10 Panic Attack Hacks to Calm You Down
Experiencing a panic attack is never a pleasant experience but with the right strategies, it is possible to learn to manage attacks and even eradicate them completely. We’ve compiled a list of 10 panic attack hacks to calm you down and reduce the anxiety and fear associated with panic disorder.
Over the years we have worked with countless clients who have experienced feelings of anxiety and panic. Most had no idea what might have been causing their feeling but with a bit of detective work and some therapy sessions, the anxiety triggers are usually discovered.
It can take a few sessions to uncover the information we need to help our clients understand their panic attacks and eliminate their triggers or change their thinking. So we needed some short term strategies to help our clients cope with these feelings whilst therapy was taking place. Here are some of our favourite panic attack tricks we give to our clients to help lessen feelings of worry and fear
Panic Attack Tricks – Go With the Feelings
When a panic attack starts many people start to panic and try and fight against the feelings. The more they panic and freak out about what is happening the worse the attack gets. In fact, the best way to manage an attack when it starts is to go with the feelings.
As an attack can last anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour find the nearest spot when you can sit and get comfortable to ride out the storm. If you are driving pull over and stop your car. Then just accept that you are going to have some uncomfortable feelings for a short period of time but that they will always pass.
Panic attack hacks don’t have to involve anything complex in this case. You just need to roll with the attack and let it subside in its own time.
How to Deal with Panic Attacks – Use Coping Statements
The use of coping statements whilst you are having a panic attack can act as a reassurance tactic to help you deal with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. They also act as a reminder that everything will be ok and keep you focused on the idea that the attack will eventually end.
You can use statements such as:
- This attack won’t hurt me and will soon pass.
- I am facing my fears and will be able to overcome them.
- I do not have to believe my thoughts which are incorrect.
- I am able to handle these feelings as I know they can’t harm me.
Find statements that comfort and reassure you and repeat them to yourself whilst you are experiencing the attack.
Easing a Panic Attack – Focus
When a panic attack starts it is a great idea to focus on an object and draw your attention into thinking about the detail of that particular item.
Start to look at the colours, the patterns, texture, movement and size of the object you are looking at. Keep on focusing on the item until the panic attack subsides.
Coping with Panic Attacks – Challenge Your Thoughts
Panic attack hacks can also involve what you are thinking. When you are suffering from a panic attack it can be easy to allow your mind to spiral out of control and think about the very worst things that could happen. Many of our clients have convinced themselves that they cannot breathe or are dying when neither is the case.
Start to understand that your mind where anxiety is concerned is not reliable. If there isn’t an immediate real danger in front of you at the moment you are having the attack then your subconscious is triggering fear based on old outdated information that is no longer relevant.
Begin to challenge any negative thoughts and remind yourself that there is no danger. Imagine that the part of you that is triggering a panic attack is a small frightened child and talk to it to remind it that nothing bad is happening and that it is safe.
Beat a Panic Attack – Progressive Muscle Relaxation
A progressive muscle relaxation exercise is one where you start to relax the muscles moving downwards from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. As hypnotherapists, we use this form of relaxation method with many of our clients in their initial sessions to help them start to move into a trance-like state. When you use it by yourself it can help to remove muscle tension.
To make it easy for you a guided meditation for relaxation download can do a similar job of helping you to start to tune out and feel calmer. We have a great relaxation and stress reduction audio download that is perfect to use in our online store.
Even better if you use a relaxation device like this regularly it lowers your background levels of stress and anxiety. When your anxiety and stress levels are lower the chances of having a panic attack become significantly reduced.
Anxiety Attack Coping Strategies – Use Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great technique which can be learned to help you focus on the here and now rather than allowing your mind to get caught up worrying about the past or the future.
There are loads of mindfulness techniques that you can use to get you thinking about the present rather than allowing yourself to panic about what may happen. What if thoughts are not helpful and only serve to make you worry about a whole host of issues that are highly unlikely to happen.
