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Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks

Wouldn't it be nice to relieve panic attacks both in frequency and severity? Here are 10 tools to help you relieve panic attacks. Take a look.

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.

Wouldn't it be nice to relieve panic attacks both in frequency and severity? Here are 10 tools to help you relieve panic attacks. Take a look.

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?

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
share here: Twitter @JodiAman, Google+
and inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace.

APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, May 2). Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/05/ten-things-to-do-for-a-panic-attack



Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

Meryl McK
November, 12 2012 at 3:58 am

Grounding. Looking at stuff (inanimate, NOT focusing on people) around and naming them in my head. floor. lightbulb. plant. etc.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 12 2012 at 4:53 am

Oooh! Great way to focus your energy on the present moment. I used to do this, look at patterns, intricately. Beautiful!

Jean-Philippe Eelip
November, 15 2012 at 4:41 am

Hi,
This blog give some good relaxation technique and I like the video. It is a pitty there is only one post so far. Have look and good luck
wwww.truthaboutstress.com

Julie
November, 20 2012 at 9:05 am

I have suffered with panic attacks and anxiety for about 15 years. I was first put on Serzone, which made me feel like a zombie. I remained on that for about 3 years then when off when I became pregnant. I suffered through the panic and anxiety during both of my pregnancies, then in 2003, I saw a psychiatrist for the very first time. She prescribed Remeron, Neurontin and Klonopin. The Remeron and Neurontin was a NO GO! But the Klonopin helped and I am still on the very same dose after 9 years. I take 0.5 mg 3 times per day, but it just doesn't seem to be helping much anymore. I believe my body has reached a "plateau" with that dose, but my family doctor refuses to up my dose. I recently tried fluoxetine (Prozac) with HORRIFIC side effects. I'm hoping that through prayer, relaxation techniques and changing my thought patterns, that I will be cured or at least lessen my panic and anxiety episodes. Any feedback?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 21 2012 at 5:38 am

Dear Julie,
I used your question in my post today! Come take a look: www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety.
Well, the good news is that you can lessen and eliminate your panic attacks! (And I am sorry your practitioners haven’t helped you do this yet. Klonopin is addictive, so that is why she won’t increase it.) You have the right tools to do it: prayer, relaxation techniques and changing my thought patterns. These will work fine if you know how to implement them: You think about them differently by changing their meaning. In this way you change your relationship with them. Hopefully, you read all the above and this post: Ten Thing To Do In A Panic Attack and Is Anxiety Really About Having Control Issues? That should give you some more ideas. How come you never went to a counselor to help with them? The right counselor can help you with 1-2 sessions. I am not trying to sell professional counterparts (or myself–though I am available by Skype!) I just know that panic attacks feel awful and everyone would want to get rid of them fast. I did not do the fasted method when I had them, but now I know how to help other people do it.
Best,
Jodi

Brad
July, 15 2015 at 2:58 pm

Could you possibly help me with my panic attacks? I thought them out about 2 years ago when I met my fiance. Now for some reason it has returned and it feels like no matter how many times I experience a feeling or sensation during one, it always feels new.if o had some one truly familiar with what I'm feeling and going through there to tell me all about it and how to calm down, I feel as if they would disappear again. Please, I'm desperate.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 18 2015 at 11:00 pm

Hello Brad,
You are definitely not alone in this. Panic attacks do feel new and intense every time they hit. This means people don't easily get sensitized/get used to them. There are definitely things you can do to get rid of them. What did you do before to make them stop? That could be a good starting point for you now. What worked then? Can you do more of it now? What has changed to make the panic attacks start again? Also, have you ever considered seeing a therapist? Working with a therapist can, for some people, be very effective in reducing panic attacks. You can also work to develop ways to deal with them now, while you work to get rid of them. Techniques such as deep breathing, mediation, regular exercise, and more (many articles and videos on the HealthyPlace Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog deal with anxiety management, and the techniques apply to all types of anxiety, including panic). Perhaps comments left by others here in this thread might be helpful to you as well. Do know that you're not doomed to panic attacks forever. They're frustrating and there is no quick fix, but there are fixes and you can reduce them.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Tina
January, 2 2014 at 7:36 am

