Panic attacks are the definition of not having our feet on the ground! During an attack we need a grounding technique for panic attacks.
Our body’s alarm system has kicked into overdrive and our senses are overwhelmed by our sense of danger. We often lose our heads in these situations as we feel we are out of control or dying.
Panic attacks are more appropriate as a response to extreme danger. However, they often strike us in non life threatening situations such as being out in public, in class rooms etc.
They create a feedback loop of anxiety, which we interpret as a more physical problem thereby we become panicked by how much we are panicking which makes the symptoms worse.
Getting our feet back on the ground and getting out of our head with a grounding technique for panic attacks helps us to recover from these attacks.
Focusing on what we directly sense around ourselves brings us into the present moment and also allows us to see that the danger is passing.
In clinic I ask client to remember these helpful steps. It’s as easy as remembering to count back wards from 5!
5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
If we do it we give our body a chance to break the panic feedback loop and level out and return to normal.
Maybe we will start to panic, but doing this repeatedly as soon as we feel attacks coming on will allow us to prevent the attack becoming more serious.
How it works is:
Pre-technique: Noticing panicking! To get attacks under control we have to get good at noticing it starting. Elevated heart, breathing affected, tension etc. Decide when it’s starting, then employ the following grounding technique for panic attacks!
Firstly note 5 things that we can see. So that’s what is around us. For example, for me right now I see a computer, a lamp, a desk, a clock, a spec of dirt on the wall. Whatever. Take a second to really look at them and see what we see.
Secondly note four things possible to feel. For instance right now I feel the shirt on my back. I feel the chair supporting my weight. when I touch the wall I feel it’s bumps and not perfect smoothness. I touch my face and feel my skin.
The third thing to note is three things that we can hear. Right now I hear the noise of the computer. I think I hear a siren in the distance or traffic. When I wait a minute to hear more a gust of wind arrives outside.
The fourth thing is to notice two things we can smell. This might take sometime if there is nothing strong where we are. Perhaps smell something we have with us that has an odor. Dwell on it and notice our reaction. If nothing comes think of two more things possible to hear, touch or see.
Finally the last thing is to find one thing we can taste. maybe it’s some of our last meal, maybe its chewing gum. Maybe we have a drink to hand or some chocolate. Allowing ourselves to chew or taste something.
If still feeling panicked or still on edge just repeat the steps again and again, seeking out different things each time. Try each time as the panic subsides to do it more and more slowly. Take time and repeat until feeling back to or close to normal.
These steps mightn’t get rid of the thing that upsets us but by being in the present moment we are like a baloon tied to the earth by a string. We can’t float away into the unknown, dizzying heights of a panic attack because we are grounded!
As a grounding technique for panic attacks we can employ this method to help us ward of the worst heights of the attacks or to come down faster. Panic attacks aren’t just what happens in the moment though.
They are influenced by our distorted thinking as well as by our distorted behaviors. This can seem like a jumbled and tangled mess but help does exist which can impart natural tools for managing!
Anxiety Ireland’s therapists help hundred of people each year with Anxiety related issues. If curious about anxiety please feel free to visit our website, take our anxiety quiz or get anxiety help. On this page we will continue to write about Anxiety and related topics. Also feel free to message the Facebook page any time.
I can also be contacted by call/text on 087 063 0948.
Wishing everyone a fantastic week!
Anxiety is like merry-go-round, leading us nowhere, it’s ok to step off!