Signs of an anxiety attack include:
- abdominal cramping
- chest pain
- dizziness, light-headedness, faintness
- fear of loss of control or death
- feeling of unreality or detachment
- hot flashes
- numbness or tingling sensation
- rapid, pounding heart rate
- sense of impending doom or dange
- shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- trembling or shaking
How to end the attacks
Write down the symptoms of the attack that are relatable to you. Once you know you're having an anxiety, try to jot down a few of the symptoms and thoughts you are experiencing. This can help you put your anxiety attack into perspective. One of the things that worsens anxiety and can make it develop into a panic attack is looking at these things in a catastrophic way.
Stop an anxiety attack with belly breathing. Feeling short of breath is a hallmark symptom of an anxiety attack. You can make the feeling worse by taking short, shallow breaths. Try belly breathing instead to stop the anxiety attack. Exhale deeply, loosen your shoulders and focus on some long, deeper exhales and inhales that let your belly rise and fall. Place one hand on your belly if you need to.
It's easy to say, “just relax”, right? Once you start to observe your body during an anxiety attack, you might find that certain parts of your body clench up during an attack. Make a deliberate effort to tighten and then relax those parts of your body. If those parts feel like they won't obey during an attack, pick a body part that will respond such as your toes or shoulders.
Talk out loud to yourself. Remind yourself that the attack will and it won't kill you or cause you to faint. People faint when their blood pressure drops. An anxiety attack can make you feel like you're going to faint, but you won't. Remind yourself out loud of truths like these to counter your fears.
Stay in the moment to relieve anxiety attacks. Although your gut response might be to leave the stressful situation immediately, don't. Let your anxiety level come down then you can decide if you want to leave or if there's a way to get back to what you were doing when the attack started.