I have suffered through panic attacks for many years. I have even gone to the hospital a few times when they got so bad my family was afraid for me. One time while at the hospital the waiting room was full and my attack was of little concern for the medical staff. (as it should be) Anyway my daughter was with me and we found an empty room and went in, I laid down on the couch and turned off the light. My daughter started talking quietly to me about the good things our family shares. Anyway, after a while the attack subsided. Now whenever an attack starts I just go into a quiet room, with the lights low, turn on some soothing music or ask my husband or daughter to come and talk, and then just relax. I have been off all medication for about a year now. I still get attacks, they are just milder and only last a short time. My daughter taught me what to do and it works for me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 6 2014 at 10:30 am

What a wonderful personal story. Human connection is powerful, as you discovered with your daughter. And going to a quiet, soothing space is a technique that is very effective in calming panic, anxiety in general, and many other things, such as the mania of bipolar disorder. Thank you for sharing both of your insights to help others overcome their panic.

Katrina
December, 8 2012 at 2:04 am

Nothing beats anxiety better than muscle relaxation and doing natural exercises to prevent panic attacks. Great post! curepanicattackv.com

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 8 2012 at 4:24 am

Exercise and muscles relaxing are indeed helpful! Thanks, Katrina!

Ten Things To Do For A Panic Attack | Stress-Immune Interactions: Implications | Scoop.it
December, 9 2012 at 8:40 am

[...] Having a panic attack? Try these ten things for some solace. Sometimes panic attacks feel like they come out of the blue, but there is usually a trigger.  [...]

Tanya Edmunds
December, 26 2012 at 7:17 am

I used to suffer from panic attacks quite regularly until a year ago. I keep myself free of Panic Attacks by following a simple regimen everyday described in this article

Jessi
January, 1 2013 at 2:35 pm

I have been having panic attacks for years, but this year it has gotten really bad. Some people say oh your just being dramatic. I find it really hard when I feel completely paralyzed. I have tried a few of these and they really help. good luck to everyone with coping your panic attacks.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 2 2013 at 5:02 am

Thanks Jessi, I hope in 2013 things will shift for you! Panic can be about drama, but not that you're being dramatic. It's like your mind is and then it takes you with it. Don't let panic paralyze. Keep moving no matter what you are doing. Being immobilized just feeds the panic!
Love,
Jodi

silvya
January, 29 2013 at 1:33 pm

Nothing works better for me than the one move technique, if have never heard of it check out the panic away program!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 5 2013 at 8:00 pm

Thanks Silvya, I will try it.

Lori
January, 29 2013 at 9:32 pm

As a survivor of panic and anxiety disorder I can list the things that helped me: I had a "to do" list that I would work on when having anxiety, i.e., cleaning closets, organizing drawers, cleaning the basement, gardening etc... as soon as I felt "Mr. Anxiety" I would pick something off my list. Also prayer and meditation helped calm me down. Running helped me tremendously and I found I slept much better. (I recently ran my first 1/2 marathon!) Reading true positive stories with great outcomes. Reading angel stories. Listening to motivational speakers. Working on puzzles. I have heard that knitting is excellent for anxiety because you are forced to concentrate on knitting. There is relief from panic and anxiety attacks and you can also be cured. See a behaviorist psychologist and do your homework! Remember anxiety is only a feeling and it will go away.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 5 2013 at 8:01 pm

This is an excellent list, Lori! You would make an excellent peer counselor!

Trudy
February, 9 2013 at 9:40 pm

Hi
I really benefited from the information supplied in your article.
I found Step 8 staring at yourself in the mirror very interesting. Upon reflection it makes perfect sense to develop trust in yourself. Eye contact is usually connected to trust. I have always thought of it in regard to others, not myself. Makes perfect sense.
Dr Roger Baker has written a book in regard to Understanding Panic Attacks & Overcoming Fear. His book also refers to fear. Fear of when the next panic attack may occur. This book is well worth reading.
You maybe interested in reading
What Causes Fear In Your Life
Thanks
Trudy.

