Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks
How can coping tools help relieve panic attacks? Especially since most panic attacks feel like they come out of the blue, even though there is usually a trigger. The trigger is that you are scared of panic attacks. And why wouldn't you be? They are one of the most uncomfortable experiences on this planet. Having a list of tools can help reduce the number of panic attacks you experience and help you feel less afraid of the panic coming.
10 Coping Tools for Panic Attack Relief
These coping tools will help you avoid panic attacks in the first place. Some of them you should do every day as part of good self-care. Others will help when you enter new situations or relationships. Put them all in your anti-anxiety toolkit and feel more in control.
1. Have an exit plan. Sometimes knowing we have a plan to leave a situation helps us not be so afraid of trying something new. For example, know you can excuse yourself, you can have your own car to drive home, or you have a friend to support you can make all the difference. We are often scared to get anxiety and not be able to do anything about it. We are afraid of being out of control. Making a plan will make you feel more in control and this counters the anxiety.
2. Have someone you can count on ready to call. In fact, have several, in case the one is busy. Someone who knows about the anxiety and can tell you you are okay, or even better--someone who can make you laugh.
3. Spend time with your pet. Animals tend to ease anxiety. So spend as much time with a friendly animal as you can. Here are some animal activities to enjoy: keeping a pet, bird watching, going to an aquarium, etc. (Animal Therapy: Easing Anxiety With An Animal)
4. Interact with water. There is something about water that stops the energy of panic. Sometimes crying releases it (tears). However, consider taking a hot bath or shower for immediate relief. Also drinking hot soup or a hot drink (non-caffeinated) can help.
5. Have a tranquilizer with you. Knowing you have anti-anxiety medication to calm you down within 15 minutes can help you not be afraid of anxiety. Again, we are afraid of being out of control of our anxiety so just knowing you have the medicine is all you need (With Anxiety, You Do Have Control). Panic needs you to be scared of it for it to stay.
6. Give yourself a massage or have your loved one give you one. This really calms the nerves and calls our attention back out of the anxious mind and into the body.
7. Forward bend. Like a fetal position, any forward bend in yoga counters anxiety. You can get in child's position (see photo).
8. Stare at yourself in the mirror. This is called tratak meditation. It helps build trust in yourself. Do this when you are calm to prevent anxiety and panic.
9. Go for a walk. Get a change of scenery and use up some of that excess energy. The biology of fear indicates the release of adrenaline makes your body want to do something. Doing something and feeling a sense of control on the account of that activity is by far the best thing you can do for a panic attack.
10. Laugh. Watch some funny videos on YouTube. Laughter and anxiety cannot live in the same moment together!
What did I forget? What's worked for you?
Lobozzo, J. (2012, May 2). Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, March 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/05/ten-things-to-do-for-a-panic-attack
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
I usually become like paralyzed, no movement. Noise irritates me, but I love to feel someone's presence (have someone talking to me, or touching me) just so that I come back, as It seems like I completely disconnect. Tranquilizers and anti epileptic help and are always with me. I was told to breath in a paper bag.Going for a walk or drive are not an option for me as I often faint.
Do you like to breathe in a plastic bag? It is all about the exhale. It just reminds us to exhale. We often forget, especially when we are panicked.
I never tried it although they said it will help me. When I "wake up" and can start thinking again, I do try to exhale like if i was blowing candles that are very far. I don't know if it's a good technique, but I just do it without thinking.
Great idea of blowing candles far away!
I have to pinch myself sharply several times to snap out of it - this seems to be the only thing that gives me alittle relief
I was just talking to someone the other day who does the same thing! I'm glad it works!
I had my lady slap the hell out of me when my panic attack happens its the best reality check.
Engaging the senses, activating physical sensations (touch, smell, etc.) can be very effective ways to pull the mind away from anxiety and panic and back into the real world. How wonderful that this works for you and that you have someone to help with this. I'm wondering if the two of you might choose a different approach to the same thing, such as smelling something strong like coffee beans or a strong shoulder rub/the use of a back massage tool. You could achieve the same result in a kinder, less painful way. :)
Hi!!!! Do you still have panic attackes???
