Panic attacks can be overwhelming and frightening and often catch us off guard. About 13% of people worldwide have reported having a panic attack at least once. Whether you’ve experienced them before or are facing one for the first time, it’s crucial to have coping strategies in place. Learn practical tips on what to do during a panic attack to help you regain control and navigate through the intense emotions.

Recognize the Signs

The first step in managing a panic attack is recognizing the signs. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness, and a sense of impending doom. Acknowledging that you are experiencing a panic attack is crucial, allowing you to respond proactively.

Focus on Your Breathing

Controlled breathing is a powerful tool to help calm the nervous system during a panic attack. Practice deep, slow breaths to regulate your breathing pattern. Try inhaling for a count of four, holding for four counts, and exhaling for another four counts. Repeat this process until you start to feel a sense of calm returning.

Ground Yourself

Grounding techniques can bring you back to the present moment and distract your mind from the panic. Focus on your senses by identifying and describing things around you. Touch a textured surface, listen to specific sounds, or notice the colors and shapes in your surroundings. Being aware of your surroundings can help anchor you in reality and reduce the intensity of the panic.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Panic attacks often come with a flood of negative thoughts and catastrophic predictions. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if they are based on facts or if the panic exaggerates them. Remind yourself that the feelings will pass and that you are not in immediate danger.

Use Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations can serve as a powerful counterforce to negative thoughts. Repeat calming and reassuring statements to yourself, such as “I am safe,” “This will pass,” or “I have the strength to overcome this.” Affirmations can help shift your focus from fear to a more positive mindset.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Engaging in progressive muscle relaxation can help release physical tension during a panic attack. Start by tensing and gradually releasing each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes and working your way up to your head. This technique promotes relaxation and can alleviate some of the physical symptoms associated with panic.

Create a Safe Space

If possible, find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down during a panic attack. Having a designated safe space, whether at home or another familiar location, can provide a sense of security and control.

Find Help

Experiencing a panic attack can be distressing, but it’s important to remember that you have the tools to cope and overcome the intense emotions. By recognizing the signs and using these tips, you can navigate through the storm of a panic attack and emerge on the other side with a renewed sense of calm and resilience. We can help if you need assistance managing panic attacks or other mental health issues. At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we offer different levels of care to best support you and your needs. Reach out today if you want to talk or learn more.