How To Feel Better After A Panic Attack

Have you ever been so afraid that you're about to die? Your heart is racing, and you have a difficult time breathing. That could be a panic attack. According to WebMD, panic attacks typically come out of nowhere or can be triggered by an event. They can occur at any time, even while sleeping. You're often scared for your life, and people sometimes think they are having a heart attack when they have a panic attack because they're experiencing chest pains. During a heart attack, you feel chest pain on the left side of your chest, but during a panic attack, you experience it in the mid-chest area. It can be hard to rationalize the pain when it's happening, though. Other symptoms of a panic attack include feeling like you're losing control of things. About six million American adults experience panic attacks, and it's more common among women than men.

Generally, panic attacks last about 10 minutes. However, they can last longer — upwards of 20 to 30 minutes — but the intense feelings of fear and anxiety start fading as the minutes go by, per Banyan Mental Health. Anxiety disorders are among the main causes of panic attacks. Your body goes into a flight or fight response, which leads to physical symptoms such as shaking, shortness of breath, and even dizziness or numbness. It can be terrifying to experience fear accompanied by such strong physical symptoms.

Tips to help recover after a panic attack

Often, people feel helpless and don't know what to do, but learning how to deal with panic attacks when they come out of nowhere can help you. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), if you are prone to panic attacks, it's best to speak with a mental health professional because it can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both. You have to try to remember you are not alone in this, and you can treat and overcome panic attacks. Take the time to learn about panic attacks, and speak with loved ones for support.

While knowing about panic attacks can help, there are tips you can learn to help you during and after such moments. When you realize you are about to have a panic attack, practicing some tips can alleviate the situation. Healthline recommends trying deep breathing by focusing on your breath because this can help calm you. Practice mindfulness by focusing on your current moment in reality. During such episodes, we enter the world of fear (that feels extremely real), so bringing yourself back can help relax you. 

You can also try meditating. Furthermore, studies have shown that smelling lavender can help reduce the anxiety that causes panic attacks, per Medical News Today. Remind yourself that this too shall pass, and it's a temporary situation. It can be hard in the moment, but with practice — and perhaps keeping near you an item in which you have close personal value — you can help yourself feel better after a panic attack.