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Ten Things To Do For A Panic Attack

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. 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 also make you less afraid of the panic coming.

10 Tools for Panic Attack Relief


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. (Animal Therapy)

4. Have a tranquilizer with you. Knowing you have antianxiety 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. Panic needs you to be scared of it for it to stay.

5. 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-caffinated, please!) can help.

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 above.

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?

By Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
share here: Twitter@JodiAmanGoogle+
inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace,
Get my free E-book: What Is UP In Your DOWN? Being Grateful in 7 Easy Steps.

This entry was posted in Anxiety Treatments, PD and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

141 Responses to Ten Things To Do For A Panic Attack

  1. nikky44 says:

    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.

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  3. Hi Jodi,

    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…

    http://www.simpleeserene.com/a-bluekit-of-tools-for-anxiety

    Thank you for your dedication to mental health.
    Lee

  4. Tina Barbour says:

    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?

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  6. Karen says:

    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!

  7. mj monaghan says:

    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.

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  9. meital says:

    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.

  10. 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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  12. Frank Foster says:

    Great Tips..

    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”…

    Cheers
    Frank Foster
    Queensland, Australia

  13. Tonie says:

    Hi,

    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

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  15. Meryl McK says:

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

  16. Jean-Philippe Eelip says:

    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

  17. Julie says:

    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?

    • Dear Julie,

      I used your question in my post today! Come take a look: http://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

    • Tina says:

      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.

      • 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.

  18. Katrina says:

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

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  20. 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

  21. Jessi says:

    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.

    • 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

  22. silvya says:

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

  23. Lori says:

    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.

  24. Trudy says:

    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.

  25. 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

  26. Shekinah MacMillan says:

    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 :)

    • 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

  27. Shekinah MacMillan says:

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

  28. Jessica says:

    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!

  29. Chris says:

    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.

  30. christina tennis says:

    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 [email protected] if someone can talk to me when i have these attacks…

    • 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

  31. Heather Robbins-Hinton says:

    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

  32. Bill says:

    I have been suffering from anxiety for about 10 years. I have got a lot of advice etc from this web site, <a href="http://http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/

    Thanks

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

  34. 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.

  35. Niki Aker says:

    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/

  36. Charles says:

    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.

  37. Rianin says:

    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.

  38. sarah says:

    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

  39. Audrey says:

    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.

    • 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

  40. Aimee Merone says:

    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/

  41. Justine says:

    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!

  42. JEN BARBOUR says:

    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!! :) ))))))))))

  43. Amiya Foster says:

    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.

  44. phobia says:

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

  45. Marcia Goodrich says:

    Hello. I have had severe anxiety and panic attacks since I was 15 years old. I am now 35 and I still get them. I used to get them on a daily basis and not be able to control them. They used to make me literally fall start shaking to wear it winds up becoming a seizure with tingling and seeing the room spin and then becoming very dark then my body becoming stiff to the point I would lose all feeling throughout my body not being able to move hyperventilating to the pointof not being able to breathe and I have stopped breathing many times. Over the years I have learned different methods of controlling my anxiety. Some are facing a mirror and yelling at it at the top of your lungs, sitting against a walk and counting backwards, sitting in a hot bath depending on if it isn’t to severe, rocking in a fetal position, singing a song that describes who you are and how you feel, reading a book, writing how you feel, dancing, I have even gotten a punching bag to take it out on, walking, running, driving is not a good thing for me, talking with people who make you smile and happy, remembering good memories, focusing on objects that appear close but are far, coloring and all kinds of stuff. I have almost died 17 times do to my anxiety and panic attacks. I have been through therapy to help me with them. I still have them but not as much as I did as a teenager. The last time I suffered a severe anxiety attack was on January 5, 2013. I wasn’t feeling good decided to walk and got my phone out called for an ambulance collapsed in a neighbors driveway and a passer in a car stopped and called the police I was told and performed CPR on me because I stopped breathing and had suffered a stroke on top of a severe anxiety attack along with having copd asthma and bronchitis at the time. There is many things that work and some things that don’t. I am living proof that it doesn’t hurt to try things and that you can survive it.

