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How can I learn to recognize the triggers of my panic attacks?

22 Answers
Last Updated: 08/24/2021 at 8:48pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.

Top Rated Answers
December 1st, 2014 9:42am
Write. After a panic attack write down what your panic attack was like, how long and how intense it was. Then write what you were doing before, what you did when it stopped, what surroundings or people you were with when the panic attack occurred, and eventually, you may realise a pattern.
April 19th, 2015 7:39pm
i found keeping a journal of when my attacks happened helped me map what was triggering them and what was helping them move along
November 25th, 2014 7:36pm
When you feel panicky, if you can notice what caused it. Also situations or people that make you uneasy, if its a person their characteristics
December 27th, 2014 10:39pm
Take a moment to think about what's happening around you when these panic attacks present themselves. Are you around a lot of people? Did you feel claustrophobic at the time? Did you have an important interview? Look for a pattern and work from there.
May 17th, 2016 3:26pm
We can do it be being a little mindful about our surroundings and our natural reaction to it. Normally the causes of panic attacks are very easy to pin-point, when it is coming from a particular thought or incident related thing. But when the cause gets jumbled up in a series of events, it is better to look at things with a' from a whole to a part' method which means to slowly deduct the addendum events and find out the one which triggers the panic attack. Once you successfully find out the causes, it is important to understand the causes and the nature of the trigger, which is related to the cause. Another best way is to note down the causes in a small notepad, which is the next step. Writing it down helps us to identify where the problem is lying...and with that we can always make an attempt to self-motivate ourselves against such negative thoughts which bring in panic attacks
November 24th, 2014 7:35pm
Right before you start panicking think about what happened right before and what usually stresses you out
November 26th, 2014 1:58pm
I started recording my panic attacks to try and figure out the pattern. I'd note the place, how I was feeling, certain thoughts that kept reoccurring, etc. Soon enough I could see what was triggering me and by recording it in so much detail, I could also track my improvement and see which coping mechanisms worked better.
November 29th, 2014 6:19am
This may be easier said than done, but when you come down from your panic attack, if you'll reflect on the events leading up to the panic attack, maybe you can become cognizant of your triggers. There's a term called metacognition which simply means "thinking about thinking." Try to pay attention to your unconscious-to-conscious thoughts during a panic attacks. They may also lend a clue.
December 8th, 2014 7:26pm
The first would be that your breath is a bit too panty, like you ran. As soon as that starts, you'll know. Progressing, it can go to anything else. Not everyone has breath as the first. Try to ask a witness(close friend maybe) to observe you next time and check your first symptom.
December 18th, 2014 7:04pm
Keep a journal of all the triggers that have brought on panic attacks and try to identify a pattern.
December 25th, 2014 9:10pm
Try and focus when you are feeling nervous/anxious/discomforted. Decipher what around you is making you feel this way. Is it being in a crowd of people? Having to speak to others? Presenting yourself in front of an audience? It may help to understand the triggers and consider ways to resolve these.
January 3rd, 2015 2:29am
i learned that there can be the smallest or maybe several things in my environment that are triggering my anxiety and if you cannot control whats within your environment, the best thing to do is take yourself out of that situation as quickly as possible, breathe, talk to someone if possible and try and figure out a solution. even if that means not re-entering that environment where you felt unsafe. you might want to seek out some help for your anxiety/panic attacks and figure out other ways of dealing with them as well :)
April 2nd, 2015 12:30am
Pay attention to what you are doing and what you are thinking about when you have panic attacks. Also, sometimes there are no obvious triggers. Panic attacks can happen at any point in time with reason or no reason.
April 24th, 2015 4:06pm
Perform data collection. For every time after you experienced panic attack, think of 3 things that happened before your panic attack. Write it down and keep collecting the data and hopefully soon, you'll be able to see the similarities from the episodes and that might help you pinpoint on your triggers
May 21st, 2015 7:37pm
Mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool to identify panic triggers and recognize early warning signs of an attack. In my personal experience, taking inventory of subtle changes in my body and mentality (without feeling a need to "fix" them) at the onset of panic has gone a long way toward helping me identify situations and stimuli which trigger my attacks, as well as helping me learn to ride out an attack when my symptoms feel uncontrollable.
August 3rd, 2015 9:22am
You have to focus when you feel panic attacks. That way you can know. And you should not ever deny it. After the attack, think about it again, and you will surely know what triggers you. This works for me anyway.
December 21st, 2015 5:22am
When you feel panic first strike, notice what is happening to your body but don't let your attack subside.
April 4th, 2016 11:35pm
I write what happened down so that later I can read everything and reflect on the situation. Maybe just be more observant on everything going on.
April 26th, 2016 1:59pm
Whenever you have a panic attack, once you calm down you can try to remember what happened or what you did right before the panic attack occurred. After a few times you should be able to tell a few of your triggers.
August 29th, 2016 12:49am
If you can feel yourself starting to close up or panic, before it gets too intense, youll be able to see that one is starting. Its always good to take space in those situations and not try to force anything.
June 18th, 2018 6:31pm
Reflect on the past, try to notice any patterns. Ask yourself: "who is causing it?" "what thing is causing it?" "when is it being caused?" "where is it being caused?"
August 24th, 2021 8:48pm
Whenever you have a panic attack, think about what you are doing/think about. This will help you recognize the triggers of your panic attacks and will help you prevent them. Once you figure out what is causing your panic attacks you can figure out ways to stop them, this may be holding something that makes you feel safe or thinking about something. All of us are unique and no matter how weird the way to stop them may be, don’t be embarrassed by it. Make sure to breathe in deeply. In for 4 seconds and then out for 4 seconds. Have a good day and good luck :).