Tips to help manage Panic Attacks

World in handsThe tips below are to allow people to manage panic attacks and their symptoms.  Some or all may be relevant and useful and these are only a guide of the more common ways to manage anxiety. 


If they are not effective for you or a person who is suffering, do not be concerned as it indicates that these are not the right tools or that now is not the right time to be using them.  This is not to be used as a replacement for professional help.

Gaining control:

If we can control our panic attacks, it can alleviate some of the fears associated with them. 

1 – Breathing.  One of the quickest ways of stopping a panic attack is to control our breathing.  When we have a panic attack, it is fuelled by the increase in oxygen that is fed into our bloodstream by our increased breath rate.  To combat this, we need to rebalance the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

–         3/5 breathing – breath in to the count of 3 and out to the count of 5.

–         Use a paper bag.  In doing this, you are not taking in any new oxygen and this rebalances you quickly.

2 – Distraction – if we can distract our mind successfully, the thought processes that prolong the symptoms will stop and the panic attack will stop.  Therefore, engage your mind with activities such as reciting the words of a song, all the teams in the premier league, poetry, calculate how many days old you are etc…..

3 – Rationalize – If we feel one of the symptoms associated with a panic attack, we can fear that we’re in the beginning of one, so can bring this on.  Therefore, for example, if you can rationalize that your increased heart rate is due to the flight of stairs you’ve just taken, this can calm you down.

4 – Self assure – If you’ve had panic attacks before then you know you’ve survived them.  Reminding yourself of this and that it’s a natural response from your mind and body can help the symptoms to reduce more quickly.

5 – Relaxation – Relax your shoulders and continue to breath.

6 – Focus on the here and now as we only live in the present – rather than the past or future.  Thinking about what may happen is unhelpful.

7 – Stay in the situation.  Avoidance is a short term coping strategy that may make it more difficult to stay in the situation in the future.  By staying in the situation, you’re telling yourself that you can do this and you’re educating yourself that your ok to do this.

Managing panic attacks.

Often, once we had a panic attack or a series of panic attacks, our fear of another affects our emotions, thoughts and behaviour greatly.  This can make us worry about having another one, being embarrassed, fear of losing control when we’re out etc…  It can lead to us becoming agoraphobic where we fear going out for fear of having a panic attack.

Being able to control a panic attack and accepting that you can have panic attacks are big steps forward in helping you manage them.  You may also want to seek further help to help explore what may have caused this, what’s maintaining them and what the triggers are.  Understanding anxiety and how it affects you can help you manage this to allow you to be free from unwanted feelings.  See Anxiety and Panic Attacks for more information.

Most therapies such as Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling etc.. aim to allow you to Live Your Life as you’d like to.  Having our needs met helps our sense of wellbeing allowing us to feel in control of our lives and giving us a sense of inner peace.  This can include feeling a sense of purpose, control, progress, status and feeling fulfilled and satisfied as well as being loved (and loving) and being supported.

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