    • Marcia, your story is inspiring. You persevered through severe panic attacks for a very long time, and you found the strength to seek help and explore your own ways to reduce the power of your panic attacks. Thank you for sharing this. I think it will inspire many to hang in there and keep trying. You’re proof that overcoming panic is possible.

  46. Nancy says:

    I have read these posts and suffered through similar panic attacks for many, many years.

    Eventually the last few years, when the “aura” comes that I know is a panic attack-very different than anxiety, I say to myself…
    THIS IS A PANIC ATTACK, YOU ARE OKAY and so forth.
    Since doing this for past few years, I have had very few panic attacks, maybe ten in past 18 months, when I used to have them once a week and lasting for 10-15 mins. Now they last for no more than five and are lessening even more recently.
    Hope this helps. The attacks truly are unbelievable in their physiological symptoms. I understand.

  47. Brittney says:

    I’ve had panic attacks since I was 13 I’m 28 now they have been on and off come and go for years well here recently they have came back 10x worse my chest on the right side has started to get tight I’ve been throwing up a lot more with them now I stay up all hours of the night bc I’m scared to go to sleep anyone that can give me some advice please help I’m a mother of two and I’m sick of these things I outside and talk to god but it seems not to be doing any good

    • Have you consulted with a physician? Given that your panic attack symptoms seem to be changing, having a medical check-up might be helpful. It’s good that you are noticing when they are at their worst and what the symptoms are. When you are aware of what happens for you and when it happens, you can use the information to help build a plan. What symptoms are the worst for you? Experiment with things that make those symptoms better. Thinking about when they happen can be helpful in overcoming them, too. What are you doing when the attacks begin? Are you worrying a lot at night, for example? What are the worries? And what things can you do to calm your mind before bed? Your self-awareness is an excellent starting point for reducing the panic.

  48. Claire says:

    Hi, I have suffered with panic attacks since I was 16, now being 34 I still suffer but a lot less due to medication. I was placed on cipralex for 10 years which caused high anxiety- they have now stopped it and put me on serdep. I really am considering stopping all the medication and seeing how I feel with no meds. They have diagnosed mine as a chemical imbalance which runs in the family. Anyone have any advice on stopping all meds.

    • Medication has different effects on different individuals. Some people do well with medication, others don’t have a great deal of success. And there are so many different types out there; what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. When medication is involved, it is very important to work with a doctor you trust. If you do want to stop meds (and this should be decided with a doctor), it can be very dangerous to just stop. Most need to be tapered gradually. Claire, I encourage to work with your doctor to find the most effective and the safest course of action for you.

  49. Rochelle says:

    Hi mates, its impressive piece of writing on the topic of tutoringand
    entirely explained, keep it up all the time.

    • Hello Rochelle,
      Jodi wrote this wonderful piece. She is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she’s unable to respond to comments. At HealthyPlace, we all strive to make this a helpful and welcoming place. Hopefully you will continue to visit!

  50. Evelyn says:

    You, we are SOOOOOO much bigger than this false and exaggerated fear response but WE need to take charge of our lives and not the other way around. The latter is what got us here to begin with.

    Our fear (fight to flight) response is out of whack and can be fixed and the so this is temporary. However the feeling we feel is real.

    The psychological response to a panic attack is death however this is FALSE!!!! Your mind is playing tricks on you and you, yes you, are in control of your mind.

    See a doctor to rule out a physical problem that is causing the exaggerated response.

    There is a HUGE difference between feeling fear and actual danger. There is no danger and the fear is fake. Tell your self this.

    YOU ARE NOT IN DANGER. YOUR MIND IS PLAYING TRICKS ON YOU AND IT WILL PASS.

    Put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it.

    SLOOOW down your breathing. We hyperventilate which makes us feel worse. Breath in sloooooowly through the nose and exhale sloooowly through pursed lips like you are blowing out a candle. As your oxygen levels balance, you will feel better.