A paper bag or a newspaper folded into a cone shape held to mouth to inhale and exhale slowly into- very slowly so not to become light headed
Jodi is no longer writing the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog for Healthy Place, so she is unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the writers of the column now. I agree with you about the paper bag/folded newspaper. Many people find this technique to be quite effective (myself included). Good point about the need to breathe slowly. Thank you for sharing something that is helpful to you.
i get chest tighting and is soon as as i feel anxious my eyes go teary and i feel over sensitive esspeccially to any around me metaphoricly a pin drops to the floor and i start crying info i have high fuctioning autism i was diagnosed at 9with pdd-nos not otherwise specified coming under the umbrella of asperges disorder and other autism i dont know if my padiatrithion is right though well all i know is i reaserched that most individuals with autism have experiance leveled or heightened anxiety from probaby from confusion and proccesinng information and of course they are unresponsive to normal teachin methods and the more high fuctioning you are the more likely you are to experiance anxiety w
I just started having panic attacks last Tuesday and it felt like I was paralyzed also. My body instantly overheats and my chest and shoulders feel very tight and it feels like I'm having a heart attack. That's the scariest part for me. For me its not the fear of anything that sparks them its just pure stress and anxiety.I was playin video games when I had my first one and tonite I had a very light one just simply watching football on tv. I stopped it quickly though by chewing two xnax. I used to think it was just mental but I now know that its not. Anyone have tips for me because I would really not like to experience these for the rest of my life
You don't have to have them forever. The scary part, when you think you are having a panic attack, that part is what gives them energy. If you remembered it was a panic and you could handle it and it would go away soon, it would pass quickly and come less and less until they realize you are not afraid and just go away. The meaning you make about them is everything. If you thought they were nothing, they would become nothing. It may seem like no trigger but you are getting scared about the heart attack. Try this method, if it doesn't work, see a counselor, (maybe one who know EFT) and you may only have to have one visit to get rid of them. Act fast, the shorter you have them, the easier, because the far has not become a habit!
Good luck! I know you can do it! Jodi
Ive just had a panic attack again this morning, i had my first one about two months ago,i have a great therapist that Im seeing who has put me on to a very simple form of child mediattion which is basically just observing ones breath for about 20 minutes twice a day,and offcourse im on restyl about a quarter twice a day....i have really gotten better and the very fact that im now equipped or rather can control my attacks wit the simple breathing technique that my doctor has thought me and also the restyl calms me down. I had a word with my therapist this morning and he said that this is like the cleansing process,with time and persistent breatheing exercise i will be better, he only advised me not tobe anxious on getting completely healed or looking for time frames,he said whenever there is an attack, just tell yourself that this cant kill me, this will pass,ishall only focus on my breathing and pop the restyl.....i hope this helps
Thank you so much for sharing what is working for you. This will likely be quite helpful to many. I like the perspective you and your therapist have about time frames and approaching panic attacks. That is as helpful as the breathing meditation.
You don't have to have them forever, but you might. 25 plus years for me. Medication is a must for me and a fan, cool air does wonders!
I added this question and answer to my lastest post: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/11/questions-about-panic-attac…. Hope it helps!
I am a panic disorder Hero...loll ... u can say that ... Talk to me ... i had gone through it and its over and done wid me ... m the same old guy nd enjoyin my life ... my name is najam ... my email address is email@example.com
Hi, my name is Tiffany And I wanted to know hw do u get over this thing called panic attacks please help me my head be tiggling wht should I do
Tiffani! Try the things on this list!
How did you your stop your panic atatcks! Mine are getting bad! afraid to drive by myself they come on anytime of day while im doing anything! I just want to feel normal again
I am so sorry Amanda that you feel so bad. I know this is the worst feleing in the world. Keep reading my posts for loads of tips on how to feel better!
Amanda same here....
symptoms are :
Short breath / dizziness/ trembling/ constipation/ vertigo/ heart palpitations/ muscles tension/ Insomnia/ reddish eyes/ panic attacks any time (mostly in evening)/ difficulty in breathing at times/light headache..