February, 13 2013 at 3:13 am

Thanks for the tip Trudy!
I hope you get to try Tratak and have some success with it. i will check out Dr. Baker's book!
You're welcome,
Jodi

Shekinah MacMillan
February, 19 2013 at 4:12 am

Just wanted to thank you for a wonderful article. I've had anxiety most of my life (how I wish I got diagnosed with it as a younger child instead of living with it for so long without understanding it or having a name for it). Interestingly enough, as everyone in my family got older, we all were diagnosed with depression or anxiety by the time we were adults- with the exception of my mother who was diagnosed with manic depression as a young adult). To answer you, I've tried all of these except looking in the mirror. Tonight I tried the shower for the first time.. It was weird- all of a sudden I was just immediately like "I NEED to take a shower NOW". The thought basically came out of nowhere. I took an hour hot shower (laying down in the tub and letting the water cascade and fill up around me) and I felt completely comforted when I got out. I googled "taking shower for panic attacks" and this is where I came to. Just reading this reassured me that so many people have these kind of coping mechanisms and that I'm not alone.
Now with that long-winded babbling out of the way, I wanted to know your thoughts on the following?
1.what is it about water that is so calming during a panic attack- especially a bath or a Shower? Do you think that there's some "in the womb" connection or is it something more simple or straightforward?
2. Although I am much better with my anxiety (I don't take any medication except for a Xanax five to ten times a year), I've been thinking of going back on medication bc I feel like I am CONSTANTLY trying to tough out my anxiety (sometimes for hours at a time). Im trying to weigh the pros and cons of dealing with it with or without daily medication. Thoughts?
3. For me, panic attacks are usually brought on when I feel sick to my stomach, when it's a night or two before my time of the month, and when I'm dealing with major life changes (going to college, graduating college, my first real job, getting married, etc). The first 2 triggers I'm pretty ok with but how do you deal with more abstract anxiety and panic attack triggers (like life changes where the outcome is unknown)?
4. Even though I'm not even married yet, I'm already worried about anxiety I may get from hormonal changes during pregnancy and I'm so nervous that my anxiety will either "rub off" on my kid through their observation of me or that because I'll be trying to hide my anxiety from my child, I'll be more prone to panic attacks and may not be there for my kid bc I'm focusing on dealing with my own issues? I desperately want kids but don't want to mess them up- have any tips on managing anxiety as a mother or any success stories?
Thanks for reading this- just the motion of typing all of this out on my iPhone- only using one finger lol- helped with the remaining panic/anxiety that I had :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 19 2013 at 9:53 am

Thanks for your comment, Shekinah,
1. I am not sure what it is about water, but I am sure it works on many levels. Firstly, psychologically it is relaxing. Mentally it is a change in scenery. The warmth for sure plays a role. It is action, which helps. And I think anything goes on why its helps. A womb like atmosphere would help anxiety anyway you slice it. In yoga we do forward bends to help with anxiety (fetal position).
2. Have you tried therapy? This might help you get through it!
3. I am not sure what you are asking. "Outcomes" are always unknown. Thinking that these are different (worse, perhaps) may be where the problem lies. That belief tells you the anxiety is warrented and viola!
4. Loads of success stories, mine included. Anxiety is not a life sentence. You can get over it!
I do do online therapy. let me know if you are interested.
Good luck!
Warmly,
Jodi

Shekinah MacMillan
February, 19 2013 at 4:15 am

Ps- sorry for the poor grammar and punctuation- I've been up all night and am a little sleepy to say the least :)

Jessica
April, 17 2013 at 4:38 pm

Some good tips here, except that I always found that staring at yourself in the mirror was definitely something not to do. Whenever I realized that I was staring at myself in the mirror, that was a definite giveaway that I was experiencing anxiety. I would recommend the opposite.
Realizing that it is a panic attack, that it is not going to hurt you and that it will soon pass are powerful steps that over time can help to disempower panic attacks over time.
Luckily I was able to overcome my symptoms about 7 years ago using many of these steps and several others. Thanks for sharing!

