I would like to thank Natalie, creator of The Grace Real for taking the time to share her experience and provide strategies to manage panic attacks. You can find more information about Natalie by clicking the above link. At the bottom of this article, you can find her bio and more additional links to her social media platforms.
If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know the horrible feeling of your thoughts, vision, and muscles slowly going out of focus and the world around you fading away as the panic starts to wash over you. If you want to learn how to get over panic attacks naturally, keep reading…
What Are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are described as, “Sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety and physical symptoms, based on a perceived threat rather than imminent danger.”
It is key to notice the underlined portion of that definition; panic attacks are based on what you perceive can be happening, rather than what is actually happening.
To get over panic attacks, you must first be able to see them for what they are: perceived. It’s not to say that panic attacks aren’t very real. They are 100% real and terrifying and trigger actual physical symptoms that are quite uncontrollable, but they are based around ideas or thoughts that aren’t presently putting someone in danger.
Panic attacks can look different from person to person, but the symptoms are usually sweating, high heart rate, muscle weakness, dizziness, trembling, and/or fainting.
Will I Have Panic Attacks Forever?
If you are currently experiencing panic attacks, whether you’ve just had your first one and don’t know what to make of it, or are sick and tired of getting them constantly, don’t worry.
You are not alone.
Millions of people of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes, are affected by panic attacks, at different stages of life. Mental health is so important, yet is often overlooked in our fast-paced, go-go-go society.
Panic attacks can leave you feeling completely helpless, unable to stop them from happening and living in fear of having one.
There was a point where I thought no matter what I did, I would live the rest of my life in fear of something triggering a panic attack. After continually hitting dead ends and finding no answers, I was determined to focus on how to get over panic attacks naturally.
After doing a wide range of research, listening to my body, and taking a step back to look at my overall lifestyle, I found my way, and I want to share it with anyone else desperate to get over their panic attacks.
After doing these things, I haven’t had a panic attack or any symptoms of one in over a quarter of a year.
You can get over them.
Why Do Panic Attacks Happen?
There is nothing “wrong with you” and you are not crazy if you’re having panic attacks. Words like “mental health” and “disorder” can seem shocking and falsely accusatory, making you feel defensive.
Although they may technically be a diagnosis, remember that they are based on perceived fears, and you just need to remind your body and mind that they are safe and strong.
There’s usually an underlying reason for why panic attacks are happening. In most cases, people develop panic attacks after a single traumatic event or because the body has had enough of general environmental stress and is acting out in dealing with it.
I honestly never thought I would have anxiety and didn’t understand the legitimate helplessness of panic attacks, but with the stressful life I was living as a college student and one traumatic experience, they became a scary reality.
Once you start having panic attacks, they can become increasingly frequent and at various times.
Certain stressful associated environmental circumstances, foods, and even people can trigger them. Sometimes even talking or thinking about the previous episodes can actually trigger them again.
Regardless of what is triggering one at the moment, panic attacks probably trace back to something that was once giving you overwhelming stress or fear.
Why Should You Look At Non-Prescription Medical Solutions?
When I began to have panic attacks, I was convinced there was something wrong with my health. I had blood work and an echogram done, but all of the results came back normal.
In retrospect, I probably should’ve had my hormone levels tested for imbalances rather than my vital signs.
My doctor offered to prescribe me anxiety medication, but I did not want to have to be on medication to deal with them when there wasn’t anything physically wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, Western medicine is amazing, but I wasn’t looking for a quick-fix solution to get over panic attacks and then brush them under the rug; I wanted to look at them from the underlying causes.
Like I said earlier, panic attacks are based on perception in the mind and not something outwardly physical or actually happening, so prescription medicine just doesn’t seem to be the answer for me.
I decided to focus on how to get over panic attacks naturally and for the long-term. Rather than with a temporary solution through medication, I truly believe they can be fixed with a few holistic lifestyle changes.