    COUGH COUGH COUGH!! This can help heart rates slow down to normal levels and rhythms.

    Sloooow down your life and rest. Your stress hormone levels are at abnormally high levels usually after sustained stress so it takes time for them to come down to normal levels. Exercise CAN make it worse so be careful.

    Drink ice water.

    Tell yourself you are stronger than your fear and that there is NO danger and that this will pass.

    You can overcome anxiety and panic attacks. I am PROOF!!

    However your control of stress triggers, which you may be overly sensitive to because of your caring personality, can be enhanced by taking stress management classes and biofeedback classes.

    Stress is caused by our psychological response to stressors, those positive and negative triggers than cause stress. We have unhealthy stress and panic attacks because we HAVE NOT controlled our responses to stress in healthy ways and now our stress hormones and fear response are out of whack.

    Improving your response to stress which is very learnable will help keep your stress at manageable not unmanageable levels where they are now.

    A trigger only becomes stress when WE LET IT. Our thoughts can become our worst enemy. There actually is very very little in the world that would warrant this exaggerated level of fear. Is a rhino really charging us? Why do we react to silly things in such an exaggerated way? However we all face life’s challenges differently and some REALLY are stressful and there are times when we have to deal with the real unpleasant things in our lives. But if our high stress levels go on at too high a level for too long a period of time, then we are putting ourselves at undue risk for a string of ailments and one of them is panic attacks. And if you are an empath like I am and overly compassionate and sensitive to emotional triggers then you are REALLY susceptible to anxiety disorders.

    Take charge of your life. Take charge of your response to stress. Learn that your mind is playing trick on you and you will be able to keep stress at MANAGEABLE levels. But like any skill you must practice practice practice.

    Be well and live a life you are worthy of!!!

    • Hello Evelyn,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your insights. It seems like you’ve worked hard to overcome stress and anxiety and to live a life you’re worthy of. You mention very effective techniques — and the fact that they’ve been effective for you indicates that they can indeed be helpful. Each individual will find things that are more effective or less effective depending on his/her personal situation, personality, etc., but these strategies you mention are good ones for people to try. Thanks for sharing, and I think these will be helpful to many here.

  51. nanos says:

    I Ne’er tried it although they said it will help Maine. When I “wake up” and can start thinking again, I do try to breathe out 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 believing.

    • Hi Nanos,
      How wonderful that you have found a technique that is helpful for you as you calm your thoughts/quiet your mind. As long as something is safe, there’s no such thing as a “good” technique or a “bad” one. Everyone is different. The key is to find what works for you. Thanks for sharing your technique!

  52. Brigida says:

    I was searching for this. Really refreshing information. Many
    thanks.

    • Hi Brigida,
      I’m so glad that you found this information. Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but as she is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. I’m Tanya, one of the current authors of the column. I just wanted to thank you for your comment and say that we hope you visit HealthyPlace often and find more helpful information.

  53. Many thanks for taking the time to discuss this, It is extremely useful for
    me.

    • Hi there,
      Jodi is the one who wrote this very helpful article. She is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she’s unable to respond to comments. I know she’d be glad that you found it useful. I hope you come back to HealthyPlace often and find more useful information.

  54. Tommy says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am impressed with your website.
    I’ll publish this to my facebook wall.

    • Hi Tommy,
      I’m glad you found HealthyPlace and Anxiety-Schmanxiety. Thank you so much for putting the info on your Facebook wall to help spread the word. Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but because she is no longer writing for Healthy Place, she’s unable to respond to comments. I know she would be very happy to know that you liked it. (And I’m Tanya, by the way, one of the current writers of Anxiety-Schmanxiety.)

