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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 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/05/ten-things-to-do-for-a-panic-attack



Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

Ann
October, 14 2014 at 11:41 pm

Holding ice while it melts helps me, pinching myself to ground myself, going for a walk, any type of major distraction seems to help. But I suffer from residual anxiety for hours after the attack. Smetimes when the physical symptoms are gone I worry bc my body suddenly feels TOO relaxed. Does this ever happen to anyone? I feel like I'm living in hell.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 15 2014 at 12:46 pm

Hi Ann,
Thank you for sharing those great techniques. I have a feeling you are not alone in your worry about being too relaxed. Hopefully readers respond (it usually happens over time) with stories of their own that relate to yours.

MamaC
October, 20 2014 at 5:30 am

I used to get awful panic attacks many times a day, and was agoraphobic for years due to panic and anxiety. I've tried a couple fast acting (xanax, ativan) but they made me tired, and the next day my anxiety felt worse...
What finally worked for me, is total distraction! I still get moments where I have anxiety/panic, but I have trained my brain to completely immerse myself in whatever I'm doing at the moment (cooking, laundry, driving) and breath/whisper my favorite songs, so to distract my breathing. Hope that helps, this is such an awful disorder to live with, and I'm grateful to read others' coping mechanisms as well, and know I'm not alone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 20 2014 at 1:05 pm

Hi MamaC,
Thank you for sharing what works for you! Distraction (also known as mindfulness) is very effective, and it's great that you found something that works. It's wonderful that others are sharing coping mechanisms, too -- as you said, it helps to know that your'e not alone. And it's great to have many different tools to try.

Ruben
October, 21 2014 at 11:13 pm

Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues.
It was truly informative. Your website is
extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

Haley
October, 22 2014 at 1:44 pm

My anxiety attacks are always brought on by my family(parents). I'll go to visit them and either they will start fighting or they'll start fighting with me, and when I try to leave as my 'exit strategy', they make me feel bad for leaving and get more angry at me, and that makes my anxiety even worse. My chest gets really tight and it's hard to breathe. I start shaking and crying. I've had them last up to 45 minutes before. I'm not on medicine, and only a few of these tips help me. If you know of anything else I could try, I would greatly appreciate it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 22 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hello Haley,
It's not uncommon for anxiety to be associated with specific people -- often family. It's okay if only a few of the tips here help you. There is no such thing as a strategy that works for everyone. I believe that in writing this post, Jodi was gathering a list of strategies for people to try and to keep a few to use if they worked. In your case, it's good to have a few different strategies to use, but you don't need too many. Quality is better than quantity. If you have some that work, practice them over and over again, when you're not with your family. Then, when you're with your family, the strategies will feel more natural and you'll be more likely to stick with them despite whatever is going on.

Helen husted
November, 26 2014 at 2:41 pm

I had my worst panic attack ever yesterday. I have been Dealing with panic and agoraphobia now for two years. Yesterday I had to sign papers to sell our house. I could not breath going to the signing or coming from. I know all the breathing techniques. I just need someone to listen! It is not like I am young, but this keeps getting worse.

Peyton Alegreto
December, 1 2014 at 1:00 am

I'm usually at school all day and if something important is happening, or we have a test I start to have panic attacks and I don't know how to stop them. Because I'm at school I don't really have any options to help them. Do you have any suggestions on what to do? My friends know I get them so if I start to panic they'll help me out but I'm really worried I'll faint and something will happen. I don't have medication or anything. Any ideas?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Auyan
December, 27 2014 at 2:19 am

One technique that I've found to be surprisingly effective is to put an ice pack on my head. Any significant decrease in temperature works, really. It won't stop a panic attack in progress, but it can prevent one from happening. If you're at school, you can sprint down to the nurse's office (exercise releases endorphins, which have been scientifically proven by someone other than me to reduce anxiety), get an ice pack, and finish your test. Theoretically. I haven't tested this as thoroughly as I would like to because I only have panic attacks about once a month, and I am not willing to intentionally trigger one. But the endorphins part will almost certainly work!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Auyan
December, 27 2014 at 6:18 pm

Exercise releases endorphins, which have been scientifically proven by someone besides me to help. Whenever I start panicking, I put an ice pack on my head, or go roll around in the snow, or just generally do something to decrease my temperature significantly. I've found that the ice pack method will prevent a panic attack, but won't stop one that's already underway. However, I haven't tested that as thoroughly as I would like because I only have panic attacks about once a month, and I am not willing to intentionally trigger one just "for Science." So, here's a suggestion: the next time you start panicking, ask the teacher if you can run down to the nurse's office. Literally run. At a sprint. Once there, get an ice pack and run back. Or walk if you're out of breath, as you should probably be.
If you're less comfortable with bending rules, go to the counselor's office and ask to run around the school. I've used both methods before. They work.

