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How to manage an anxiety attack

There are lots of things in life that cause us to stress and panic, life sometimes throws unexpected things at us that we weren't quite ready for. Sometimes these moments can cause anxiety attacks, or panic attacks, but these moments of panic can be quickly resolved when we use the right techniques. If you find yourself struggling with an anxiety attack, choose one (or more) of the techniques below to help you bring your mind to a calmer place.

Focus on your breathing

Anxiety attacks often cause your heart to beat a lot faster, like it would if you were exercising. Just like when we exercise, it's important we breathe properly during anxiety attacks so our brains can get enough oxygen. During an anxiety attack, think about the pace of your breathing and try to regulate it. An easy way to do this is to breathe in and out slowly for a count of five.

Notice your environment

Anxiety can cause us to feel out of control, like we have no idea where we are or what's going on. Being intentionally aware of our surroundings can help, so here's a handy technique to try:

Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.

Another way we can focus on where we are is through our sense of touch. Feel the things around you, how do they feel? Hard or soft? Rough or smooth? Hard or cold? Can you figure out what it's made from? What shape is it? Asking these questions can help shift your mind to something else and give you a sense of control over your situation.

After an anxiety attack, it's important to recognise what's happened

Anxiety is just like any other feeling, we shouldn't ignore it or keep it bottled up. If you're able to, talk to a trusted adult about what you've experienced and how you're now feeling.

Also consider your self-care after experiencing an anxiety attack. Pay attention to what your body needs, maybe that's food or water, or maybe you need some quiet time to rest and relax. Whatever your body needs, it's important for you to listen to it.


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