Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

What is the best way to prevent a panic attack if you know you're going to have one?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 10/19/2020 at 6:03pm
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
November 6th, 2017 5:06pm
I know everyone is different but when I used to suffer with panic attack I found ice cold water helped me. I was told it shocks the body into calming down. I'm not sure if that is true but it worked for me. I had a supply of ice cold bottled water all the time and use it as a comfort blanket when I went out. I truly believe just having it with me helped me feel less anxious as I felt I could control it if needed
September 28th, 2020 6:35pm
I can only talk from personal experience and my own knowledge on this. But if you acknowledge you're going to have a panic attack it can be prevented or lesson before it gets out of control. Firstly you may want to discover what is triggering you and avoid that trigger or process it before your mind sends you into shock over it, you can do this by looking at your environment and things that have happened and try to work through them before anything escalates. If you cannot work through a trigger, or find you can't pinpoint one you can practice grounding (focus on your senses and ground yourself to reality to avoid spiraling) If that doesn't work you can try removing yourself from a situation or place, moving your body or your mind to a different location can distract you physically and give a space for you to process mentally. Another way you can try is practicing breathing exercises to make you feel secure before you lose your sense of control. A final way to prevent may be distracting yourself anyway you can... Reading, writing, even drawing. Staying in company may also reduce effects. Stay safe, I hope these gave some practical methods to help prevent!
October 19th, 2020 6:03pm
It sounds odd, but sometimes it can better to let yourself have the panic attack but have an action plan of how you're going to deal with it because then when you are in a similar situation again it will feel less daunting and you might fell less anxious. You don't want to fight against it as that will make it worse. Instead you can try and do things to calm you down to make the attack last less time. Some things that might help are grounding techniques (five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste), have a drink or gum or something else that may help calm you, take yourself out of the situation if you can, and if you have a friend with you ask them to help by talking to you hugging you asking you questions or even just staying with you.
May 3rd, 2015 4:00pm
I try to control my breathing. Breath in, Breath out. Breath in, Breath out. That's all I tell myself and some days it least for 5 minutes before it works but that's only when they are really bad. I do feel my heart slow down and my mind slowly clear. It also helps with my anxiety.
May 14th, 2015 9:02pm
Use relaxation techniques like breathing to relieve stress. Also use AWARE. Acknowledge & Accept Wait & Watch (and maybe, Work) Actions (to make myself more comfortable) Repeat End
May 29th, 2015 8:06pm
Start your coping mechanisms early! Remove yourself from the situation that's making you panicky and distract yourself-- deep breaths, drinking water, stimming. Basically, act as if you're already having a panic attack.
August 3rd, 2015 7:57pm
When I think I am going to have a panic attack, I remove myself from the situation that is stressing me out. This works best for me in environments where others know about my struggles with anxiety because they can also help me calm down before things get too hard to handle.
October 27th, 2015 2:10am
When I know I'm going to have a panic attack, I put myself in a room that is quiet, usually dark, where I feel calm. I like to put the fan on, as the noise helps to distract me from my thoughts. I take multiple deep, slow breaths, and close my eyes. It really helps to be in a place where you feel most comfortable!
October 31st, 2015 8:40pm
if you can, remove yourself from the situation that's causing you to feel like you're going to have one. If possible, have someone youre extremely comfortable with that can help calm you down, if that helps you. (I have my boyfriend by my side to help me calm down and usually wipe away the tears that have formed.).Then take deep breaths using a breathing exercise (like breathe in for 5 seconds, out for 10) as this helps to keep your breathing regulated. Also having a glass of ice cold water helped me. Also close your eyes and think of other things to try and distract yourself from your thoughts.
January 12th, 2016 11:56am
In my experience, racing heart, difficulty breathing, racing thoughts, dry mouth, sweaty and tingly hands and tingly lips are all key signs but those may not be present in each person or in each individual attack.
January 18th, 2016 11:13pm
The best way to prevent a panic attack is to remind yourself that whatever happens, everything will be alright. If you are able to, remove yourself from the situation and find a place where you feel safe and comfortable. Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. You will get through it!
March 14th, 2016 3:01am
You can't prevent a panic attack, you just have to accept that it may happen and know that you are prepared to deal with it when it does. Trying to prevent it will only make it worse.
June 6th, 2016 8:01pm
Distract yourself. It's easier to pull yourself out of the panicky mindset if you get lost in an action or thought. Talk to someone that helps you calm down.
September 5th, 2016 4:15am
Try and breathe and relax as best you can think about what makes you feel calm and safe and ease into situation
September 5th, 2016 2:05pm
Ground yourself, 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can feel and 1 thing you can taste
October 17th, 2016 10:40pm
For me, If I feel like i'm going to have one, I start breathing exercises right away, it can often prevent a panic attack from happening, For me, inhaling for 10 seconds and then exhaling for 10 seconds really can keep from having an attack. Also, on youtube there are many relaxing sounds to prevent one from happening. Just be sure to be dedicated to getting rid of it :)
January 3rd, 2017 12:39am
The first thing to do is to control your breathing. If you are starting to feel uneasy, take a deep breath in through your nose for seven seconds. Hold that breath for four seconds, and release that breath through your mouth for seven sounds. Repeat this for as long as needed. Another way is to distract yourself - whether that be chewing something, watching a funny video, or having a good talk with somebody. These are just a few ways you can prevent them.
July 3rd, 2017 9:48pm
Try to distract yourself. We all know that we can bring on our panic attacks, I have done it. It's easy to say "Don't think about it" but we all know that just makes us focus on it more. A silly trick I use when I'm driving and feel one coming on is to give myself a semi-challenging match problem..... randomly pick two large number and try to subtract one from the other. It takes my attention off my panic long enough to get my heart rate and breathing back to a normal rate and snaps me out of the panic I was starting to slip into. Or I've heard some people pinch themselves as the pain distracts them long enough to avert the focus.
September 11th, 2017 12:40am
If you believe you are going to start a panic attack, the first step is to start breathing. The next step would be to try to remove yourself from your current surroundings. (Ex. if you are in a classroom, ask to go to the bathroom or the nurse.) If you are in a work setting, try going outside for a quick break. After that, if you still feel bad, think of calming things or walk around a bit. Try to slow your breathing, thinking, walking speed, etc. After that you should be good. If not, repeat the steps or find a friend to help you,
December 4th, 2017 4:26am
I suggest that you do some "grounding". That is to be fully aware of your emotions and environment. Hold on to something or someone. Do some pep talk with yourself or with a person. Inhale and exhale. "This is just momentarily. You know how to get through this."