Tanesha
December, 2 2014 at 4:01 am

I am in fact happy to read this blog posts which carries
lots of valuable information, thanks for providing
these information.

Kayleen Zalazar
December, 11 2014 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for sharing!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 23 2014 at 1:34 pm

Thank you for sharing the link to this article! It's definitely share-worthy.

Panic and Distress: The Physiology of Anxiety Attacks
December, 31 2014 at 4:05 pm

[...] and relax every muscle group one by one, count backward from 100 or take a brief walk. Having a plan may prevent you from spiraling [...]

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 31 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hello Panic and Distress: The Physiology of Anxiety Attacks, :)
Thank you for sharing your effective insights!

anton
January, 8 2015 at 12:27 pm

WHAT IF THE FEAR IS THE CONDITION PLUS A SITUATION YOU FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE> AND COULD COST YOU YOUR LIFE!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 9 2015 at 12:24 pm

Hello Anton,
When a situation can potentially be life-threatening, it is imperative to seek professional help. Seeing a therapist and even spending some time in a behavioral health center/hospital can help increase your safety and help you deal with emergency situations so that you are then able to work on long-term reduction in anxiety and panic. If you are ever in immediate danger, call 911 - they will get you to appropriate help - or visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/, a resource that can also connect you to local help.

carlos garcia
January, 8 2015 at 11:00 pm

My panic attacks wont let me leave in peace nor let me work.......I need help please

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 9 2015 at 12:21 pm

Hello Carlos,
Panic attacks can be debilitating. You are already on the right track by researching to find articles and forums that provide information that you might find helpful. Often, people do need professional help in overcoming panic. Have you considered seeing a therapist (or a different therapist if you tried one that didn't work for you)? Being able to work with someone one-on-one to address panic head-on and learn effective techniques and exercises can, over time, go a long way toward reducing panic's grip.

ethan
January, 9 2015 at 1:20 am

I have had panic disorder for over five years now. I have been on so many different medications I cannot remember the names of the all. My anxiety follows me everyday of my life like a cloud over my head. They come from nowhere and completely disable me. I know exactly what's happening every time but it's so intense that it overwhelmes me. I take 100mg of Zoloft everyday and I have xanax in my pocket at all times. Sometimes when I panic I read articles like this one just to remind me I'm not dying. I'm sure that I will have panic disorder the rest of my life. Sometimes it's hard to make it day to day. I suppose what triggers it for me is knowing that I am going to have a panic attack every day no matter what. I wake up in the middle of the night and instantly have a panic attack. (These are always the strongest attacks for me) so I'm often afraid to sleep but then lack of sleep causes panic anyway. It has complete controll of my life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 9 2015 at 12:18 pm

Hello Ethan,
It sounds like you are doing some things to keep the panic attacks from completely overwhelming you, and that is great. Don't give up! Even though it does seem sometimes that the panic is ruling your life and that it will be there forever, that doesn't have to be the case. You have insight into a big trigger, and that's a great start. Have you worked with a therapist to help put that trigger in its place? Professional help combined with the things you are already doing and the insight you already have can help you reduce and even overcome panic.

Briar Duclos
February, 3 2015 at 10:07 am

My problem is, my panic attacks always happen while I'm taking a shower and gets worse the longer I remain in the bathroom. I never have them anywhere else. Breathing doesn't help and sitting on the floor only helps until I stand back up. The only thing I found that helps in getting out of there and sitting infront of my fan. Even then it takes a few minutes to calm down.
It scares the hell out of me. I had my worst one I've ever had last night. If felt like I was drowning. I don't understand it. And all I wanna do is cry.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 3 2015 at 1:06 pm

Hello Briar,
With panic disorder, panic attacks occur with seemingly no discernible cause, and they appear to be random or linked to the fear of having another panic attack. Other times, panic attacks are linked to something else, something more specific. (However they are classified, panic attacks are panic attacks and feel horrible and frightening.) Because yours have a distinct pattern, it might be helpful to you to work with a therapist. You can work together to identify the link between your panic attacks and showering, and you can build a specific plan to reducing your panic attacks. As daunting as it may seem right now, you can come to understand and overcome this.

