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How can I calm down during a panic attack?

298 Answers
Last Updated: 12/29/2020 at 6:10pm
How can I calm down during a panic attack?
★ This question about Panic Attacks was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
softSun21
December 9th, 2014 11:12pm
First of all, try to find yourself a place that is quiet. If you are in a crowded place, try to get yourself some space where you think you'll be comfortable. Now try to breathe deeply. Try to not breathe into your chest area but more with your abdomen, it will help you to relax your breathing and muscles. Once you've come to this point, ask yourself as clearly as you can what you are scared of in that moment. What is the worst that can happen? Is that fear you are feeling based on facts and the actual situation or could it be that you are thinking ahead already? Could it be that you are overthinking a situation? Try to answer your questions in your head or out loud, whichever way you feel more comfortable, and try to think as rational as possible. A lot of times the fear we feel isn't rational or real, try to make yourself see that. Remember to breathe. This is just my personal experience of course. I sometimes tend to calm myself down with soothing music or smells that put me in a good headspace, however that's just a personal preference. If you want to know more techniques on how to regain your calm after or during a panic attack, you can always read the Self Help Guide on this website, it is very informative and can maybe give you a new technique that works for you.
jtmort1988
June 19th, 2015 6:05am
One of the best ways to calm down is deep breathing and focusing on each breath. Another tactic is to pick an object--can be anything!--and in a way play a mental game of describing the object in detail to yourself or the person you are with. With a panic attack you may feel there is no "way out", challenge those thoughts with a positive outcome. In time, this can change the anxious thought pattern.
BrokenDefinition
June 19th, 2015 8:09am
Count your breaths, taking long deep breaths in and out. Or find a picture or spot on the wall to focus on while breathing.
Anonymous
June 21st, 2015 4:42pm
You could try breathing, getting some fresh air, and perhaps seeking the company of a trusted and supportive person, either a Listener here on 7 Cups, or any person who is supportive and understanding for you.
sheilswheels
April 26th, 2015 5:10pm
Panic attacks are horrendous but the first important thing to remember is that you will not come to any harm. The body is responding to your thoughts by going into fight or flight mode and surging adrenalin through the body. Personally, I find relaxation exercises on YouTube. Mindfulness meditations and body scans are especially good. These help me to get my thoughts and symptoms under control and eventually I can wind down. You must be compassionate with yourself and not punish yourself for uncontrollable thoughts. Also, try and get as comfortable as possible.
AccioSpirit909
June 19th, 2015 4:05am
I usually lie on the ground and then do a breathing exercise. My favorite is tracing a tile or a square with my eyes and exhaling or inhaling for each side. I also sometimes call one of my friends and have them talk to me.
MadilynRose
June 19th, 2015 4:58am
There are lots of ways to calm down during a panic attack! A great way is to find a way to bring yourself back to the moment. So this means, try to use your senses! Look at a picture of something you like! Smell a pleasant smell, like vanilla! Pet a dog or cat! Do something to bring yourself back to the here and now.
Mercedez
June 19th, 2015 4:20pm
Breathe. Remember its ok to be also remember that your safe and nothing can hurt you
JasmineScent
June 20th, 2015 2:20pm
You should breathe deeply a few times, while thinking of something comforting. Try calming down completely and avoid the situation next time
AuntieRuth
June 21st, 2015 8:21am
Breathe. Try to breathe. That is probably the most important thing. Secondly, it is a good thing to try and realize why exactly you are panicking. Is it really worth the panic that you are feeling right now? And when I ask 'is it worth it?' I'm not saying to quit whatever it is your panicking over. I just mean that you should ask yourself if what you are panicking over is really worth that much panic or if you are overreacting. Also, sit down. Don't stand up or keep standing up if you were already. Standing up could lead to dangerous situations during a panic attack.
Anonymous
June 25th, 2015 9:17pm
During a panic attack the most important thing is to work to control your breathing. Panic attacks cause most people to hyperventilate and this makes their heart rate speed up and the combination of the two is what makes some people feel like they are going to die during a panic attack. Your breath can be controlled in a variety of ways: you can use diaphragmatic breathing to increase the amount of air you inhale with each breath, this may also be related to slowing down the rate at which you are breathing and to help prevent hyperventilation you should try to make you out breath at least as long (if not slightly longer) than your in breath. By controlling you breathing your heart rate will naturally slow. You can also try techniques such as self talk ("i am not going to die. this is a panic attack. I've had them before. it will end") and muscle relaxation exercises
dieli3
June 26th, 2015 5:20am
One of the ways to calm down when you feel like you're having a panic attack is to do a deep breathing exercise. Try closing your eyes, inhaling for 4 seconds through your nose while slowly pushing your belly outward. Then exhale for 4 seconds while pulling your belly inwards. Repeat as many times until you feel less tension in your stomach. It is important during a panic attack to try and break the train of thoughts you are having. Try to find what is making you feel anxiety and whether the thought is based on fact or fear. Try to think about whether it's beyond your control. Sometimes we have to remember that there are things that out of our control and we need to take one step at a time so we don't get overwhelmed.
