Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks
How can coping tools help relieve panic attacks? Especially since most panic attacks feel like they come out of the blue, even though there is usually a trigger. The trigger is that you are scared of panic attacks. And why wouldn't you be? They are one of the most uncomfortable experiences on this planet. Having a list of tools can help reduce the number of panic attacks you experience and help you feel less afraid of the panic coming.
10 Coping Tools for Panic Attack Relief
These coping tools will help you avoid panic attacks in the first place. Some of them you should do every day as part of good self-care. Others will help when you enter new situations or relationships. Put them all in your anti-anxiety toolkit and feel more in control.
1. Have an exit plan. Sometimes knowing we have a plan to leave a situation helps us not be so afraid of trying something new. For example, know you can excuse yourself, you can have your own car to drive home, or you have a friend to support you can make all the difference. We are often scared to get anxiety and not be able to do anything about it. We are afraid of being out of control. Making a plan will make you feel more in control and this counters the anxiety.
2. Have someone you can count on ready to call. In fact, have several, in case the one is busy. Someone who knows about the anxiety and can tell you you are okay, or even better--someone who can make you laugh.
3. Spend time with your pet. Animals tend to ease anxiety. So spend as much time with a friendly animal as you can. Here are some animal activities to enjoy: keeping a pet, bird watching, going to an aquarium, etc. (Animal Therapy: Easing Anxiety With An Animal)
4. Interact with water. There is something about water that stops the energy of panic. Sometimes crying releases it (tears). However, consider taking a hot bath or shower for immediate relief. Also drinking hot soup or a hot drink (non-caffeinated) can help.
5. Have a tranquilizer with you. Knowing you have anti-anxiety medication to calm you down within 15 minutes can help you not be afraid of anxiety. Again, we are afraid of being out of control of our anxiety so just knowing you have the medicine is all you need (With Anxiety, You Do Have Control). Panic needs you to be scared of it for it to stay.
6. Give yourself a massage or have your loved one give you one. This really calms the nerves and calls our attention back out of the anxious mind and into the body.
7. Forward bend. Like a fetal position, any forward bend in yoga counters anxiety. You can get in child's position (see photo).
8. Stare at yourself in the mirror. This is called tratak meditation. It helps build trust in yourself. Do this when you are calm to prevent anxiety and panic.
9. Go for a walk. Get a change of scenery and use up some of that excess energy. The biology of fear indicates the release of adrenaline makes your body want to do something. Doing something and feeling a sense of control on the account of that activity is by far the best thing you can do for a panic attack.
10. Laugh. Watch some funny videos on YouTube. Laughter and anxiety cannot live in the same moment together!
What did I forget? What's worked for you?
Lobozzo, J. (2012, May 2). Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/05/ten-things-to-do-for-a-panic-attack
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
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.
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!
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
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.
This is an excellent list, Lori! You would make an excellent peer counselor!
Nothing works better for me than the one move technique, if have never heard of it check out the panic away program!
Thanks Silvya, I will try it.
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!
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
[...] 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. [...]
Nothing beats anxiety better than muscle relaxation and doing natural exercises to prevent panic attacks. Great post! curepanicattackv.com
Exercise and muscles relaxing are indeed helpful! Thanks, Katrina!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Grounding. Looking at stuff (inanimate, NOT focusing on people) around and naming them in my head. floor. lightbulb. plant. etc.
Oooh! Great way to focus your energy on the present moment. I used to do this, look at patterns, intricately. Beautiful!
[...] selling Stop Panic Attacks album, brought to you by the primary manufacturer of subliminal messages.http://www.SubliminalMessagesMP3s.com/panicattacks Subliminal messages may alleviate anxiety and pan...Have you ever been into situations initiating anxiety and panic attacks for you? This is when [...]
Thanks for the great tips on dealing with panic attacks - I've also sent this page to my loved ones so they can get ideas of how to help when I'm bad. One thing I do to try to prevent panics is that I have a keyring on my handbag that has lots of charms on it, and I run them through my fingers like a rosary as I find concentrating on a repetitive motion can be very calming. I like the idea of interacting with water, I may have to find my desktop water fountain again!!
