A panic attack is a highly overwhelming set of feelings that happen suddenly, usually following a trigger, which leaves you totally bewildered and often convinced that you are within inches of your death. In reality however, a panic attack is simply a safety-valve reaction for self-preservation and survival. You could compare it to the whistle of a pressure cooker.
Why Are Sleep Panic Attacks So Scary?
Panic attacks usually happen as a culmination of stress accumulation. Hence, when it happens, it usually tells you that your mind and body have reached and crossed their capacity. Since, panic is an extension of an anxiety upsurge; it is but normal that the spillover happen anytime, day or night. When it occurs at night, the result is a sleep panic attack.
The fastest way to control sleep panic attacks is with medication. However, it is usually better to keep medication as the last resort. It is true it is hard to control sleep panic attacks because more often than not, they happen out-of-the-blue. The only warning signal you will have would be a feeling of butterflies-in-the-stomach (without any particular immediate reason) during the daytime.
The sleep panic attacks are scary because you feel so very vulnerable when it occurs. The good news is that it is possible to handle. All you have to do is to find a way to relax your mind (and body) and integrate this method into your day-to-day life forever. The sleep panic attacks will disappear as your stress levels come down. Some measures that will help you in doing this are:
1. Learn to say ‘No’ when you do not want to do something. This is equally applicable at home, as it is outside the home, i.e. at your work place and among friends.
2. Put aside at least one hour every day, as your personal hour. You could use it for a walk, gym, watching TV, reading a book, indulging in your favorite hobby, reading a book – whatever it takes for you to feel good, relaxed and pampered.
3. Develop a habit of sharing your anxiety with someone close to you – it could be your spouse, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues at work – anyone. Discussing your feelings and fears is extremely therapeutical.
4. Attend workshops that teach you how to handle stress. This is often necessary because today’s levels of stress are higher then ever and sometimes we are not equipped well enough to handle it, and hence the build-up of anxiety.
5. Do not postpone any remedial actions. Whether it is changing a stressful job, moving out of a gone-sour relationship, planning for a safety net (financial and emotional) for the future, and so on; do not procrastinate.