Chris
April, 18 2013 at 5:10 pm

I love #9! Burning off some of that anxious energy helps me A LOT when I feel an anxiety attack coming on.
But I can't always just get up and go, like if I'm in a social situation where I need to stay in my seat.
So my backup is breathing exercises. Very simple meditation stuff. Some folks wouldn't even call it REAL meditation, and I'm cool with that =)
I like to close my eyes and just count out my breaths:
INHALE...1...2...3...4...
EXHALE...1...2...3...4...
Then after every few breaths like that, I try to lengthen each inhalation and exhalation to a count of 5, 6, 7 or more.
By the time I'm stretching my breaths out to 10 seconds in and 10 seconds out...panic is gone.

christina tennis
April, 25 2013 at 11:11 pm

Im 23 yrs old, i have had anxiety since may of last yr... im so scared, ive gone to the doctors so much over it, ive had sharp chest pians every once in a while, but the last time i went over it they said it was anxiety... they ran tests and everything.. they said i was good that it only anxiety... but it still scares me bcuz i have no one to talk to when it happens... please message me at tennis_christina@yahoo.com if someone can talk to me when i have these attacks...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 26 2013 at 5:43 am

I am glad you are reaching out Christina, I hope one of my readers can connect with you in these times. Ask in other forums also. I can do counseling to help you get rid of them if you want also. Let me know and I'll give you the information. Love, Jodi

Heather Robbins-Hinton
April, 29 2013 at 5:58 pm

I have had panic attacks since my early 20's and am now 43 years old. In 2002 I went on 20mg of Paxil for 6 years. Three years ago I weaned myself off and was doing fantastic until I suddenly started having panic attacks again. They got progressively worse until I was in a state of panic 24 hrs/day. It was horrible and my life was suspended. I went back on the Paxil, but the attacks have continued in varying degrees. I have decided I have had enough, so I am working on different techniques to work through the attacks. The following are things I am doing to help calm the panic and they are working for me
Distraction - Counting backwards from 100 in increments of 4 or 3. Word search puzzles. There are actually a bunch of apps for iphones that target anxiety.
Conscious breathing - Being aware of the inhale along the back of my throat and exhale along the front of my throat. I practice yoga and this breathing exercise always calms me. Just being aware of my breath and how it feels - not trying to change it - just aware.
Walking/hiking - I come from a family of walkers/hikers. We have always walked for joy and for finding peace.
Mindful mediation - Sitting in meditation nearly every day is bringing me to a state of peace and letting go of the panic much quicker than in the past. I am currently using these two Gathas or short verses in my practice:
"Breathing in, I calm my body,
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment."
"Feelings come and go
like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing
is my anchor"
-Thich Nhat Hahn
When I wake in the morning to anxious feelings I am training my mind to immediately go either to distraction counting or breathing the above Gathas. These techniques are calming me in just moments.
Thich Nhat Hahn is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist teacher and has written many beautiful gathas such as the one above. I'm attaching a link if anyone would like to read more of his quotes.
http://thinkexist.com/quotes/thich_nhat_hanh/
I am grateful to everyone who shares ideas and suggestions for working on panic attacks. My heart goes out to everyone who experiences these feelings. You are NOT alone. Thank you Jodi, for providing your experiences and this place to meet.
Take good care,
Heather

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 30 2013 at 6:03 am

Thanks, Heather, you have some great time-tested information here! I am so glad you shared!

Rebeca Dickerson
May, 30 2013 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for adding! This is very useful article! ;) I'm writing about depression, panic atacks too.

Adam the Great
June, 6 2013 at 6:05 pm

yea, and It can really cause mental problems, and even physical too. But there is help. God is first and foremost, and knowledge is #power. Read up on it. you'll be surprised what you find out. here's a link to some great info.-->http://fceb9i1ech7k9x2mkitbltmicb.hop.clickbank.net/<--Happy reading!!! — feeling Informational.

Niki Aker
June, 7 2013 at 7:24 pm

In moderation, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships and activities, it stops being functional—that’s when you’ve crossed the line from normal, productive anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.^*^.
My own, personal blog
<http://www.wellnessdigest.co/index.php/

Charles
June, 8 2013 at 7:01 am

This is a great resource and at one point or another I have utilized practically all of the steps you outlined. My preferred method is doing some breathing exercises that I learned when I picked up meditation. They really calmed me down and remove all the stress I was having in the situation until I was eventually able to overcome the feeling of panic and get on with my life. I have a site, http://www.outofmymindbody.com/, where I've been compiling all the important information about panic attacks and posting some things that helped me overcome it -- also thank you for your resource, finding good information all in one place is frustrating.