How to get over panic attacks naturally in 3 ways:
1. Prayer and/or Meditation.
Before I get into details, I know many readers of this will not be religious. What freed me from the hold of my anxiety first and foremost were prayer and my faith, but a non-religious meditation can help, too.
Meditation > Medication
To get rid of panic attacks, you have to calm your mind and central nervous system and find more tranquility in the day-to-day.
There is a stigma around meditation practices, but they can truly help even the most fast-paced, macho personalities.
Meditate and pray not only when you are having panic attacks, but also especially when you aren’t and you’re totally in control of your focused mind.
Find your “inner peace” by knowing and saying over and over you will be okay. Look at your panic attacks from a third party and disconnect yourself from them. Try doing this every morning for just five or ten minutes.
For me personally, this has provided more comfort and help than I can express into words.
2. Cortisol-Reducing Supplements
The mind/body being in stress, “fight or flight” mode, or panic is what enables panic attacks in the first place. When you are stressed, your body releases excess cortisol and your hormones are thrown off, making it a vicious cycle.
Like prayer and meditation, supplements can help regulate your body more so than your mind. You may not even realize how “off” your body is, but supplements may help get you back on track.
By naturally reducing stress and balancing cortisol hormone levels, you can help stop your panic attacks by being more calm overall. There are natural, plant-based supplements and herbs that can aid with this, such as ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Shatavari.
You can buy these as powders, or find them in capsule form. I started taking SuperYou capsules from Moon Juice, which my doctor approved and I love them! Several of the reviews mention how they have helped people overcome anxiety and panic attacks. (This is in no way an ad or sponsored).
3. Eliminating Refined Sugar and Coffee From Diet
The third thing that I believe helped was taking refined-sugar and caffeine out of my diet. What?! I know. This might seem hard for some people to wrap their heads around, but if you really want to get over panic attacks, it’s a small sacrifice to make.
I used to look forward to my morning cup of coffee, but coffee on an empty stomach was not helping my body and was stimulating me in all the wrong ways.
This might be something you have to incorporate slowly, but even if you just start by cutting down your intake you may see results and can work towards eventually trying to wean sugar and caffeine out completely.
I believe refined sugar was feeding my anxiety, spiking insulin, and messing with my blood sugar levels, perhaps adding to the lightheadedness and weakness I would feel. And caffeine was also not helping my anxiety.
There is so much increasing research on the interconnectedness between the gut and the brain. Refined sugars (i.e. processed/cane/white/brown sugars) inflame and disrupt gut health, which makes sense that they would have a negative affect on what your body is telling your brain.
Think about it- what you put into your body should have a direct correlation with how you’re feeling. By taking our refined sugar, you can heal your body with natural, whole foods. You don’t put unleaded fuel in a Tesla, do you?
I am not a doctor, but these 3 things helped me immensely. Very soon after I started practicing them consistently, I noticed my panic attacks stopped completely. I do believe they would help anyone experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.
Definitely consult with a doctor if you are feeling symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks, but none of these things will likely hurt you.
For some people, you may need more or less of one or the other. Everyone’s body and mind are different, and only you know what’s best for you. These things worked wonders for me.
That being said, these worked best for me altogether, not alone. I could be eating completely healthy with no refined sugars at all, but if I was still running around stressed out all the time, it wouldn’t help me. And vice versa, I could be reducing my cortisol all I wanted, but if I would stop meditating to go eat sugar and junk all day, my body also wasn’t healing.
Life is about balance and learning. Listen to what your body is telling you, and always prioritize your health.
If you ever need someone to talk to, have any other questions for me, or would like to know more about my story, please feel free to reach out to me!
About the author:
Natalie is about to graduate from her senior year at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a finance major with a certificate in Business Public Policy and is moving to Houston after graduation to work for KPMG.
She started her blog, The Grace Real, to share her passions for faith and wellness along with her love of travel, healthy recipes, and connecting to other people!
You can connect with her at Natalie@thegracereal.com