During an anxiety attack, your mind is going a million miles a minute. Your brain is racing, coming up with completely outlandish things (although at the time, seem completely logical). When you’re in the middle of a panic or anxiety attack, what’s important is to ground yourself, to really focus on what is happening in the moment. If you can force your brain to focus on your senses, then you can lower your blood pressure and come out of the attack.
Sight: What can you see in your immediate surroundings? Focus on specific things. A picture on the wall, a design on the flooring, whatever is around you that can pull your focus. Really focus on whatever it is you’ve chosen and study it.
Touch: What can you feel right now during the attack? Are you sitting in a chair and can feel the fabric? Are your palms sweaty? My dog always knows when an attack is coming on and tries to snuggle with me. So I focus on petting her, feeling her fur.
Taste: Is there any taste in your mouth? Try to take a drink of something or eat something and really focus on how it tastes in your mouth.
Smell: What can you smell in your immediate surroundings. If possible light a candle and focus on that smell. If not, focus on what you can smell around you. If you’re outside, what are you smelling? Car exhaust, flowers, restaurants in the area? Focus on these smells.
Hearing: What noises can you hear in the moment? Is there a fan going in the room? Can you hear the dishwasher in the other room?
Focusing on your 5 senses during an anxiety attack forces your brain to focus on the here and the now, on the moment. Recognize what is happening, but don’t give value to the anxious thoughts. Let each thought pass, but don’t dwell on them. If you focus on your surroundings, then you start to come out of that spiral, and you start to realize that the anxious thoughts are not logical.