is a panic attack?

According to mental health charity, Mind, panic attacks are a type of fear response and during a panic attack, physical symptoms can build up very quickly. These can include:

  • a pounding or racing heartbeat

  • feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed

  • feeling very hot or very cold

  • sweating, trembling or shaking

  • nausea (feeling sick)

  • pain in your chest or abdomen

  • struggling to breathe or feeling like you're choking

  • feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly

  • feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings (these are types of dissociation – see our pages on dissociative disorders for more information).

During a panic attack you might feel very afraid that you're:

  • losing control

  • going to faint

  • having a heart attack

  • going to die.

Source: Mind website

what can help?

If you do suffer, try some or all of the following.

Here are some ways that could help a panic/anxiety attack:

  • Breath deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.

  • Slowly look around you and find.....

  • 5 things you can see

  • 4 things you can touch

  • 3 things you can hear

  • 2 things you can smell (perhaps 2 smells you like)

  • 1 emotion you feel

The above method is called grounding, it can prove to be very helpful when you feel that you have lost control of all surroundings and gone too far into negative or fearful thoughts.

Take care everyone,


This content is general information only, not advice. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please contact a mental health professional or contact the Samaritans.

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