EnessenLove
June 27th, 2015 9:55am
I often turn to meditation when I'm having a panick attack. It's good to either let your mind go blank or to focus on one thing. Breathing deeply and pretending to be relaxed will help a great deal into tricking your body and mind into a calm state.
frothySmiles42
June 28th, 2015 12:10am
best thing to do is take a few deep breaths and sit down for a few minutes until you can function normally again and have clear mind as well I know I have had panic attacks in the past as well so I know its not easy at all when it happening unless you have someone else around you to help calm you down when it happens take up yoga and mediation also helps as well
Noah88
July 1st, 2015 9:41pm
Take a step back and breathe. If your mind panics, your body will follow - but this also works the other way around. Focused breathing will give you something to occupy your mind with other than stressful thoughts, and it will ground you in your body and the now so you won't get carried away. None of this means you should ignore what you feel: acknowledge the feelings of panic, but don't focus too hard on them -- just ride them out. Remind yourself that you control the feelings and that they do not control you, and breathe.
katherinehasacamera
December 9th, 2014 9:39pm
Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. Exhale breath for 8 seconds. Repeat if needed. This breathing exercise shifts your brain from a fight or flight response to a different response.
StrawberryNight
May 14th, 2015 3:58pm
It always really helps me to control my breathing and make sure I'm exhaling. I also really like to watch calming gifs.
Michael77
June 19th, 2015 12:27am
Breathe deeply in through your nose, hold your breath for several seconds, then exhale from your mouth. Repeat this several times.
Anonymous
June 19th, 2015 5:34pm
Doing anything to calm down. Listening to music and zoning out or paintings writing whatever comes to mind. The best thing to do would be to start talking to people about anything, even the randomest of things and becoming more and more comfortable and calm.
Footballboy13
June 19th, 2015 9:43pm
during a panic attack make sure you are breathing in an out slowly which can get you back to your normal breathing pattern. in your head, (or out loud) say the letters C. A. L. M over and over again, until you feel as tho the panic attack is over
Anonymous
June 20th, 2015 12:27am
One of the biggest things would be to take big deep breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Focus on your breathing only.
catriana1
June 20th, 2015 5:19am
Try and take deep, slow breaths and remember that it will pass. If you tend to have people around you then let them know that you suffer from occasional attacks so they can be prepared to sit with you and even hold your hand through it. Having support helps calm you down.
brirose23
June 20th, 2015 11:30pm
The best way that I find to calm myself down during a panic attack is to just remember anything you may be feeling, whether it be a racing heart or dizziness, is just your body's reaction to stress. You can also try to focus your mind onto something else such as reading a calming book or even try watching a funny movie.
Anonymous
June 21st, 2015 3:46am
Just take long, deep breathes for about 10 seconds breathing in, and 10 seconds breathing out. Think in your head a ton of positive experiences and things that make you happy and slowly calm yourself down to the best of your ability.
Anonymous
June 21st, 2015 6:40pm
Breathe in and out, try deep breathng as well and using imagery imagine calm scenes and happy memories and times you have had.
JoyfulHeart822
June 24th, 2015 3:45am
When I find myself in the midst of a panic attack, It always helps me to take deep breaths and go somewhere that calms me, be it a physical place or a mental place. I also try my best to think logically about the situation. Often during a panic attack it's hard to see reason, but if you really focus on rationalizing what's going on you can see it for what it really is- a bump in the road. Whether it's a little bump or a really big one, there is always a way to get through it. If you are experiencing panic attacks that cause you or others harm, or occur very frequently, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
whatigotoschoolfor
June 24th, 2015 5:55am
Breath deeply. Acknowledge that your anxiety is valid and you aren't being 'silly' or however else you may feel - your feelings are worthwhile and mean something. Focus on things that make you happy.
kalokagathia
June 24th, 2015 5:56am
Inhale for 3 seconds then exhale for 3 seconds. Remember to keep breathing but do not hyperventilate
CaitsHere
June 24th, 2015 8:09pm
Panic attacks are basically your brain's reaction to an emergency, even if in reality there isn't one. It's like a fire alarm being pulled as a prank. Sometimes you just have to find a way to turn off the alarm. For me, a good way to do this is a pep talk! I take a deep breath and tell myself, "Everything is okay. I am not in danger. I am safe." I do this out loud if I need to, and repeat it until I can feel myself calming down.
Anonymous
June 25th, 2015 6:46am
Find a quite place, if that is not possible practice deep breathing. Practice different strategies before an attack. Learn to recognize your triggers so it may help you minimize the attacks.