Panic attacks are sudden and terrifying experiences that can affect any individual who is struggling through chronic stress and anxiety in the workplace. If you are unfamiliar with this experience, it can be scary and make you feel helpless in controlling your fear and anxiety. However, panic attacks are a common occurrence in our high-pressure society, and many people have learned how to cope with them and what to do when they strike.
What are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks can mean different things to different people, but at its core, a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. In other words, panic attacks usually occur in individuals who stress themselves out and cause their brain to be overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, leading the body to react accordingly.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with panic disorders have sudden and repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes or longer. In these states, individuals can lose control of their breathing, heart rate and overall become fearful of dying or losing consciousness.
While panic attacks aren’t life-threatening, they can be terrifying. Some people who experience panic attacks are so worried about their symptoms they end up in hospital emergency rooms, though there’s nothing medically wrong with them. About 2 to 3 percent of Americans — more than 16 million people — experience panic attacks every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Additionally, panic disorders are twice as common in women as in men.
How To Prevent Panic Attacks
The first step to reducing the chances of a panic attack is to do your best to de-stress and not put so much pressure on the job that is causing fear and stress. Panic attacks are caused by chronic stress that eventually pours out into a mental breakdown — and once a panic attack starts, it can be difficult or impossible to control unless you are experienced.
Some methods that should be incorporated into your daily lifestyle to mitigate panic attacks include:
- Healthy eating
- Mindful meditation
- Deep breathing
Overall, preventing panic attacks is not a sure thing. The best way to ensure you have a very small chance of a panic attack is to keep your body and mind healthy while ensuring you practice dealing with stress in a healthy manner, not allowing it to compound and overwhelm you.
How To Cope With a Panic Attack
Anyone who has experienced a panic attack can attest to the intense and uncontrollable nature of the experience. Those who have dealt with panic attacks, however, can develop techniques to use in the future to help bring themselves back down and conquer the attack of fear that can grip the body during panic attacks.
One of the most simple yet effective of these techniques is deep breathing. When a panic attack sets in, it is common to begin to experience heart palpitations and start to breathe very hurriedly. When this happens, simply trying to control your breath and taking full, slow, deep breaths can help to bring you back down to earth and mitigate the avalanche of panic that these experiences can bring on.
Additionally, try to remind yourself that you are in no real, physical danger. Often, panic attacks can make you feel like you are dying, but this is never the case. Think positive thoughts, and don’t let the negativity and fear overwhelm you.
Finally, it is important to take a preventive approach to panic attacks if you feel like you are at risk. Try to seek out professional help and talk to a professional about your unique case and what steps may help you to give you the best chance at avoiding panic attacks.
While panic attacks are a very real and scary experience, they do not define who you are. These panic attacks do not have to be permanent or have any control over you. By leading a healthy lifestyle, keeping your mind healthy, and minimizing stress, you can drastically reduce the chances of experiencing a panic attack.
HR Search and Rescue offers HR consulting services for businesses that need assistance dealing with a variety of workplace issues. Their team is experienced at working with employees as well as employers to handle even the most difficult workplace challenges.