A simple mindfulness strategy might be to stroke your hand slowly. Allow yourself to focus on the emotion and make it slow and steady. Feel the skin underneath your fingers and think about the texture and temperature. Think about the sensations the stroking generates and breathe in motion with the strokes. This is a great form of self-soothing as well as being mindful.
5 Things to Focus on Whilst Having a Panic Attack – Grounding Techniques
We love grounding techniques as part of our panic attack attacks as they can help to calm you and keep your mind based in the present rather than going into worry and fear overdrive.
The way to use grounding techniques is relatively simple. Whilst you are having the panic attack start to find:
- Five things that you can see
- Four things you can touch
- Three things that you can hear
- Two things you can touch
- One thing you can smell
This helps you to break the cycle of anxious thoughts and remain in the present.
Strategies for Anxiety Attacks – Self-Hypnosis
Self-hypnosis for panic attacks and anxiety reduction is the perfect tool for managing stress levels, creating calm feelings and creating deep relaxation.
One of the major causes of panic attacks is too much stress coupled with underlying anxiety. This anxiety may be managed well most of the time but when stress levels rise the anxiety also gets bigger. Keeping stress levels under control can make a significant difference in the severity and frequency of panic attacks.
Plus anxiety and panic attacks involve unhelpful negative subconscious thought processes. Changing these thought patterns by using subconscious suggestion can be helpful in changing the way you think.
We have an audio download program designed specifically for anxiety and panic attacks that you can use to help you reduce stress and that also gives you subconscious suggestions. The five audios include one specifically to help with panic attacks. These are great panic attack hacks and you can purchase them for instant download in our online store.
Tips for Anxiety Attacks – Positive Visualisation
Remember that your mind is a powerful tool when you are wondering what panic attack hacks to use. You have the power to take thoughts and change them from something negative to positive. If you start to feel a panic attack coming on close your eyes and visualise something or someone that makes you feel safe, comfortable and happy.
Really conjure up the vision in your mind and concentrate on making it feel as real as you can. Focus intensely on the feelings you get when you normally encounter this place or person. So if you place is a beach near an ocean try and imagine the sound or the waves, the smell of the air, the feel of the sand and the calmness you feel as you look out at the sea.
Dealing with Panic – Breathing
Many people experience issues breathing properly when they are in the midst of a panic attack. In particular, they start to over breathe and this causes hyperventilation where it feels you can’t get enough air into the lungs. This is what causes people to worry that they will pass out or die.
In fact, hyperventilation is caused not by too little oxygen but too much. You need to get your breathing back into balance and you can do this by slowing down your breathing. Breathe in for the count of 7 and breath out for the count of 11.
Many people use a paper bag as well to help. They breathe in and out of the bag for short periods of time. As you breathe in your own carbon dioxide you balance your breathing once more. Just a word of caution make sure that you only breathe in and out of the bag for three or four breaths, then try and breathe normally and then repeat where necessary.
What to do After a Panic Attack
In the immediate aftermath of a panic attack, you may need to simply rest, relax and recuperate to gather your thoughts. If you feel like you need to sleep go ahead. Only when you feel ready it would be good to think about the next steps you want to take.
Panic attacks do not appear for no reason. They are created because your mind is trying to warn you about something. That issue may be something that is very active in your life right at this moment or it may be a hangover from your past that has not been dealt with.
Of all the panic attack hacks we can give it is important to try and figure out the triggers for your attacks and take steps to neutralise them. This may involve lifestyle changes, mindset changes, relaxation techniques and therapy for panic attacks.
You can use our anxiety tracker printable pdf worksheets to start to track what might be causing you problems.
We also offer anxiety and panic attack programs to help our clients manage their worries and fears. These take place over the internet via platforms such as Skype or Facetime. If you would like to get more details about how panic attack therapy can help you change the way you think and feel simply fill out the form below to get more details of our online problems.
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