Anxiety is one of the most common and yet one of the most untreated disorders that plague the human race. Due to lack of knowledge or exposure, most people are afraid or ashamed to seek professional help for their anxiety and tend to treat it like a non-issue when really, it is far worse than that. Anxiety attacks can be so severe and terrifying that one can be convinced they’re experiencing a heart attack. People with anxiety disorders are usually constantly on edge, plagued by irrational fears and even as their very being may logically know the truth, they have a hard time convincing their mind of it.

Anxiety attacks can hit you at any time and hence, here are a few helpful tips to follow:

1. Go see a therapist: We cannot even emphasise how important it is that you seek professional help immediately. Anxiety attacks will only get worse with time and won’t just go away magically. With the correct therapy and diagnosis/medication, one can battle this. If you’re from India, here’s a list of crowd-sourced therapists you can contact.

2. Take deep breaths: Remember that your panic attack will hardly last longer than 30 minutes. Your brain might be convinced of catastrophic scenarios and it may get so intense that you might feel like you’re going to die. You’ll get through this. Just breathe in and breathe out and keep taking deep breaths.

3. Distract your mind: The minute you feel a panic attack beginning, just get up and start doing something. Walk away from your desk, go to the washroom and splash cold water on your face, call somebody close to you, go out and start jumping, clear out the clutter on your desk – anything that’ll stop you from thinking and aggravating your panic attack.

4. Recognise that it’s just a false alarm: A metal detector is usually kept in place to ensure that no weapons etc enter the property. However, sometimes, something as inconsequential as a key can set it off. Your body’s stress response can behave in the same way. Recognise that it is just your body acting to the thoughts in your head and your feeling of fear and know that it will pass – it doesn’t seem like it but it will.

5. Know that it will end: Sometimes, the panic attacks can get so intense that you feel like doing something irrational – don’t. Know that all panic attacks end. They will pass as soon as your body uses up/expels the stress hormones in your body that were triggered by your thoughts of fear and negativity. Your body is just doing what it is expected to do. It doesn’t hate you. It will end.

And most importantly, seek professional help. Anxiety attacks and disorders are way more common than you think they are and a lot of people face them. You’re not alone. For a list of crowd-sourced therapists, click here.