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February, 6 2015 at 7:51 am

Interesting article! Here in this article I found very useful advices for calming. Thanks for sharing!

Puppy training
March, 20 2015 at 12:18 am

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Chas
April, 10 2015 at 9:52 am

Hello: A few weeks ago i started experiencing panic attacks, anxiety,rapid heart rate, chest tightness etc. I had two EKGS done, along with blood work (including thyroid and CBC).Everything was normal. Was diagnosed with anxiety. My anxiety tends to decrease at night and i sleep quite well. The nervous feelings come back in the morning. I chew a Xanax and then eat a healthy breakfast. Whenever i go to certain places like my doctor, my heart starts to pound, and will slow down when i leave. It's so annoying. I have started to try meditation and looking for some supplements that may help with this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Chas
April, 10 2015 at 9:55 am

I forgot to mention that before all this started, i was worrying a lot about various things, and also will be moving into a new house and selling my old one. So maybe these are to blame.

Sandy
April, 18 2015 at 10:37 am

I am having anxiety/panic attacks just going to doc visits or tests. I am terrified even though I know that the visit will be fine. Having minor surgery soon and trying to find a way to overcome/prevent an attack while waiting for surgery to begin. Give me your best advise to use while waiting. I feel I will be in a panic before I leave the house.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 19 2015 at 12:22 am

Hi Sandy,
Many readers have shared their own situations and ways of dealing with their panic attacks right here in the comment thread. There may just be things that will be very helpful to you! One thing that has been helpful to people is to refocus your thinking. Sometimes when we think we are going to have a panic attack, we often do because that's where our focus lies. If we think instead of all of the reasons we *aren't* going to panic and all of the strengths, strategies, and coping skills we have to head off panic attacks or deal with them when they occur, we then are thinking of our capabilities rather than our panic. That doesn't instantly bring panic attacks to a stop, of course, but it is a tool that can significantly reduce them.

Sandy
April, 20 2015 at 9:59 am

I realized that I am planning on having an attack and like you said I am rethinking and planning on not having one, but if I do, I will put into place some of the suggestions on this site. It has been very helpful.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 20 2015 at 12:47 pm

Hello Sandy,
I am so glad that this site has been helpful. It sounds like you are already on the way to overcoming these panic attacks! Be patient and kind to yourself. Beating anxiety, anxiety attacks, etc. is a process -- one that you can definitely achieve.

Sandy
April, 20 2015 at 10:00 am

One more thing, I don't mind being nervous, just do not want to panic when I really know its going to be okay. Thanks again

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 20 2015 at 12:53 pm

This is such a wise and healthy perspective. Defining what we can and can't tolerate really helps us focus on exactly what we want changed, plus it helps the other things, such as feeling nervous, feel more in control and manageable.

Hweeyong
April, 26 2015 at 4:43 am

Hi, I wanted to know if it was best to let a person sleep after a panic attack? My 18 yr old boyfriend had one after a fight, in fear of a break up, and I wanted to know if--now that we have him calm--it was okay to have him sleep, or if there could be terror induced sleep and leading to a panic attack when he's dreaming. I'm terrified seeing him like that, and I'm really hoping to never see him that way again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 26 2015 at 12:39 pm

Hello Hweeyong,
Night terrors and panic attacks tend to be separate things. Although the underlying causes can absolutely be related and people can experience both, there usually isn't a direct cause-and-effect relationship where a panic attack directly leads to night terrors if one falls asleep after a panic attack. It's very caring that you don't want to see him have a panic attack again, and you can talk to him about it and even help him find professional help if they are problematic. One caution is to be careful not to give in to him all of the time just to avoid a panic attack. Avoiding that will help your relationship be emotionally healthy for both of you.

