Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

What is the best way to calm down when having a panic attack?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 10/05/2021 at 3:29am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jennifer Fritz, LMSW, PhD

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Day to day life can be stressful and overwhelming and my strength is assisting my clients in a supportive, empowering and practical manner.

Top Rated Answers
May 17th, 2015 7:18pm
In my experience, the worst thing you can do when you're having a panic attack is to try and prevent it from happening. For me, it just makes me panic more. What has worked for me is "riding the wave" and by that I mean, allowing yourself to feel the feelings pass over you, while continuing to imagine yourself getting to a calm place. Another suggestion is to write down your safe places, spaces, and objects - keep the list on you and look at it when you're feeling panicked. The reminder can sometimes bring us a bit of joy in the midst of a hard situation.
November 24th, 2014 5:28pm
The earth, air, and water technique is incredibly helpful. While many techniques require you to register something emotionally, or depend on specific individuals, the E,A, &W technique is based on the physiological FACTS, and deals with the science of your brain rather than feelings. In short, it helps you to calm your body down so that you can begin to get your mind under control as well. Earth: What's around you? Identify objects, their shapes and colors and textures, and where they are in relativity to yourself. Air: Breathe. Breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Water: This is gonna sound gross. I was skeptical at first myself, but trust me. It works. Make saliva in your mouth. The science behind this, though I can't recall the terminology, is that the part of your brain that panics and your digestive system can't work at the same time. So when you make saliva, you start up your digestive system. When you start up your digestive system, your body is physically incapable of panicking. You'll probably still feel a little shaky, but you're on the path to calming down.
November 27th, 2014 2:33pm
When I have a panic attack and I'm not home, I usually try to change my focus to something of the outside, like a noise, a smell something that distracts me for a while from whatever is causing the panic attack or the panic attack itself. You can try to focus on your breathing too, trying to make it regular and slower. This way, not only you're focusing on something else and feel that you have control over your body but also physically calm down. I have my own personal version of a breathing exercise: I try to imagine that my lungs are full with negativity, a bad air, I imagine it's black, and it's what causing the anxiety. Then when I inhale, I'm inhaling good air, clean, positive air, and it can have any nice color you want, even your favorite color, for me that is soothing and relaxing blue. When I exhale, the bad air and the negativity goes out. Gradually, the good air replaces the bad air and this really calms me down. the better you can imagine the bad air coming out of the inside of your lungs and being replaced with the good air, the best it works. If I'm at home, listening to my favorite music usually helps a lot too.
December 27th, 2014 9:44pm
There is no best way to calm down when having a panic attack, because everyone is different and their experiences with different techniques and exercises are different. This means that doing your research and finding a technique for you is the best course of action. Try exercising before you do something that may trigger your anxiety, if you find the sound of something calming, stick it on your Ipod and listen. One of the exercises that really works for me is being conscious of your breathing.
November 10th, 2015 1:13pm
I have found that the best way to calm down when having a panic attack is to listen to relaxing music, deep breathing, and taking a hot bath if I can
June 20th, 2016 3:13pm
Start taking deep breaths.And say yourself that there's nothing to scare.Sit somewhere comfortable and let your feelings go.Don't fight with them.Let your mind free.Maybe a relaxing music help you too
August 1st, 2016 6:23am
Focus on the basic of life. On the first thing you do when you're born... Breathe..... Breathe slowly, calmly, don't force it, let it happen naturally, gently control and guide your breathing and just focus on being able to listen to your heartbeat.
November 25th, 2014 3:26am
The best way to begin is careful breathing! Other things come into play as well, such as finding a peaceful environment and relaxing your body. Many like to use music and other factors to calm themselves down.
November 25th, 2014 4:00am
Deep breathing is a technique I have learnt to use and it almost always work for me - at least in some degree. Experiencing a panic attack is scary and can even feel life threatening. Taking deep breaths provides oxygen to your brain which in turn will help calm you down and help you to focus. The following link may be helpful:
November 29th, 2014 9:53am
I have found that, doing the simplest of actions like breathing slowly and closing my eyes. Helps so insanely much and after I have calmed myself down that way I either listen to music or draw. Within time of doing those things and not overthinking about what is going on in my life, I know Ill be okay.
December 1st, 2014 9:39am
Depends on each person but I usually find a way to distract myself, usually by counting numbers or listing objects in the room. Just don't think about the fear itself.
December 8th, 2014 2:33am
