The idea of these suggestions is that when you next feel a panic attack coming on, your subconscious will return to these statements to help you cope."I am able to see things differently with the tools hypnotherapy has given me."- Read Jackie's story Hypnotherapy for panic attacks can help you regain a sense of control and normality in your life. It can help you understand what may have caused your anxiety, help you recognise signs of the onset of an attack and provide you with tools to manage and overcome the feelings.Relaxation is also a key part of hypnotherapy. Panic attacks can often cause, or worsen feelings of anxiety, as you fear the next attack, not knowing when it will happen. Hypnotherapy for anxiety can also teach you valuable relaxation techniques, to help reduce your overall stress and worry - lowering your risk of another attack.Learn more about hypnotherapy for anxiety and what to expect from a session.
During your hypnotherapy sessions, you may be given self-hypnosis techniques to practice at home between sessions and to use long after your sessions have ended. The idea behind these is so that if you ever feel anxious outside of sessions, you can return to these techniques to help you cope and work through the anxious moments.A common self-hypnosis technique used in panic attack treatment is to create a ‘calm trigger’ for times when you feel anxious. This will typically involve you actioning the relaxation techniques you learnt during hypnotherapy sessions, and picturing yourself in a calm, safe place.Once you have thought of a safe environment, you can make a physical action, such as pinching a point on your hand or thumb. The idea behind this is that it creates a routine and encourages a calming reaction; when you’re feeling anxious, fearful or worried, you make the physical action and trigger a sensation of calm. This type of action helps to ground you, reminding you that despite your anxiety, nothing is going to harm you.
Preventing attacks and what to do when you have a panic attack
When you’re experiencing a panic attack, the symptoms are very real and it can feel like your life is in danger. Knowing that you are not in any physical danger and that the symptoms you’re feeling aren’t harmful can help when it happens, though we know this isn’t always easy.Before we explain more about what you can do when you’re experiencing a panic attack, let’s look at how you can prevent attacks.
How to prevent panic attacks
Identifying any stressors that could be making your condition worse is a useful exercise. Of course, there are some situations that are out of our control. But, what’s the one thing that’s always in our control? The way we react to them. Learning how to manage stress can go a long way in helping you manage panic attacks. Here are some other suggestions to prevent panic attacks:Breathing exercises, relaxation and meditationWhen we’re stressed, our bodies go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This causes us to breathe a lot shallower than we normally do. For many people with anxiety and panic attacks, this is a common state for the body. Breathing shallower can cause physical symptoms, like chest pain and dizziness. These symptoms can be enough to cause us to panic, and for some leads to a full-blown panic attack.Being more aware of your breathing and actively taking slower, deeper breaths can help reduce this. Regular breathing exercises can help you here. On top of this, you may want to consider relaxation exercises, meditation and self-hypnosis to help lower stress and anxiety levels overall.Regular exercise Physical activity is another way to help manage stress and anxiety. When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins (‘happy’ hormones) and this helps to lower stress. If you’re not used to exercising, just starting out with regular walks can help. Being in nature can distract you and encourage relaxation too. Other forms of exercise that are particularly helpful for reducing stress include swimming, yoga and running. Avoiding excess sugar, caffeine and alcohol Eating a balanced diet will help give your body what it needs to be healthy and happy. Certain foods and drinks can exacerbate physical anxiety symptoms - these include too much sugar, caffeine and alcohol.Try to reduce your caffeine intake and try herbal teas instead. Snack on nuts and fruit instead of biscuits and avoid overindulging with alcohol. This may sound like obvious advice, but we often forget the effect food and drink has on our mental health. Talking it out When we keep things to ourselves and bottle worries up, they often end up manifesting as stress and anxiety. Talking to people about how you feel can make a big difference. If you don’t want to talk to your family or friends, you could consider talking to a professional or joining a support group (either in person or online).If you’re seeing a hypnotherapist as part of your treatment, they will be able to listen to what’s worrying you and use hypnotherapy techniques to help you manage anxiety and panic attacks.
What to do when you have a panic attack
When you’re in the midst of a panic attack, we know how hard it can be to think of anything in particular, but try your best to remember the following points (you can even print this page as a reminder):
- What you’re feeling is very unpleasant, but it is not harmful.
- You have been through this before and you survived. These feelings will pass.
- Focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly, deeply and gently through your nose and out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth. Imagine your body relaxing with every outbreath.
- Try to visualise a calm scene (hypnotherapy can help you develop this skill).
- Don’t fight it. Often trying to not have a panic attack makes things worse. Instead, try to ride the wave and know it’ll be over soon.
Advice for friends and family
If someone you care about is experiencing panic attacks, it can be very difficult for you. Especially if you are with them when they have a panic attack, you may not know what to do or what to say to help them calm down.Here we’ll talk you through some ways you can help them.Learn more about their conditionHaving a better understanding of what it is they’re going through can be immensely helpful for both you and them. Without knowing how anxiety works, it can be difficult to understand why your loved one reacts the way they do in certain situations.The great news is, you’re in the right place! Being here and reading this shows a great commitment to helping your loved one.Help them find supportWhen someone is struggling with anxiety, the idea of reaching out to a professional can feel overwhelming. Offering your support here could help them make this vital step. You could show them the information you’ve read here and see if they want assistance searching for a hypnotherapist, or you could help them make a doctor’s appointment.Let them know that help is available and that there are several different approaches out there. Avoid pressuring them however and remember, it is ultimately up to them if and when they do seek help. Gentle encouragement and support is key.What to do when they have a panic attackIf you suspect they are experiencing a panic attack, there are a few things you could try to help. Of course, if you are in any doubt and are worried it could be a physical problem, don’t hesitate to call for medical assistance.
- Try to stay calm yourself and remember, panic attacks cannot harm them.
- Gently remind them that this is a panic attack and that you are there for them.
- Encourage them to focus on their breathing. Try breathing with them - slowly, deeply and gently (over-breathing can make things worse). You can also count out loud or tell them to watch your arm as it moves up and down.
- Get them to engage their physical senses by stamping their feet on the ground.
After the worst part is over, encourage them to sit quietly until they feel better. It may help to play them some calming music too.Looking after yourselfIt can be easy to forget about yourself when someone you care for is struggling, but you know the saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup”? Well, it’s true.If you stop looking after yourself you will feel tired, stressed and may end up unwell yourself. Ensure you have someone to talk to, include relaxation into your routine and don’t hesitate to seek support yourself.How to help a childChildren may not understand the complexities of anxiety and panic attacks, so experiencing these issues can be very distressing. If your child experiences a panic attack, there are ways you can help.
Below is an article from happiful that may help: 7 ways to help a child who is having a panic attack