Hweeyong
April, 26 2015 at 5:24 pm

Thank you for the advice, but I know he won't want to go to professionals, he absolutely hates the idea. He woke up a few times, scared and crying, and looked around to make sure no one had left him. He was absolutely terrified. And I can tell he's still absolutely terrified, he's scared to let go of anyone around him. I don't give him his way, and he wasn't even the one the fight was with. But, with the one I had the fight, most of the time we actually manage to come to a calm decision. It's really hard, when we're in a group relationship, but it's really hard on him when he thinks there'll be someone leaving the relationship.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 29 2015 at 12:22 pm

Hello Hweeyong,
Fear of loss and abandonment are overwhelming (for the person experiencing these as well as the ones who love and care about them). Perhaps these articles might have some useful thoughts for all of you:
http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/11/fear-of-losing-someone-you-…
http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/07/separation-anxiety-its-not-…
With patience and support, things can get better.

Panic Companion
April, 30 2015 at 10:22 pm

Very interesting blog! It's amazing how many people suffer from panic disorder and how it can affect your life.
http://www.paniccompanion.com/

Mayumi
May, 3 2015 at 5:25 pm

I've been having anxiety attacks for nearly 11 years of my life. They start with a tightening in my chest, then lead to high sensitivity to noise, sounds, and eventually I can't speak without crying. I've talked to family who have anxiety and a therapist or two, but they all say the same thing, "Take your mind off it, deep breaths, say you're ok, listen to music." The problem is when I do these things, my anxiety grows worse because I know I'm trying to ignore it which makes me feel worse. I know my trigger is feeling like a failure since I have ADD and medication doesn't help much, but besides that my panic attacks and anxiety are out of control. I don't want to take medication for it, but I'm not sure what else to do. I'm going to try some other things, but does anyone know something I could do that would help me control my panic attacks really quick of I'm out in public?

Tito
May, 25 2015 at 12:49 am

I have enjoyed the read, very informative article.

Cathy
July, 12 2015 at 5:05 am

I loved reading all comments. I was is the worse state of depression with panic attacks you could ever be in. The attacks were coming up to five times a day and being alone (husband worked at the time) made for an interesting day for me. I kept to myself, inside in the darkened room not wanting to do anything. This all came about because I had to go on disability for other illnesses. Couldn't work, couldn't walk very good, just put me down in a pit of no return. Until my husband said "you need a dog!" We got a shih tzu puppy over a year ago and his love for me is all I needed. I laugh, go for walks, but mostly, I have no more panic attacks, none. I just love my puppy for being my therapy dog.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 13 2015 at 11:41 am

Hi Cathy,
How very wonderful that you overcame depression and panic attacks. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story to inspire others -- sharing what worked for you and showing proof that these challenges can be overcome.

Sheryl
October, 2 2015 at 8:50 am

Thanks so much for sharing this.

Peyt
December, 7 2015 at 8:27 pm

Getting away by myself. Slow deep breathing with my eyes closed. it seems to distract my thinking and relaxes me

zakk hellsing
December, 18 2015 at 6:13 am

I also am new to the whole panic attack stuff. Mine get pretty bad and I have had to go to the er before due to not knowing what it was. My first ever legit panic attack happened out of nowhere. I was just relaxing with my lady and watching supernatural and bam! It.felt like I was having a heart attack. My chest hurt so badly, I couldnt breath right, my body was shaking everywhere, and my body was tingling and going numb. So thr doctors told me what was up and put me on ativan. Which does help when im having a bad one. I think the worst for me is waking up in the middle of the night flipping shit and having a bad one. That's been happening a whole lot lately. That's what really scares me. I also get kinda suicidal in a way but not really.. its so hard to explain and im very against suicide in all ways.anyone else get like that?

Buni
February, 25 2016 at 10:50 pm

When I get panic attacks it's always full on straight away. I get the feeling I'm staring myself in the back of my head, my entire body goes numb except I start throwing up (which creates more panic; I've always had a hard time catching my breath after throwing up). I'm lucky if I'm able to stand... I have no chance of panic relief, because I've already lost control then. The techniques mentioned here work if I have a regular anxiety attack, but not when I have a panic attack. I'm so freaking exhausted because they've become more frequent, almost daily now, and they even occur during the night now (usually after I've woken up from a nightmare). It's affecting every aspect of my life now...

Vanessa
February, 29 2016 at 12:50 pm

I love looking through an article that will make people think.
Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

Salomon Chaussures
March, 23 2016 at 6:29 am

I loved reading all comments. I was is the worse state of depression with panic attacks you could ever be in.

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