What I've found most helpful when having a panic attack is to take a moment and a deep breath and focus as hard as possible on the way my feet feel in my socks and shoes. This helps bring my mind back into my body and into real life. It can be hard to remember to breathe, but it is critical. Breathe deeply and focus on something solid and how that feels.
December 20th, 2014 4:31pm
The best way to calm down when having a panic attack is to just breathe and try to distract yourself. Listen to music or draw a picture or watch tv. Even eating a banana can help calm you down.
December 28th, 2014 7:17pm
I use deep breathing exercises and close my eyes and keep my focus on my breathing. I also take a hold of my healing stones and try to think reassuring thoughts.
April 5th, 2015 12:43am
Take a moment to breathe. Find certain things to focus on. I read an exercise online that I found very helpful as well. It said, "Name five things you can see. Breathe. Name four things you can feel. Breathe. Name three things you can hear. Breathe. Name two things you can smell. Breathe. Name one thing that makes you happy. Breathe." By doing this you find things to focus on that AREN'T the panic attack.
May 2nd, 2015 1:48am
Breathing in and out slowly with your abdomen. Also counting on your fingers and concentrate on what is happening, how you're feeling and accept that the emotions you are experiencing are valid. When I used to have panick attacks often, I would put one finger in front of me and move it in a 8 shape and follow it with my eyes but without moving my head. It is a great relaxation technique. Hope I helped a little bit. Take care!
June 18th, 2015 2:07am
take a shower and drink water and take deep breaths and talk to someone about your problems and try to relaxs
June 18th, 2015 3:29am
Always remember to breathe. Keep repeating to yourself everything will be okay and instead of focusing on the negative of the situation, think of all the positives and everything that makes you happy. Use coping skills. Even listening to music or drawing a few stick figures or anime eyes can be very calming.
September 7th, 2015 5:42pm
Deep breathing is an effective way to slow your heart rate and relieve some of the physical symptoms. Another great step is to get outside and connect with something that will ground you. Touch the grass, feel the wind. It helps clear the swirl of thoughts and emotions that can feel like they are suffocating you.
November 16th, 2015 4:22pm
I like sit outside of my hoodie and look around for 5-10 different nature things outside. Best thing I found is to try and distract your mind into going into having a panic attack.
November 30th, 2015 3:36pm
I close my eyes and focus on my breathing. I start my counting to 50 and seeing how I feel. If I am still having issues I would restart the process and count to 50 again.
December 28th, 2015 5:22pm
Panic attacks are frightening and distressing. If you start to experience one, stop whatever you're doing, breathe and focus. Concentrate on the fact that what is happening in your brain is a temporary chemical anomaly. Keep this at the forefront of your mind, tell yourself it will pass and that it will not affect the rest of your day. Neither will it affect your day if it happens again. If you are able, grab the nearest book or magazine and start reading it, anything that distracts you at this moment is a great way for you to start training your brain during an attack. It will help you if and when you experience another attack. In time your brain will learn that you are in control during these moments and that you have the capacity to block the effects of an attack.
January 5th, 2016 11:02pm
I always found the best way that worked for me, was to Sit down close my eyes and take big breaths.
February 2nd, 2016 2:55pm
Take a deep breath, control your breathing! key element here! Try to avoid the situation that caused the panic attack (by leaving physically or asking whoever is there to give you a moment because you are having a panic attack). There is nothing wrong with saying "I dont feel well, I think I am having a panic attack, can you leave or help me calm down". Thats it! usually people will stay and help you get over it.
April 4th, 2016 11:31am
Do whatever you can to distract myself. I like to repeat it will pass over over and focus on the words untill it passes
August 16th, 2016 11:29am
Think of something soothing that would really help. and don forget to :) take deep breaths...........
October 9th, 2017 2:19pm
The way I calm myself down is by breathing deep in and out and counting my breaths. I remember that I can defeat it.
November 28th, 2017 5:12pm
everyone has a thing that works for them . this could be music , drawing , running your hands in cold water , going outside whatever it is find it and it will help .
December 4th, 2018 8:08am
Breathing is the best way to calm down from a panic attack. And once you can control the breathing then get up slowly and get some water into your system. After you get a few drinks of water into your body then you can either sit back down or maybe do something that is going to make yourself feel better in the sense like going for a walk to clearing out the problem that caused the panic attack. You can not be scared about this you have to attack the panic attack back in the sense that your stronger then the attack when it was happening and you have to tell yourself that you are a very important person as well.
June 2nd, 2020 10:42pm
Panic attacks are really scary and can seem like there’s no way out during one. I also struggle with them, so I’ve found a few tricks over the years. The first tip is to stop and realize that you’re having a panic attack. Ask yourself if there is a real threat. If there is a real threat, get out of harms way. If there is no threat, realize that you’re safe. The next step is to ground yourself. Think about everything you can see, hear, feel, smell and taste. If that doesn’t work, try deep breathing. In for 5 seconds, out for 7 seconds. I hope this helps!