Intellectual problems could derail your days. But when you have a job to do, sometimes you have to get over it. So, what do you do to overcome those attacks and go back to doing the things you have to do?
We spoke with some experts to give us their advice on how to handle a panic attack when you are in the office. Here you have them:
Getting in touch with your breathing can help soothe your entire body, says Danielle Forshee, a certified clinical social worker and member of the editorial board of the US Psychotherapy Association.
If you can do that in your place, Forshee suggests that you apply the technique known as diaphragmatic breathing: you sit comfortably in your chair with your head and shoulders in relaxation; place your hands on the stomach and chest and inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Try to feel the stomach muscles tighten while you release the air.
“This strategy is going to psychologically lower two lines to the tension of your body, so they could very quickly reduce the intensity of the panic attack,” says Forshee.
The work could keep your mind from wandering, says Ricks Warren, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.
“You have to suggest to people to remember that these feelings are temporary and that they concentrate on what they have to do, work in front of them, and see if they can get out,” he added.
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It is understandable if you can not calm down. In this case, go to the toilet or any other space that offers privacy in the building. Warren recommends that you splash your face with cold water and take a few minutes to focus on your breathing to see if that can help.
You can also repeat some phrases like “I’m fine”, or look at the objects around you to fix your mind on something, says Forshee.
Sometimes a momentary break for your mind can be useful in lowering the intensity of your thoughts, says Dan Reidenberg, executive director of the suicide group Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, and chairman of the advisory board of the Psychotherapy Association from the USA
This person could be a colleague or a boss with whom you feel comfortable telling them what is happening. Otherwise, send a message or call a loved one.
“Look for support and understanding of what is happening,” says Reidenberg. “Let them support you and let your words come in. External sources can help you find a context to alleviate what you are feeling.”
And if you need faster help in what you expect an answer, try using your phone.
“If you open your phone and look for pictures you will remember those good times, which will help you to have positive thoughts that you can hold on to,” Forshee said.
Of course, it is totally correct if you take a day to rest your mind if you need it; Sometimes, panic attacks leave you so weak that it is impossible to do anything else. However, Warren says you do not have to resort to this option on a recurring basis or whenever a panic attack bursts. That could set a psychological pattern that would lead your mind to tie safety with being out of the office.
If this is not the first time you have a panic attack in the office, find out if there is an employee assistance program or a question in Human Resources if there is help available on mental health issues.
In general, companies help you with these cases. However, not everyone feels the strength to expose their mental health issues in the office. Both Warren and Reidenberg say that it is essential that employers be more understanding about mental disorders.
“As long as there is a greater culture of acceptance to mental health, more people will be able to perform better thanks to the support they receive,” says Warren. “It is in the interest of the company to support its workers, it will be a benefit for both parties in the long run.”
It is essential that you be understanding with yourself, Warren says. A problem of a mental nature does not come from a fault in your personality.
“It’s important that people do not collapse because of this,” Warren said. “They should not punish themselves by calling themselves losers or losers, they should work on accepting themselves with their panic attacks or any other emotional problem.”