Rianin
June, 9 2013 at 5:03 pm

If you have panic attacks like i had (now i can control them thanks to this) take a look at this site:
http://panicattacksolution.tk
I'm really sure that it will help you the same way that it helped me and lot of people more. Please, take a look at it.

sarah
June, 18 2013 at 9:22 pm

Taking a cold drink of water helps me. I can't seem to concentrate long enough to watch a youtube video. Also, I start cleaning. That seems to help too. :)
I just started my own anxiety/panic attack blog...
anxiouslysarah.wordpress.com

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 23 2013 at 8:59 pm

Cool Sarah, I will check it out! Great tip about the water! xo

Audrey
June, 27 2013 at 4:39 pm

My panic attacks occur when I am driving. I have a 35 minute drive to work each day and they seem to come on me about half way there. I have to pull off the road b/c I am afraid of having an accident while I am experiencing one. They have become more and more frequent and I have not been able to drive to work this week. It can also occur when I am riding in the car with someone else driving. What suggestions do you have? It is making it hard for me to get in the car to go anywhere.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 30 2013 at 8:18 pm

Audrey,
I know someone who was afraid of driving and used a drum to sooth her anxiety. She drums before going in the car and the drum rides shot gun the whole way. There is not just one way to heal, there are many options. Please read through my posts, but if you want to work specifically with your issues, feel free to make an appointment!
Love,
Jodi

Aimee Merone
June, 30 2013 at 7:24 pm

Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it while others don't. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.--*`
My web blog
<http://wellnessdigest.co/

Justine
October, 29 2013 at 9:13 am

Just found this on Pinterest. I've struggled with social and general anxiety my whole life, and PTSD the last 6 years. Six years ago I had a horrible panic attack that lasted 2 years- yes, years. For me, learning what a panic attack was, and training myself to recognize the symptoms coming on helped me a lot. Also, figuring out what the root of it is. I've always had people tell me, "When you're depressed, you're living in the past, and when you're anxious, you're living in the future." Well my anxiety comes from suppressed emotions. Identifying what my subconscious is thinking about when my conscious isn't paying attention helps a lot.
I've realized over the couple years that keeping my hands busy helps a lot. I work as a cashier, which is difficult for my social anxiety, but I've found when I keep my hands busy, it helps me not to focus on my fears. I fold tiny boxes out of all the paper I find lying around, because it gives me something external to focus on. Hopefully what's helped me might help someone else in the future!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

anton
January, 8 2015 at 12:15 pm

how did you do it.ptsd.depression drugs? real preciarious situation

JEN BARBOUR
November, 3 2013 at 12:47 am

I am sorry that I haven't read all your comments here. But I know of a few things that have helped me in full blown panic attack: one is fragrance. in particular for me lilac and citrus, preferably an honest lemon but better, grapefruit. Olfactory memories are some of our best and boldest, so setting up memories of happy times, or recalling them from childhood, can help jar our brains back into line.
Also, and you mention some of this with your advice on getting back with the body, temperature can really help. getting really cold either by holding ice cubes and standing in the snow (or an open fridge) may help.
go online and google things like "hope" and read stories.
For those having a bad anxiety attack, if you have no drugs you can take benedryl, or a benedryl similar product like simply sleep or any other tylenol free form of sleep aids in the pharmacy.
turn some music on and dance.
for some people staring at brilliant colors helps a great deal if you are linked to endorphin's that way. and finally, there is sex, or a reasonable facimile. YIKES i already KNEW that! why have i never used it! hahahahahahahha!! :)))))))))))

Amiya Foster
November, 20 2013 at 11:33 am

Amazing post! thanks. I am suffering from panic attack almost 15 year, some people are saying panic can't be curable, but I think they are wrong. I will show them they are wrong.

phobia
December, 31 2013 at 12:52 am

Excellent way of telling, and pleasant post to get information concerning my presentation focus, which i am going to present in college.

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