Panic attacks are a terrible thing to experience. Your elderly family member may be experiencing far more anxiety than ever before for a variety of reasons. Mindfulness might be able to help her to cope.
Mindfulness Is Grounding
The main reason to use mindfulness, both for panic attacks and just for general mental health wellness, is that it’s a grounding practice. It brings your senior back down to the here and the now. Very often panic attacks are a result of worrying about what might happen or what could happen. Even if your senior isn’t conscious of that fear. Mindfulness can help her to rein that in.
Find an Object and Describe It
One mindfulness technique that’s easy to use no matter where your senior is involves choosing an object. The object doesn’t matter; it can be anything. Your senior should look at the object and start describing it to herself. The weight, the color, the smell, what it looks like, and anything else she can think of is good. This helps her to focus on something else.
Use Her Senses
Senses are grounding, too, which is why describing an object is helpful. If your elderly family member can’t pick an object, just using her senses may be able to help. She could try looking around the room and finding five things that are yellow. Hunting for yellow objects helps her to focus on something else. She might also start listening for sounds. Figuring out the loudest sound in the room and the quietest sound in the room turns on a different part of her brain. She can do this with all of her senses.
Put the Panic in a Hot Air Balloon
If your elderly family member is a fairly good visualizer, she might want to try this technique. She can visualize packing whatever is causing her to panic into the basket of a hot air balloon. She should take her time and really imagine the balloon, what color it is, what the texture of the basket is, and how the heavy panic weighs the basket down. Then she should visualize untying the balloon, watching the tank fire to fill the balloon more with hot air, and watching the balloon fly away.
Focus on Breathing
Breathing is one of the easiest mindfulness techniques to use. With this technique, your senior simply needs to focus on her breathing and gradually deepen it. Her breaths at first are likely to be short and shallow. But if she can make each one slightly longer and slightly deeper, she will gradually calm her breathing and her mind.
If your elderly family member experiences panic attacks often, she may get used to using these techniques on her own. But if she needs help remembering, hiring home care providers to help with other tasks can also help with this.
If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Middleburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.
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