How To Prevent Panic Attacks

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

How To Prevent Panic Attacks

People who have experienced a panic attack know that they are oppressive. They take a major toll on a person’s day. Panic attacks create physical, mental and emotional reactions that are uncomfortable.

Many people may even develop unhealthy strategies to prevent a panic attack. For example, a person with agoraphobia will go to great lengths to avoid anything that may cause a panic attack.

Not knowing the proper ways to prevent a panic attack can actually cause more panic attacks. In extreme cases, recurring panic attacks can result in panic disorder. That is why it is important to know and practice healthy coping strategies to prevent a panic attack. Healthy coping strategies also reduce the intensity of the attack when it occurs.

Strategies to reduce frequency and severity of panic attacks include:

Making sure you get enough sleep.

Making sure you get enough sleep is critical in the prevention of panic attacks. Sleep is one of the body’s natural defenses against stress and anxiety. When you do not get enough sleep, you are not able to properly manage stress. Your emotions are heightened and it is difficult to cope with anxiety and frustration. When you are able to get enough sleep, you are able to manage stress in a healthy way because you are not exhausted. Preventing exhaustion by getting enough sleep will help you prevent panic attacks.

Making time for self-care.

Self-care is important for stress management and the prevention of panic attacks. It is easy to overlook your own self-care because life can be stressful sometimes. When you don’t take care of your physical, mental and emotional needs you are more vulnerable to panic attacks. Prevent panic attacks by taking care of your needs.

Some things you can do for self-care include:

  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Pamper yourself (even if you do it yourself at home)
  • Engage in fun activities
  • Maintain proper diet and exercise
  • Meet with a therapist
  • Attend meditative and mindfulness programs
  • Take breaks at work
  • Leave work at the office
  • Do not take on too much at once
  • Forgive yourself

Managing stress by setting realistic goals and expectations.

Being realistic with what you can do and take on at once is an important part of preventing panic attacks. Panic attacks are easily triggered when you are overwhelmed. You get overwhelmed when you take on more than you can handle on your own. Be realistic with your expectations for yourself. Forgive yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember it is okay to say ‘no’.

Reflect on what is causing the panic attacks.

In order to prevent panic attacks you need to know what triggers your panic attacks. Knowing what triggers your panic attacks can help you prepare for being exposed to a trigger. It is important to face triggers head on. Make efforts to learn how to cope with your trigger. Do not try to avoid triggers, as this behavior will cause more anxiety and panic attacks.

Know when and how to ask for support.

Everybody needs support sometimes. It is natural to crave or seek out the support of others. Dealing with panic attacks is not easy, and it can be scary to ask for help from people who do not understand what it is like to have a panic attack.

If you feel comfortable, seek the help or support of friends and family. If you feel uncomfortable with sharing your experience with friends and family, consider attending support groups or private counseling. Each of these options are instrumental in preventing and lessening the intensity of panic attacks.

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