I’ve mentioned before that I’m someone who suffers from anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, I’ve also had my share of panic attacks.
I know how hard it can be to stop a panic attack when you’re in the middle of it.
I’ve had panic attacks privately in my home, in public around family and friends, and laying in bed in the middle of the night.
I’ve gone through periods where I have panic attacks daily, and then I’ll go months without one at all.
Panic attacks can be unpredictable.
I will admit that I haven’t found a foolproof way to definitely stop them every time one starts happening – although that would be amazing.
But in my time dealing with them, I’ve found things that can definitely help calm them while they’re happening.
So, here are 7 things I do to stop a panic attack in its tracks:
1- I start praying.
No matter which god you believe in, or whether or not you even believe in a god at all, praying might help. Even asking the universe for help can give you comfort and also give you something to do when you feel the effects of panic coming on.
This has actually helped me stop the feelings from turning into a full-on attack before.
2- I put my head down.
When I’m in the middle of a panic attack, closing my eyes and putting my head down has helped me actually feel my body calming down. When you’re in the midst of an attack, everything feels more intense.
I don’t know how to describe it, but lights can seem brighter, sounds can seem louder, etc. Closing your eyes and just trying to shut things out can make things feel less intense.
3- I take a deep breath – carefully.
If you struggle with panic attacks, you don’t need me to tell you that your breath can get out of control quickly. Sometimes, trying to do deep breathing exercises can cause me to hyperventilate. So, I try to take a deep breath through my nose – but carefully. This helps me slow down my breathing, which eases the symptoms of a panic attack.
The problem is, when you’re having an attack, you can start over-breathing. Overbreathing can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness, and dizziness. So you want to try to slow down your breathing, which will alleviate those symptoms. This can help you calm down pretty quickly.
Related reading – A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
4- I try to control my body’s response.
This is one of the biggest things that helps me.
I see a lot of people say to try to distract yourself when you’re having a panic attack, but that doesn’t work for me. When I try to distract myself, I can’t fully think about what I’m doing because that panic is still in the back of my mind. So, I just stop and let myself feel the panic attack.
I pay attention to how I’m breathing, I feel the uncomfortable feeling in my chest, and I notice how my muscles are tense. And then I try to undo those things. I take a deep breath (like I mentioned in #3) and I make myself relax my muscles.
Letting the feelings run their course and trying to stay relaxed despite those feelings, can help the attack go away sooner. It shows your body that you actually have nothing to be afraid of.
5- I lay down – if I can.
This one isn’t always possible, of course. But when I’m having a panic attack at home, I lay down and cuddle with my significant other or one of my doggos.
This makes me feel more comfortable while I let the attack run its course, and the feelings of comfort usually make it go away quickly.
6- I try to laugh at something.
I feel like laughter is the best medicine, so sometimes I just try to laugh at something when I’m feeling panicky. I talk to someone who makes me laugh, or I watch a funny YouTube video. This is a small way to alleviate some of the fear I’m feeling.
7- I take better care of myself.
Okay, so this isn’t a way to stop a panic attack when it’s happening – but it is a way to fight off attacks before you’re even experiencing them.
Practicing better self-care can limit the number of panic attacks that you have to deal with. So I make sure that I’m taking better care of myself in different ways.
Here are some habits to form that can help you deal with fewer panic attacks:
- Start a meditation routine
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
- Try to exercise a few days each week
- Take regular breaks from social media
- Make time for hobbies
Related reading – The 5 Areas of Self-Care With Examples
Remember that experiences with anxiety or panic are different for everyone. This is just a list of what helps me, personally. I’m not a medical professional, I’m only sharing this in the hopes that it might help you. You got this. <3
How do you feel about this list? Is there anything you do that helps you stop a panic attack in its tracks? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!