  55. Sara says:

    Hello there!
    I recently started to have something like panic attacks. I’m not sure what to do even though I’m a medical student. Everything seems to be stupid right in the moment when I feel all this. Like I try to watch a funny video, then I would stop after few seconds and go deeper in panic. This is the same with breathing or telling myself it’s okay.
    I feel paralysed and that I cannot move on from the problem. Sometimes I burst into crying and I can’t seem to stop it.
    I found that doing yoga in the mornings helps me to start a more balanced day but it does not prevent a panic feeling when something unexpected happens. I like to do creative things, like bracelets or watch a TV show while I do it – so it will distract me, but I don’t want to be distracted in general all the time, I want to be able to live in the present and be okay about it.
    I am going through a major change in my life ( religion, moving away…) and although I really want those things, they sometimes make me feel I’m rootless, or I’m alone. Can this thing come from this?
    Please if you have any thoughts, share – I don’t want to live my life in fear!

    • Hi Sara,
      It’s great that you have found some things (like yoga, distracting yourself with creative activities, etc.) to help you, but I understand what you are saying — you don’t want a band-aid but instead want to feel healed so you can fully live your life. And of course you don’t want to constantly be in fear. The good news is that you can get past this frustrating time; anxiety doesn’t have to plague you your whole life. I was struck by a thought in reading your comment, but first I must make the disclaimer that I only know the tiniest bit about you from your comment, and I definitely can’t make any sort of diagnosis. Instead, I’ll share my though for you to look into and consider or dismiss. In answer to your question, yes, your panic, anxiety, crying spells, etc. can most definitely come from the major changes in your life. These are features of an adjustment disorder, or if not a full-blown disorder, then adjustment difficulties. The changes you mentioned are significant, and even when changes are positive because we want them to happen, they can still wreak havoc on our mental health. There are things you can do for adjustment issues, and with patience, time, and implementation of some strategies, your symptoms will recede. Check into adjustment disorders and see if you think anything applies. Good luck to you in all that you are doing!

  56. Cheryl says:

    I have been suffering from panic attacks for several years, I first started feeling like I was burning up from the inside out. I drink ice water to combat that feeling. I have more attack if I have something physically wrong like a cold, or stomach flu anything I panic it is something worse. I also have more when the Dr. gives me new medications or changes something. I have had my husband call 911 more than I care to say, I feel so foolish when they pass, and I have bothered everyone in the process, I usually wake up with them in the middle of the night and have to get my husband up (sometimes hes not too happy with that), but I really dont know what else to do. Thank you so much for this blog, I think I will try some of the things on the list. Some relief is better than nothing..

    • Hi Cheryl,
      I’m glad that you’ve found Jodi’s article and HealthyPlace in general. In this article, she did offer insights that can be quite helpful. Panic attacks are real, and they feel awful. You’re not alone in this experience. You most certainly aren’t doomed to experience them forever. Do try the things on the list you think you might find helpful. Often, working with a therapist is extremely helpful. And yes, some relief is indeed better than nothing, especially because you can build on it — some becomes more and more. I hope you continue to visit HealthyPlace and Anxiety-Schmanxiety and find more useful information.

  57. Gary Ciganek says:

    I’m a keen letter writer, and would like to know if there is in any case of creating a letter writing community as a result of this. Creative letter writers writing to creative letter writers the planet over.

    • Hi Gary,
      I appreciate your wanting to connect with others here. Connections are powerful! Unfortunately, HealthyPlace cannot share things such as personal addresses, phone numbers, etc. for safety reasons. I do welcome you to our community and hope you exchange comments here. It’s not quite the same as letter writing, I know, but it could be a close second.

