If you are an anxious person, you may feel that, even in everyday life, you are on constant red-alert to danger – whether that danger is real or imagined. Add another anxious moment on top of that (however small), and sometimes, things can bubble over into a panic attack. I’ve treated lots of people for panic attacks and, in the past, I’ve had a couple myself too. They really ARE scary – your heart is beating ten to the dozen and you may feel that you need to escape. I had a panic attack on a bus once, and before I knew it, I was getting up and running to the front of the bus to get off – without even consciously thinking it through and miles away from my normal stop.
A therapist can help you find the causes of your anxieties (that’s important) but, in the meantime, Grounding or the 54321 approach can help you deal with a panic attack when it happens:
- Look around you
- Find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
- Panic attacks can often make you feel like you are disconnected to your surroundings and have lost all control – doing this can help you to gain that connection back and help to distract you too.