How To Deal With Panic Attacks

10 coping techniques to help you when panic attacks strike…

What Is A Panic Attack?

A panic attack is when you experience a sudden intense feeling of anxiety. You might feel shaky, nauseous, breathless, sweaty and dizzy. Your heartbeat might become irregular or speed up, which can make you feel frightened. Panic attacks can leave people scared they mayhave a heart attack or collapse. Some people might even worry that they’re going to die. Panic attacks can be very scary and distressing but they’re not dangerous and shouldn’t harm you physically. Most panic attacks last between 5-30 minutes.

10 Coping Techniques  

Use these tips to help you during a panic attack:

  1. Talk To Yourself

Remind yourself that the physical symptoms you’re feeling cannot hurt you and that they are being caused by anxious thoughts, not something more sinister.

  1. Confront Your Fear

Your first instinct may be to flee the situation but it’s better to remain where you are and ride it out if you’re able to. You’ll gain the chance to realise that nothing bad is going to happen when you eventually make it out the other side. Let the feelings wash over you.

  1. Stamp It Out

Stamp or march on the spot to help you focus on controlling your breathing. The movement of your feet can also help to distract you from the unpleasant physical symptoms of a panic attack.

  1. Breathe

Focus on your breathing. Breathe in deep, slow breaths and exhale. Close your eyes to help you concentrate or breathe gently in and out as you count to five.

  1. Use Your Senses

Focus on your senses to help ground you. What can you smell? What can you see? Touch or cuddle something soft or listen to the sounds of the birds outside.This will help you shift your focus outward away from your uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

  1. Ground Yourself

Grounding techniques help to connect you to the here and now when you feel overwhelmed by feelings of panic and anxiety. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. This exercise is designed to engage all five senses to help ground you when your anxiety is becoming overwhelming. Look around you and find:

  • 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.

For more helpful grounding techniques, click here.

  1. Close Your Eyes

When you’re dealing with a bad panic attack, you can start to feel completely overwhelmed. Close your eyes to the fast-paced environment around you (if it’s safe to do so) and remove one of your senses completely. This also helps you focus on your breathing.

  1. Relax Your Muscles

Try to relax one muscle at a time. Start with your fingers or toes and work your way up the body. Focus on relaxing each muscle as you move over your body to spread relaxation from head to toe.

  1. Go To Your Happy Place

Think of a place where you feel safe. Visualise it in your mind. Picture every last detail. Conjure up the emotions you feel when you’re in your happy place – is it comfort and love? Safe and secure?

  1. Repeat Your Own Mantra

Repeat a phrase over and over in your head to give you the reassurance you need to get through this. It can be anything you like. You might want to try, “I will beat this panic attack” or “Breathe in and breathe out”, or you can create your own personalised mantra. Continue to repeat your mantra until your anxiety starts to subside.


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