What has worked for you when dealing with a panic attack?
Last Updated: 12/21/2021 at 4:13am
Monique Thompson, LPC, LPC-S
Licensed Professional Counselor
I am in my 21st year as a psychotherapist. I have worked with over 3, 000 people over the course of my career.
Top Rated Answers
Counting 1-4 while breathing in and 5-8 while breathing out :) I do this until I feel the panic feelings are more manageable.
listening to music helps me out the most. especially when its calming. another thing that helps is learning independence through panic attacks because someone will not always be their to help you. think to yourself why you're panicking, and just know it'll be over soon and encourage yourself to breath. panic attacks don't last forever
Breathing in though the nose and out through the mouth also closing your eyes and imagining you are somewhere that makes you feel calm and happy.
For me I breathe deeply and count as I do so so that I don’t end up breathing too quickly. I also try to get out of the present situation if that’s what’s causing my panic attack. I try to think about something else that I know tends to work for me. I can look at photos of my puppy, watch an episode of something that engages me, listen to calming music...it depends. If something doesn’t work I try something else. I also try to accept that it’s happening and that even if it doesn’t feel like it, I WILL make it through the hard time to the other side. The feeling is not permanent. I try to have as much faith that I can that I will feel better. Sometimes I do a form of vigorous exercise to give the anxiety a physiological reason to be present which channels the energy and dissipates it. But don’t use that technique if you are in the panic attacks and feeling faint. I use that technique only at the beginning when I sense the panic coming on.
Breathing exercises tended to work for me and to imagine an good image in my head to keep me distracted from my panic attack. I also tend to go for a walk afterwards to calm myself down from the situation that made me feel that way in the first place. And then go back to what I was doing and refresh my mind from what happened before. It really does help when you are in a panicked situation like that. Talking to your friends about not after who are understanding can also help as well to remind you that you are not alone
Panic attacks don't always happen in the most convenient places, so it would be ideal to have more than one coping mechanism... My personal one, is to go into a room and name everything I can see and the colour. In example, right now, I would say, "black laptop", "grey carpet", "white door" etc. Another one I find very helpful, is something called "grounding". You breathe slowly and then bring your awareness to 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 emotion you can feel... Those two work for me, they might work for you too :)
What helps me during an attack is different every time. It could be deep breathing, changing my thoughts, medication, taking care of myself like getting sleep, music, talking to someone, stepping away from everything, prayer, stepping outside, nature, or a bath. Sometimes my anxiety turns into full blown panic attacks which are harder to calm down from but self care really helps. I have downloaded some apps like headspace, and calm to help get me through them. I have also found that reading helps. Sometimes the same things that help are the ones that make it worse. So it's important to understand and be in tune with your attacks, your mind, and your body.
For me focusing on what i see, hear, smeel, feel in my surrounding rather than on panic attack helped me to reduce the duration of panic attacks and helped me to become calmer and soothed after panic attack quicker. I was distracting self from symptoms and signs of panic attack while focusing on what i see, hear, smell and touch in my surrounding and it helped me a lot. I think that it is worth trying. Just not think about what your automatic negative thoughts want to tell you as it will make panic attack worse. Panic attacks in me are driven by automatic negative thoughts.
The biggest thing was identifying that it's a panic attack. There are different things that work for different people. Being able to deal with it can get pretty tough hence it's preferred to do what calms you down. Just try to ask for help from someone or explore ways that you know would definitely help you
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