Anxiety can strike out of nowhere and scare the pants off you, thanks in part to the fact that symptoms can resemble a heart attack.
If you feel an episode coming on, try the following 3 grounding tricks.
1 Get control of your breathing; shallow, fast breathing can cause hyperventilation. Take deliberate slow, deep breaths in through your nose for 5 to 7 seconds, hold for 3 to 4 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for 5 to 9 seconds. Repeat for 20 counts.
2 Call a friend to talk you down; distraction helps.
3 Concentrate on your immediate surroundings; find five things to focus on intently. For example, notice the intricacies of a lamp, a tree, the pattern of tiles on your floor or even the label on a cereal box.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day at headspace.org.au or Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.