Psychologist's advice Useful materials

5 effective grounding techniques that will help defeat a panic attack

For almost a year, the psyche of Ukrainians has been under the influence of a heavy load. A sudden change in the usual living conditions, air raids, staying in shelters, shelling, and being forced to flee from one’s home. All these factors lead to the development of mental disorders, including panic ones.

A panic attack is provoked by an excessive release of adrenaline into the blood, and, accordingly, by strong physical symptoms.

Let’s recall the symptoms of a panic attack:

  • rapid heartbeat;
  • excessive sweating;
  • increased pressure;
  • body tremors;
  • chills;
  • chest or stomach pain;
  • shortness of breath and feeling of suffocation;
  • an attack of severe nausea;
  • dizziness, up to loss of consciousness;
  • feeling like you’re dying;
  • depersonalization;
  • fear of going crazy;
  • feeling of unreality of what is happening.

A panic attack always starts suddenly and can happen anytime and anywhere. As you can see, this is a rather complex experience at the level of the body and emotions. To survive it as easily as possible, a person needs a certain resource. It can be obtained independently by performing the 5 Grounding Techniques.

1. Feel your own body. You can’t stand still during a panic attack. Actively move: run, squat or push-up, stomp your feet, bend over, etc.

2. Focus on observation. For example, consciously and carefully look for objects of similar color in the room. Or listen to the sounds around you, distinguish them by their source of origin, and compare them by volume or tonality.

3. Use your breath. Breathe deeply. Imagine that there is a candle in front of you and blow out its light. Breathe in the scent of an imaginary flower. Pretend you are blowing up a balloon.

4. Play games. An elementary game for children’s development is “guess the profession” (look at the people around and determine who they work for) or “categories” (choose a category – food, animals, musical instruments – and name 10 objects that belong to it).

5. Treat yourself. Brew your favorite tea, or make a cup of coffee or chocolate. Take a shower or bath. Do a self-massage. Do all these actions not mechanically, fully aware of their effect on you.

What will you get? Grounding techniques will help reduce the severity of panic attacks. Focusing on the present moment distracts unnecessary attention from fears, worries, or unpleasant memories.

Please note: Panic attacks that tend to recur should be discussed with a therapist or mental health professional.

This extremely unpleasant psychological state is not a sentence. You can and should get rid of it – both independently and with the help of a specialist.