Panic Attack Tips

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, chances are you may have wondered if you were going to die, or your symptoms may have completely convinced you that you were in need of medical attention.  Panic attacks are terrifying in their intensity!  But the good news is is that they can be helped!  Here are some strategies to get you started.  Many of these tips originated from the excellent but now-defunct anxiety program at Burnaby Hospital.

  • Breathe – Breathe from the abdomen, not from the chest.  Push your tummy out as you inhale.  Try to extend your inhalation for 5 seconds.
  • Think Reassuring Words — “You can get through this”; “This is temporary” etc.
  • Distract Yourself – Study patterns on the wall, pebbles in the pavement, leaves on a tree—whatever is nearby.
  • Tense and Release Muscles – Make your hands into a fist, tense, release or try shrugging your shoulders, repeat.
  • Talk to Someone If You Can – Having someone nearby helps some feel safer and supported.  Having someone to help “talk through” the panic attack can be beneficial.
  • Do Something Comforting –  Ideas that clients have shared: wrapping oneself in a blanket; fixing a cup of tea; stroking one’s earlobes; using a rosary or “worry beads.”
  • Stay With The Feelings – Neither holding on to them nor pushing them away. Allow them to flow in and out like a wave. Let go of judgement of yourself and your anxiety.
  • Remind Yourself that Panic Attacks Always End

The temptation is to take yourself away from the situation which is making you panic. If you do so repeatedly, a pattern of avoidance if often set up which can be difficult to break.  This is often a sign that you may benefit from professional support to deal with your anxiety.  If you think I could help you overcome your panic, call me today so we can get this process started!