During these uncertain times that we are experiencing due to the Covid-19 Pandemic a lot of people, including myself are experiencing anxiety to some degree. This is totally normal given the circumstances.
Some people experience more anxiety than others and with increased anxiety there is the possibility of having a panic attack. Panic attacks are debilitating and it is difficult to focus on anything else while you are having one because your amygdala (the part of your brain that controls the fear response) has been activated, and blocks the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain involved with our executive functioning) from working properly.
Symptoms of panic attacks are: accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, feelings of choking, chest pain or discomfort, nausea, feeling dizzy, unsteady, light headed or faint, chills or heat sensations, numbness or tingling, feelings of unreality, feeling detached from oneself, fear of losing control and finally a fear of dying. You only need four or more of the symptoms with a sudden surge of intense fear or discomfort reaching a peak within minutes for it to be classified as a panic attack.
A very useful technique to use when experiencing a panic attack is grounding. Grounding is used to bring your attention back to the present moment and calms you down because it takes away your focus away from the panic attack towards calming down in the present moment. I created the image below, and you are welcome to save it to your phone’s image gallery.
You focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Keep your focus on looking for these and you will start to calm down.
Use this technique the next time you are experiencing anxiety and share it with your friends and family. You never know who might need it, and sharing is caring.
Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.