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?
LCSW-R, J. (2012, May 2). Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/05/ten-things-to-do-for-a-panic-attack
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
Engaging the senses, activating physical sensations (touch, smell, etc.) can be very effective ways to pull the mind away from anxiety and panic and back into the real world. How wonderful that this works for you and that you have someone to help with this. I'm wondering if the two of you might choose a different approach to the same thing, such as smelling something strong like coffee beans or a strong shoulder rub/the use of a back massage tool. You could achieve the same result in a kinder, less painful way. :)
Jodi is no longer writing the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog for Healthy Place, so she is unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the writers of the column now. I agree with you about the paper bag/folded newspaper. Many people find this technique to be quite effective (myself included). Good point about the need to breathe slowly. Thank you for sharing something that is helpful to you.
Good luck! I know you can do it! Jodi
Thank you so much for sharing what is working for you. This will likely be quite helpful to many. I like the perspective you and your therapist have about time frames and approaching panic attacks. That is as helpful as the breathing meditation.
I added this question and answer to my lastest post: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/11/questions-about-panic-attacks/. Hope it helps!
symptoms are :
Short breath / dizziness/ trembling/ constipation/ vertigo/ heart palpitations/ muscles tension/ Insomnia/ reddish eyes/ panic attacks any time (mostly in evening)/ difficulty in breathing at times/light headache..
.I am looking for new ways to cope