  58. sandra says:

    Hi guys im new here i have questions about my panic attacks as they are scary enough as is but ive have them for a couple years now im 30 and i used to smoke crack from age 22 to about 24 not super heavy but moderately on a daily basis ive been clean for 6 years now but was wandering if the drug abuse from then is the cause of my attacks or if my attacks are my bodys way of warning me that id damaged it even though i cant tell but perhaps long term damage that hasnt reared its ugly head yet and my body is freaking out trying to tell me somethings wrong ive been having them for 3 years but have been clean for 6 could these be related somehow should i be worried or is all these worries just my attacks found a way to fuel themselves im really scared

    • Hi Sandra,
      I’m glad you found HealthyPlace and the Anxiety-Schmanxiety community. People interact with each other and respond to comments, and I hope that you will receive helpful insights from others in yoru position. I think that it is possible that substance use contributed to anxiety/panic, but it’s also possible that you are experiencing great worry about it that is leading to the anxiety and panic. Have you visited a doctor about this? A thorough physical exam and a discussion about what the physical effects of crack can and can’t be might go far in alleviating your fears. You can then rule out the source of difficulties or identify the source and then be able to take action to heal. In the meantime, it’s a great idea to start to take charge of your panic attacks by learning information and talking to others. You are on the right track.

      • sandra says:

        I had seen a psychiatrist but i did not tell her about the drug abuse just the attacks i was she would take my kids even though d been clean for years the drugs were done before even having my children but still a fear in my mind i also just got informed by someone that it could even be caused from the head traumas i sufffered as a child 3 different occassions where stitches were required they said the trauma may have caused frontal lobe epilepsy where im having seizures the symtoms i have match perfect especially the electric shocks in my head and blankly staring while having an attack and occasionally my arms go numb with the attacks do these things happen in normal panic attacks too or did i just find the answer i was looking for should i see a neurologist now instead

        • Hello again Sandra,
          Based on what you’ve written, I definitely think that a visit to a doctor (general to begin with, or directly to a neurologist or even psychiatrist) would be a good idea. You might find the underlying cause and then be able to address it, or you might be able to rule things out and find a new starting point. Either way, it would be wise to look into it. I am not familiar with laws/child protection, but I do think that since you’ve been clean for a number of years, mentioning your past drug use (which is important to get to the bottom of things) won’t be held against you. You can check with others who are more knowledgeable in the law just to be sure. And don’t be ashamed. You’re far from the only person who has used drugs. There are many reasons people do, and it has absolutely nothing to do with being a “good” or a “bad” person. You want to move forward and feel better. Don’t feel ashamed!

  59. john t says:

    I’m in my middle 30′s and I get extreme panic attacks at night mostly. Arms, face and hands go numb, cheady pain and rapid breathing. I’ve been to ER a few times and now its every night I now I’m having them. I’m not depressed I take xanax 1mg at night but doesn’t help. What do I do!?

  60. Caitlin says:

    I have recently started having panic attacks, went to the doctor and we’d told nevus ofthe recent move I made could have triggered something. I started doing yoga every day. But just today I started to get then back and have no idea why.. I get super scared.. please help. I don’t like feeling helpless, I would appreciate some feedback.. I also get them mostly when I start to fall asleep or while I’m sleeping..

    • Hi Caitlin,
      A move is a big adjustment to make, and it is possible that your panic attacks are tied to that, at least at first. Perhaps now they feel more random. In panic disorder, panic attacks do come on seemingly at random, and that is one of the things that is so scary and frustrating about them — they can’t be predicted. It’s good that you’ve noticed that yours do have a pattern of occurring with sleep. Have you tried keeping track of what you do during the day (activities, foods eaten, when you do these things, etc.) You might notice that your panic attacks happen when you’ve done something specific during the day. Knowing the connection can help you work through it. Having a written record could be very helpful to a doctor or therapist should you decide to seek professional help. This tracking won’t eliminate panic attacks, of course, but it could lead to insight you can use in getting rid of them. Also, it sounds like you have a good coping strategy in doing yoga. Having regular things you use to stay calm or to calm down is very important in ridding yourself of panic. Sometimes they take time to really work. Your brain and body need to learn to associate something, such as yoga, with calming down, and they need to be trained to stay calm. Finally, know that you aren’t doomed to this forever!

  61. Gidget says:

    Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of
    my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have
    a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    • Hello Gidget,
      Jodi is the one who wrote this great post, but because she’s no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she’s unable to respond to comments. I’m so glad that you liked it and want to pass it along. Thanks for your comment.

