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  • Writer's pictureIyanu Emmanuel

Panic attacks

Do you ever experience panic attacks? Then read on for some tips on how to manage them and on how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help.

Panic attacks can be terrifying to say the least. Having experienced them in the past I know that at their worst they will make you feel as though you are about to drop down dead from a heart attack!

I realise now that it is highly unlikely that an individual will experience a panic attack without a build up of anxiety and stress first. It is the continual build up of stress and anxiety that escalates into that final eruption of panic. This anxiety may build up over time or there may be a situation coming up that you associate with panic, fear and uncertainty.

In many cases the actual trigger of the panic attack may be completely unknown. This is because during your last panic attack your brain had desperately been searching for the cause of perceived danger and threat. In reality the stress and anxiety levels would have been increasing steadily throughout your day to the point where your cork pops and panic takes over, however your brain needs to find a cause for this reaction. If whilst at a busy supermarket, for example, your eyes fall upon a tin of beans whilst you are mid panic attack your brain may well create an unconscious pattern match that links a tin of beans to danger. The next time you have had a stressful day and the cork pops, this final eruption may be triggered unconsciously when you happen upon a tin of beans. However this time your eyes may come across a fluorescent strip light amidst the panic attack that follows and so a new pattern match of fear is stored in the brain. These pattern matches are unknown to us and are stored in our unconscious and primitive part of the brain. With this in mind an individual who experiences panic attacks can start to find life extremely hard to navigate and may become more and more avoidant of the world outside.

So how can Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Help?

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works by reducing the level of anxiety and stress you are likely to be experiencing. It helps the individual to understand their brain and how the vicious circle of anxiety and negative thinking is created. With this understanding the client can then learn how to move out of this and into a more positive, calm and rational head space. It really is that simple!

If you can reduce your anxiety and negative thinking significantly then your brain will not get to the point where it needs to go into panic attack mode.

Some clients experiencing panic attacks associated with a specific phobia, again Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help. With a specific set of techniques, the client is able to client to re-write the pattern match in their unconscious brain that associates the specific object or situation with danger. Within these sessions the client will also experience a significant reduction in their general anxiety levels. Again reducing your brains need to fall into a full blown panic attack.

Within the sessions techniques will also be practiced with the client to help them develop a robust

counter-attack tool kit!

What can help with a panic attack?

  • Gain an understanding of what a panic attack is and what is happening in your body at the time.

  • If you are experiencing a panic attack remind yourself that it is a panic attack that you are experiencing, and keep reminding yourself.

  • Remind yourself that, as with all of your previous panic attacks, this too shall pass.

  • Realise and remind yourself that panic attacks are not dangerous.

  • A major cause and driving force behind a panic attack is rapid breathing and hyperventilation. This can cause dizziness, palpitations and tunnel vision, which can again increase the level of panic. To counter act this it is important to regulate your breathing. A simple breathing exercise will allow you to do this

  • A great breathing exercise to try is known as square breathing, - Breath in deeply for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 second and again wait 4 seconds before breathing in again for 4 seconds. Repeat over until panic attack passes.

  • Practice square breathing at times when you are feeling relaxed and the more you practice the quicker you will be able to access it when needed. Practicing this type of breathing will also help you body and brain accept and work through the symptoms of panic. Please see link below for more information and a demonstration of square breathing.

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