Having an anxiety attack is an awful experience. It is obviously very bad for the person experiencing the attack and also for people around a loved one going through the experience. When you or someone you love starts to feel an anxiety attack coming on, the first thing to do is breath.
Take a deep breath in, hold it for a moment, then release it out.
This can be done a few times until the person catches their breath.
After that, there is a “5-4-3-2-1 Method” to remember.
This is a five-step process that will help keep a person grounded and connected to their surroundings as opposed to focusing on the anxiety. Here’s the process:
5 Things You Can See
The first step is a small one to start the process. Take a look around you and identify 5 things you can see. Wherever you are, small items, big items, people, things, anything to begin the process of stopping the focus on your anxiety and connecting you with the moment and the outside world.
4 Things You Can Touch
As you build to the next steps, find things that you can touch. It can be something on your body like your clothes or your hair or simple things around you such as a pen or a toy. Reach out, touch the object and think about how the object feels and your connection to it.
3 Things You Can Hear
Tune in to your surroundings even further by finding 3 things you can hear. They may be obvious things like the noise of traffic or people talking or they can be things your not usually in tune to like the hum of the air conditioner or your computer working. No matter how big or small, listening to things you may not have been in tune with when your anxiety started will help focus on what is going on around you.
2 Things You Can Smell
The next step might be little more complicated but that’s a good thing because it will force you to think even more about connecting to things outside of your thoughts. You can, literally stop and “smell the roses” if you are outside, smell the furniture you are sitting on or even give yourself a quick smell check.
1 Thing You Can Taste
This can mean acknowledging the taste in your mouth in the given moment like the last thing you ate or your toothpaste. It can also involve you taking a sip of coffee, popping a stick of gum or walking to the fridge to get some food. Any of these things will connect you to your fifth and final sense. After this, take another deep breath or two and your anxiety will have subsided on some level.
Anxiety attacks can be alarming to some. Help prevent future attacks by seeking proper medical care. Work on identifying your triggers and don’t forget about the 5-4-3-2-1 technique to help you through.
We’re here for you!