  62. Candice says:

    Hey everyone,
    I’m Candy, an older teenager, I’ve had severe crippling panic attacks since I was 8years old. I’m a senior student in college and I saw everyone’s posts, I’m looking for advice on how to;
    1. Cope with panic attacks at school.
    2. Ways to tell my teacher about my panic attacks (teacher that already knows my panic attacks but doesn’t understand them)
    3. Ways to tell my friends (without feeling weak and helpless)
    4. Ways to help relieve stress induced insomnia. (From panic attacks)

    Any ideas will be much appreciated, thanks for your time! Candy\\

    • Hi Candy,
      Welcome to HealthyPlace! I’m glad you discovered Jodi’s article. Your four categories capture the questions/struggles that the vast majority of people living with panic or any other mental health challenge face. I hope you find many tips from fellow readers. As I don’t want to stifle responses to your comment, I’m merely posting it and opening it up for discussion. May you find helpful insights!

  63. Molly says:

    I’m 16 and I started having panic attacks at the beginning of the year. My mom also suffers from panic attacks. So there is a history of panic attacks in my family. I constantly hurt all over and I constantly worry about my health. I’m a singer and I found that if it sing some happy or silly songs my panic attacks tend to disappear and I feel much better. Also I’ve found that standing or sitting in the sun tends to make my panic attack go away as well. But I’m looking for a way to deal with my panic attacks when I’m in large crowds and unable to leave. (Example: My 8th grade graduation) I never carry my medication with me because I feel like I’ll get in trouble or something but there always somewhere close like in my moms purse.

    • Hello Molly,
      Let me start by saying it’s fantastic that you have found ways to manage your panic in certain situations. That’s not always easy, and you have proven that you’re stronger than your panic. But panic can still feel strong, such as when you are in large crowds. Some people find it helpful to, when possible, position themselves near an exit. When you can’t do that (such as a graduation where you might have had assigned seats), it can be helpful to spot an exit and make a mental exit path. Keeping your attention focused on that path can sometimes reduce anxiety because you feel like you have some control over your situation and thus feel less trapped. People have reported that just knowing they’ve found an escape route helps them be able to remain in a crowd. When others read your comment in this thread, perhaps they’ll be able to post some additional tips. It’s good that you are looking for ways that will work for you in situations of panic. It’s part of taking charge!

  64. Candice says:

    Hey Molly I saw your post, this happened to me, at school socials I felt trapped with no where to go, if you can map out your whole surroundings, pick out quiet spots, exits, something that you are interested in, someone’s hat etc can help, you may also find it beneficial to slowly take part in the crowd (as you get more comfortable slowly go deeper into the crowd. Hope this helps good luck. Candy//

  65. Inspiring and educational post, thank you for sharing. Dealing with anxiety is certainly not a straight road, but a windy pathway to freedom.

    • Hi Dennis,
      I’m glad you enjoyed Jodi’s post. I like your observation that dealing with anxiety is a windy path to freedom! Very true. I’m sorry we couldn’t share the link to your website. We don’t post links, even good ones, in order to keep Healthy Place a community where people can exchange thoughts and ideas without feeling like they’re being solicited. Keep doing the great work you’re doing!

  66. Phil says:

    Hi. Some good idea’s. The Yoga position is a good one for it encourages controlled relaxation.

  67. Phil says:

    Hi Molly.
    I will testify that the yoga position really works.
    Thanks for the information.

  68. Alley says:

    This is a great list. I do agree with water and tears. Sometimes, a lot is going on in my head and it just won’t stop and when I watch really moving videos or movies, it kind of lessens. Cold shower works too. I also spend time with our dogs and talk to them. I also have my boyfriend who is always there to help me and talk to me.

  69. Jesse says:

    I am regular visitor, how arre you everybody? This post posted at this site is iin fact good.

  70. Ann says:

    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.

    • 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.

  71. MamaC says:

    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.

    • 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.

  72. Ruben says:

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

  73. Haley says:

    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.

    • 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.

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