10 Effective Ways to Stop a Panic Attack

Suffering from a panic attack can be terrifying. The first time someone has a panic attack, their symptoms can be so severe and overwhelming that they fear they might be dying. The strong connection between our mental and physical health means that a panic attack can feel similar to a heart attack, even if you’re not in any physical danger.

If you have ever experienced a panic attack, the thought of going through this again might be anxiety-inducing. Naturally, you’re curious about how you can stop a panic attack if you notice the symptoms creeping up. While there are no fool-proof methods, there are a few tactics you can try.

Here are some suggestions for stopping panic attacks before they start.

1. Recognize What’s Happening

Sometimes simply taking a moment to recognize what you’re experiencing is a panic attack rather than a physical health problem can help. When you know that you are not in immediate physical danger, you may feel yourself start calming down naturally.

2. Deep Breathing

Deep, slow breaths will help remedy a panic attack. This strategy is not a magic bullet for stopping a panic attack, but it can be quite soothing. You can practice deep breathing methods regularly so that you’ll know which techniques are the most relaxing for you when you do feel these symptoms occurring.

3. Find a Safe Location

What if you’re in a crowded space and you realize you’re about to have a panic attack? See if you can excuse yourself to a different location. If you are driving, find a spot to pull over as soon as possible. Being in a secure area without overwhelming stimuli will allow you to relax.

4. Repeat a Mantra

Having a mantra that you can return to when you feel a panic attack coming on is a good idea. When you start to feel overwhelmed, you can begin repeating this mantra or affirmation in your mind. By giving yourself something to concentrate on, you may be able to find a sense of inner peace, even in a stressful situation.

5. Focus on Surroundings

When you think that you’re about to have a panic attack, you might feel like you’re disassociating from everything around you. Try to hone in on your surroundings. For instance, focus on the feeling of the ground beneath your feet, what you can smell, or what you can see directly in front of you.

6. Try Walking

Many people know that exercise, in general, is a great form of stress relief. That doesn’t mean you need an intense workout when you think that you’re about to have a panic attack. However, walking could actually help ease your symptoms. You don’t have to go far – just stretch your legs and stroll around where you are to get moving.

7. Relax Muscle Tension

If you’re stressed or afraid, your muscles are likely to be tense. This symptom can contribute to an oncoming panic attack. Take a moment to exhale and relax your muscles. This will bring some relief.

8. Close Your Eyes

Yes, focusing on your surroundings can help you stave off a panic attack, but what if your surrounding environment is the cause of your stress? Try closing your eyes instead. Giving yourself a moment of peace and quiet can work wonders.

9. Focus on an Object

Your attention might feel scattered and unfocused. Bring your attention back to something that can help you concentrate. Choose a nearby object and focus on that for a few minutes.

10. Visualize a Peaceful Place

Every once in a while, mentally transporting yourself is the best thing you can do when you’re worried about a panic attack coming on. Visualize yourself somewhere that you feel truly calm and comfortable to find temporary relief.

Are you struggling with panic attacks? Talking to a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.