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What are some good techniques to try to stop a panic attack before it happens?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 05/11/2021 at 1:11am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Tracy-Kate Teleke, M.A., LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I assist adults and couples in CA experiencing relationship challenges and interpersonal struggles including anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other life challenges.

Top Rated Answers
February 24th, 2015 7:41am
It depends on the origin of the panic attack. What has helped for me is, instead of being reactionary (if you're not in a state where thinking of your situation will trigger you automatically), identify your anxieties, identify their origins, acknowledge them for what they are and simply let them pass. Do not suppress your feelings: acknowledge them as being part of you, not degrading yourself for having these feelings, but let them go if it isn't helping you. If you can remove yourself from the situation and have a nice caffeine free drink and chill out. Be proactive. If you're around people who give you anxiety, or if you feel it elevating, remove yourself. Sometimes you don't know when it's going to hit, but if you feel it building at all and have time to refresh yourself, GO RESET!!! Even if it's "not that bad" it's easier to deal with negative influences with a blank canvas.
May 5th, 2015 6:13am
Practice calmness and meditation, self-love affirmations. Gratefulness journals. I see panic attacks as a large amount of negative energy in one's body. If you start to see and feel life as more positive, you wont be a match to have panic attacks as much, or at all. Panic attacks are terror and fear. Positive energy blots that all out.
July 28th, 2015 4:52pm
Control your breathing. Most panic attacks cause rapid and shallow breathing which fuels the attack, causing the symptoms to linger. By controlling your breathing, you can help to return your heart rate to normal, lower your blood pressure, slow the sweating, and re-establish a feeling of being in control.
February 23rd, 2015 11:02pm
Try and get outside, deep breathing techniques, distract yourself, play with an animal, dance to your favourite song.
April 11th, 2015 11:35am
When I feel a panic attack coming, I try to do something calming and repetitive, like knitting. It serves as a distraction without being difficult to think about. I also breathe deeply from my stomach and let the air out slowly.
May 8th, 2015 8:57pm
Distract yourself by doing something thay can make you smile no matter what. Stay there and recollect your thoughts. Dont forget to breath. You're doing great
June 18th, 2015 3:33am
Taking deep breaths helps and thinking positive thoughts also can prevent a panic attack. taking your mind off of the topic creating a panic attack may also work. everyone finds something different that helps themselves the most.
July 14th, 2015 11:17am
Check your environment and surroundings. Sometimes just going out for a walk or getting some fresh air can make an incredible difference. If possible, put some music on (classical is an excellent choice for calming the mind)! Remind yourself that you have the ability to control the anxiety!
August 25th, 2015 2:17pm
Square breathing! You breath in for 4 seconds, then out for 4 seconds, and do it 4 times. Also paying attention to one thing, describe the object and the things around/ on it.
December 22nd, 2015 4:42am
Hmm, I would try to get my mind off of whatever that's bothering me. I would try to relax as much as possible, and go to a place where I feel the most comfortable (in bed, around family, etc.) Hope this helps :)
January 26th, 2016 2:10am
When I feel a panic attack coming a try to separate myself from the situation or place I am in. I go to some place cool and quiet, like a bathroom. Splashing some cold water on my face and taking some deep breathes in through the nose out through the mouth can help slow down my thoughts and prevent the panic from continuing.
April 4th, 2016 9:11pm
I also suffer from panic attacks and usually I can never predict when they happen... I've taught myself to deal with them relatively quickly though: the key is breathing. When you have a panic attack you start breathing really hard and really quickly. This is called hyperventilation. It basically drives your panic attack forward and keeps the anxiety going. To stop this, you need to concentrate on your breathing and try and breathe as slowly as you can. I know in real life it is really hard to think about how you breath when you are having a panic attack, but if you practice you will eventually learn to control your anxiety and you will be able to recover much faster. Good luck:)
June 21st, 2016 9:54pm
when you feel like you are being triggered try to relax do what ever relaxes you. go away from crowds. listen to music. try to eliminate things that trigger you.
August 22nd, 2016 9:26am
Understanding the symptoms of a panic attack are key to stopping it before it happens. When you feel the onset of the attack, it is important to control your breathing by taking long, even breaths in through the nose, and out through the mouth. This will allow you to focus, and calm down your system, preventing the panic attack.
November 28th, 2016 6:16am
Breathing techniques can be surprisingly effective. Hyperventilating causes many of the panic symptoms such as hold/numb extremities and spaceyness/loss of focus. Breathe slowly into your nostrils and slower still out of your mouth. Avoid quick, shallow breaths at all costs.
January 3rd, 2017 1:09pm
It all depends on you. For me, panic attacks can be sudden or it can be a build up of my anxiety over time which leads to a panic attack. I find meditation sometimes helps me to reduce my anxiety but you also need to think about the triggers for your attacks and ways to approach this. Click on Path at the top of your page and look at the self help guides for tips on how to help you. There is no shame in needing to try different things to find one that works best for you.
June 26th, 2017 2:07am
Become aware of the physical and cognitive symptoms that usually come for you when you have a panic attack. Once you know them, you'll be able to know pretty early on that you're about to have an attack and you can employ your coping skills. Breathing exercises work for me.
November 27th, 2017 3:15am
Focus on something entirely new and really focus on it. If you're panicking about a crowd, focus on a random building really hard and start thinking of questions about it so that your brain stops worrying about the other thing.
May 11th, 2021 1:11am
I can share what has worked for me. Understand that this is just my experience and so I can't speak for anyone else. Almost every article you will find that talks about dealing with things like anxiety will eventually talk about the breath. What I have done now is to write out a list of things that trigger my attacks, and that helps me to watch for things piling up that I might not notice. It might be stress, change in weather, pain, life changes, drugs, overeating etc. Then, when I see that there are a number of things piling up, I try to control the things I can (I can't control the weather, for example but I can control if I overeat). Then, if I still feel that "shaky" feeling like I am going to have an attack, I do deep breathing. Sometimes I have to leave my work and find a place to breathe. I used to force myself to stay, but I have learned that that usually leads to me having an attack.