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How can I avoid a panic attack without suppressing my emotions?

17 Answers
Last Updated: 10/07/2019 at 10:59am
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Jennifer Patterson, LMFT, ATR-BC

Art Therapist

Life can be messy. Sometimes you need a little support to make your way through it. I love to help guide people through their challenges & to find the beauty in our messes.

Top Rated Answers
July 13th, 2015 6:14pm
Hey there :) Panic attacks are horrible, aren't they? It's important to remember that even though they feel terrible, they can't hurt you. Firstly, panic attacks occur as a result of our brain perceiving danger and instigating the 'fight or flight' response. This is natural and has helped humans survive danger in the past. There is one problem though: the danger in the past (e.g. a wild, aggressive animal), is no longer a threat to us nowadays, but we still get panic attacks when we are very anxious. Next, understand what happens when you have a panic attack. There are 3 main factors that affect panic attacks. They are your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. What do you think triggered your panic attack? If you don't know, start keeping a record of when you get a panic attack and what you were doing, thinking and feeling at the time. A lot of the time, panic attacks can occur as a result of anxious thoughts. We might worry what if someone judges us, what if we do badly, what if we make a fool of ourselves etc. These what if's, are largely untrue but we focus on them and we increase the anxiety. It's helpful to challenge those thoughts and create more realistic ones instead. Instead of worrying about someone judging you, realise that most of the time, other people might be absorbed in whatever they are doing to notice too much. Even if they were judging you, you wouldn't know and they should still treat you with respect that you as a human deserve. You might also notice physical symptoms of anxiety too. A racing heartbeat, shallow breathing, feeling hot, maybe even detached and 'unreal' are symptoms of panic attacks. Noticing these symptoms and realising that they are just physical feelings, and that you aren't going crazy or going to die will help. Perhaps you could look online for some deep breathing exercises to practice too. Anxiety can affect our behaviour too. We might start avoiding people or places that we associate with higher levels of anxiety and panic attacks. Try not to do this as it may only make matters worse. We may worry a lot about different things and when this worry builds up, it can trigger panic attacks. Journaling your emotions and taking time to look after yourself will help. If it's possible talk to family, friends and your doctor about your feelings and seek counselling to prevent panic attacks in the long term.
July 21st, 2015 4:30pm
Awareness. Education. Know your body and how it handles an attack. Suppressing your emotions may CAUSE an attack. Remember that it's okay to feel anxious, that all you are feeling is okay. BREATHE. Follow the body and gently try to calm the breath. Remember-you're not crazy and you're not going to die. It's just emotions. Find your best coping mechanisms (sharing, going outside, pacing, whatever works for you) Know you will endure. We always do. :)
August 25th, 2015 5:24am
Engage in activities that stimulate your brain and keep you busy, such as getting outside, exercising or taking a shower.practice deep breathing,listen to music that calms you.ground yourself... hold onto some keys or a doorframe or a piece of furniture.
September 29th, 2015 5:11pm
When I start to have a panic attack I use a breathing technique, inhaling slowly for 4 breaths and exhaling slowly for five. I do it for at least 3x. What this does is move what is happening in the brain from the emotion area to the cognitive area. In the emotion area (limbic and amygdala) it is easy to get lost in what I am feeling, but if I can switch to the cognitive area (pre-frontal cortex) I can calm myself down and rationalize. Saying out loud, "I am okay, I am safe, this will pass" several times, even if you are only saying it in your mind is a great way to decrease and then stop a panic attack. It forces the mind into cognitive action and out of emotional reaction.
March 16th, 2015 4:49pm
I have found that a great way to keep panic attacks from happening is to keep an emotional journal and write in it at every meal or at three points throughout the day. Recognizing your emotions and becoming more accepting of what you feel throughout the day is the goal!
March 16th, 2015 8:24pm
It's not about suppressing your emotions. It's about examining the thoughts that lead to your emotions. and remember to breathe. It is almost impossible to have a panic attack if you are breathing correctly.
April 16th, 2015 3:00am
If you are having panic attacks often enough to be asking this question, I would seek professional guidance.
May 25th, 2015 1:14pm
Sure you can. It's not easy, and it gets better the more you deal with it. Identify your triggers: Once you've identified your triggers, you can avoid the panic attack by simply not dealing with the situation in the first place. Another method is to come over a panic attack in a natural way. A panic attack is just the body heightening its senses and releasing adrenaline. Lower your heart rate, and calm yourself using breathing methods, and other things that calm you down :)
June 5th, 2015 1:43pm
What I usually do is warn someone when I feel the symptoms of a panic attack just so that they're aware. I also have this app called Flowly which is free and it really helps me calm down.
July 28th, 2015 6:39am
calm yourself, breath count to ten same on you exhaled then to something to distract your pain into things that, simple yet tiring to do
December 21st, 2015 1:07pm
You need to let all that energy out another way. Be creative or productive. Try talking to someone you really trust.
April 18th, 2016 12:42pm
Try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing,meditation,or imagery.Writing down your emotions in a journal may also hejp.
July 19th, 2016 5:14am
Accept this is happening to you, keep breathing (that's important) and let your emotions come as they are but let your thought process move on after that. Accept, let go. Breathe, repeat.
September 20th, 2016 10:25am
Being in front of your biggest fears and deal with them it's the best way to overcome them. You can do it
November 1st, 2016 8:05am
Get focus in something else... breath in, breath out ... slowly .... takes time ... but it helps. then find silence.... in a place .... whatever you are.... and keep quiet in silence focusing in your slow breathing ..... than took a book a or a movie... and focus your ideas in that. it always helps, another way is to talk about it... and here at 7 cups you'll find us!
July 9th, 2018 4:32am
I personally find walking away from the cause and finding a quiet place to breath and relax pretty much always helps me!
October 7th, 2019 10:59am
It can be very helpful to be mindful of your emotions and naming them. “Am I feeling angry? No I actually feel fearful.” Once you named the emotion, you can accept it. Don’t differentiate between “good” and “bad” emotions but view them neutrally. Feelings are valid and deserve to be accepted regardless of their nature. These two steps usually are already helpful in avoiding a panic attack. Other helpful skills like breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises or whatever you have found to be helpful in your own experience can help you feel better and more leveled. There is an anxiety guide on seven cups and you can connect with other users to exchange more tips. I wish you all the best!