It Will Be Okay – Here’s How You Can Calm Yourself on The Verge of a Panic Attack

It Will Be Okay – Here’s How You Can Calm Yourself on The Verge of a Panic Attack
Panic attacks can feel overwhelming and frightening, leaving you feeling helpless and out of control. However, it’s important to remember that panic attacks, while distressing, are temporary and can be managed. In moments of acute distress, finding strategies to calm your mind and body can provide much-needed relief. Let’s explore some effective methods for calming yourself on the verge of a panic attack, allowing you to regain a sense of control and find relief.

Recognize the Signs

When you start to feel the physical sensations of a panic attack, it’s easy to fixate on the feeling until it swells into a panic attack. However, if you can identify what’s happening, you can take steps to prevent it from snowballing.

Common symptoms include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Feelings of impending doom

Pay attention to your body and thoughts, and recognize when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or anxious. Acknowledging the onset of panic can give you the time and awareness you need to start calming yourself with your preferred coping strategies.

Try Grounding Techniques

Panic attacks have an effective way of disconnecting us from our bodies and surroundings. To combat this loss of control, grounding techniques help anchor you to the present reality and distract your mind from anxious thoughts. Here are some methods you can try!
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Use the 5 Senses

You can use your five senses to ground you in the moment. Pick out five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you smell, and one thing you can taste. Take your time to fully acknowledge these things and how they appear to you. Doing this can make you more aware of your surroundings and your body’s relation to them.
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Shock the System

Sometimes, you can shock your body out of a panic attack. Try sucking on ice cubes, holding an ice cube, or running your hand under cold water. The cold sensation can cause your senses to essentially “forget” that you’re panicking as they start to focus on the new, more demanding physical sensation. You can also try chewing strong mint or cinnamon gum or eating a spicy pepper if you’re feeling a little daring (and hungry!)
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Tapping

An effective tool many have used to ground and calm themselves is tapping. To do this, you take the first two fingers on both hands and lightly tap your forehead, temples, sinuses, chin, collarbones, and shoulders, repeating the process as many times and as long as you need. The repetitive motion is supposed to center you and help slow your thoughts, breathing, and heartbeat.
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Take Some Mindful, Deep Breaths

Deep breathing has been a tried and true method for calming the body. To do this, inhale for two to four seconds, hold for three, then exhale for six. Repeat this at least three times or more if you need it. Deep breaths will calm your racing heart and help you breathe easier. It’s also a good trick if you have trouble falling asleep, as it helps your body relax!
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Distract Your Mind

Sometimes, a distraction can be effective. Shift your brain’s focus away from your anxiety and play a game on your phone, sing along to a rap song, or count backward from 100 by 7. The point is to engage in something challenging that requires your total focus. You can also disrupt the panic cycle by doing something physical like jumping jacks or a full-body wiggle. These actions can bring your attention back to the here and now.

When All Else Fails – Let It Happen

You might be thinking, “Why would I let myself panic when I’m supposed to be trying to calm myself? That’s ridiculous!” While it sounds counterintuitive, it can help to let go. Often during a panic attack, you may feel like you’re losing control, and trying to fight the feeling can only increase the panic. Instead of trying to command yourself to be okay, try acknowledging the feeling. Remind yourself that the panic will end and that while you may not like this feeling now, it will be okay in a few minutes. Until then, find a quiet place, take some deep breaths, and allow the feeling to move through you.

Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional for support during a panic attack. Talking to someone you trust can provide comfort and perspective, helping you feel less alone in your struggle. A mental health professional can also give you the tools and guidance you need to manage any future panic attacks or anxious moments.

Get the Guidance You Need

While panic attacks can be distressing, it’s essential to remember that you have the power to calm yourself and regain control in moments of crisis. At With Behavioral Health, we’re here to support you every step of the way, offering compassionate care and evidence-based treatments to help you overcome panic attacks and live a life free from fear. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you navigate your mental health journey or to schedule your intake appointment.

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