Best wishes and good health to you xxxx
Great idea about connecting with water. I hope you also like my post about Easing Anxiety With Nature!
It's fantastic to have variety of tools at your disposal as it gives you more confidence to do the things, and go to the places in where you may be afraid of having another panic attack..
It can be the fear of having another panic attack that can keep us locked in the cycle..
Getting to know the weird bodily sensations that you can experience at the onset of a panic attack can help control your emotional reaction, and in turn decrease the amount you panic- breaking the "panic loop"...
Making our fears visible takes the mystery out of them. This evasiveness is usually where they hold their power! Thanks so much for the comment!
[...] too scared to go to. I was not going to stand for this any longer!Stop Missing Life’s BeautyPanic can have us missing life’s beauty. Too often we say to ourselves, “I don’t want [...]
Great tips! Thanks for stopping by my blog and you're comment. I didn't know either until I starting blogging about it!
For me cognitive behavioral techniques worked best, nit just worked but completely eliminated my health anxiety. I have found that lifestlye changes (healthy diet, exercise, yoga etc) reduce general stress and anxiety and prevent panic attacks as well.
Great check out my new post tomorrow, I talk more about it!
[...] Kind Of Job Is Skill Based Job And Suitable For People With Obsessive Compulsive DisorderTen Things To Do For A Panic AttackWhat Kind Of Job Is Skill Based Job And Suitable For People With Obsessive Compulsive DisorderWhat [...]
Great stuff, Jodi. I use a lot of deep breathing techniques and some guided meditations that help. My anxiety comes from an inherited brain chemistry problem on maternal side (13 of us that I know of, including all my sisters). It's fascinating. We are all affected differently too. Thanks for your helping everyone out.
Maybe also be learned form each other, even though it is all different! I hope you're handling it OK.
Thanks for the tips! I just recently started having panic attacks. Unfortunately I am a teacher, and they often come on in the middle of class. I was given Zanex (spelling) to taken by the urgent care until I can see a doctor this weekend. Knowing I have the medicine in my purse has helped considerably. I think I might run out this afternoon and get one of those desk top water fall machines for my room. I've heard great things about the effectiveness of those!
Water fall's are a great sounds that brings your attention, love it!
[...] Newest post on Anxiety-Schmanxiety: Ten Things To Do For A Panic Attack [...]
Wonderful ideas, Jodi. Thank you! I like the idea of having a plan in place. I think I tend to ignore the possibility of a panic or anxiety attack to try to keep it at bay, and that doesn't always work. Acknowledging that it can happen but I can control what I do about it would help.
I try to close my eyes and breath through a "tunnel" I make by rolling my fingers inward into a loose fist. I might tell myself something like, calm down, or, it's OK. I think this helps me focus better on my breath and on the moment. Does that make sense?
I like the idea of breathing through a tunnel. Yes, it is about focus on breath and bringing your consciousness to it. Thank for stopping by, Tina!
Thank you so much for sharing many valuable tips to move through a panic attack. Last night I had three anxiety attacks. Thankfully, as it always does it too did pass, after using three different tools.
It is so important to have many tools in your belt to move through panic and anxiety. Thank you for your great tips, I have added them to my blog post that I wrote while I was having one of the anxiety attacks. Writing is one of my tools...
Thank you for your dedication to mental health.
Thanks, Lee! very happy!
[...] are 10 things you can do for a Panic Attack thanks to Healthy [...]
I usually become like paralyzed, no movement. Noise irritates me, but I love to feel someone's presence (have someone talking to me, or touching me) just so that I come back, as It seems like I completely disconnect. Tranquilizers and anti epileptic help and are always with me. I was told to breath in a paper bag.Going for a walk or drive are not an option for me as I often faint.
Do you like to breathe in a plastic bag? It is all about the exhale. It just reminds us to exhale. We often forget, especially when we are panicked.
I never tried it although they said it will help me. When I "wake up" and can start thinking again, I do try to exhale like if i was blowing candles that are very far. I don't know if it's a good technique, but I just do it without thinking.
Great idea of blowing candles far away!
I have to pinch myself sharply several times to snap out of it - this seems to be the only thing that gives me alittle relief