I have these for fifteen years and in my opinion the only way to get rid of them is to excercise regularly and this cold shower therapy is an amazing technique after training it helps to harden your senses definitely one to try out. An odd pray to the big man has helped me through it also.
I had to go to hospital twice for panic attacks. I thought I was dying. I found a technique where I grip something until my knuckles turn white, and keep repeating "I'm breathing fine, I'm right on time. I'm breathing fine, I'm right on time". I haven't had a problem since.
This is great,good idea I need to try it
.I am looking for new ways to cope
I'm glad you found Jodi's post helpful. It's great to always seek new tools and techniques to deal with anxiety and panic.
I'm glad you found Jodi's post helpful. It's good to always seek new ways to deal with anxiety and panic. I hope that these ideas help!
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Thank you so much for sharing many valuable tips to move through a panic attack. Last night I had three anxiety attacks. Thankfully, as it always does it too did pass, after using three different tools.
It is so important to have many tools in your belt to move through panic and anxiety. Thank you for your great tips, I have added them to my blog post that I wrote while I was having one of the anxiety attacks. Writing is one of my tools...
Thank you for your dedication to mental health.
Thanks, Lee! very happy!
Wonderful ideas, Jodi. Thank you! I like the idea of having a plan in place. I think I tend to ignore the possibility of a panic or anxiety attack to try to keep it at bay, and that doesn't always work. Acknowledging that it can happen but I can control what I do about it would help.
I try to close my eyes and breath through a "tunnel" I make by rolling my fingers inward into a loose fist. I might tell myself something like, calm down, or, it's OK. I think this helps me focus better on my breath and on the moment. Does that make sense?
I like the idea of breathing through a tunnel. Yes, it is about focus on breath and bringing your consciousness to it. Thank for stopping by, Tina!
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Thanks for the tips! I just recently started having panic attacks. Unfortunately I am a teacher, and they often come on in the middle of class. I was given Zanex (spelling) to taken by the urgent care until I can see a doctor this weekend. Knowing I have the medicine in my purse has helped considerably. I think I might run out this afternoon and get one of those desk top water fall machines for my room. I've heard great things about the effectiveness of those!
Water fall's are a great sounds that brings your attention, love it!
Great stuff, Jodi. I use a lot of deep breathing techniques and some guided meditations that help. My anxiety comes from an inherited brain chemistry problem on maternal side (13 of us that I know of, including all my sisters). It's fascinating. We are all affected differently too. Thanks for your helping everyone out.
Maybe also be learned form each other, even though it is all different! I hope you're handling it OK.
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For me cognitive behavioral techniques worked best, nit just worked but completely eliminated my health anxiety. I have found that lifestlye changes (healthy diet, exercise, yoga etc) reduce general stress and anxiety and prevent panic attacks as well.
Great check out my new post tomorrow, I talk more about it!
Great tips! Thanks for stopping by my blog and you're comment. I didn't know either until I starting blogging about it!
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It's fantastic to have variety of tools at your disposal as it gives you more confidence to do the things, and go to the places in where you may be afraid of having another panic attack..
It can be the fear of having another panic attack that can keep us locked in the cycle..
Getting to know the weird bodily sensations that you can experience at the onset of a panic attack can help control your emotional reaction, and in turn decrease the amount you panic- breaking the "panic loop"...
Making our fears visible takes the mystery out of them. This evasiveness is usually where they hold their power! Thanks so much for the comment!
Thanks for the great tips on dealing with panic attacks - I've also sent this page to my loved ones so they can get ideas of how to help when I'm bad. One thing I do to try to prevent panics is that I have a keyring on my handbag that has lots of charms on it, and I run them through my fingers like a rosary as I find concentrating on a repetitive motion can be very calming. I like the idea of interacting with water, I may have to find my desktop water fountain again!!
Best wishes and good health to you xxxx
Great idea about connecting with water. I hope you also like my post about Easing Anxiety With Nature!
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