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What To Do When Having A Panic Attack!

As a therapist I am asked daily what to do about panic attacks.  Here are some ideas to help you cope.

First acknowledge your having a panic attack.  In other words this is a panic attack, nothing real is actually happening.  Oh it feels real, but it is your mind presuming danger.  So your mind is sending you messages as if you are in danger, “Prepare to fight,”  “RUN!”  Remember although this is very frightening you are not in danger.

Second give your mind a little of what it is asking for (if possible).  Lying in bed?  Get up.  The walls are closing in? Leave the room.  You can’t breath?  Go outside or open a window for some fresh air.  Too many people near you?  Walk away.

Try not to fight your feelings.  This makes your panic more intense.  Because that makes the messages more, “You are in danger and you can’t have a panic attack, ”  You mind is now dealing with conflicting messages STOP! and RUN!

Breath!  Slow down your breathing.  Try to breath in a meditative matter; attempting to make your in breath and out breath the same length.

Stay in the present moment.  Notice what is happening now.  Not what you think is happening.  Practice mindfulness.  Use your senses.  What do you hear, see, taste, smell, and feel physically?  Don’t think about anything that might happen, keep your mind on what is truly happening.

Focus on and carry out a small, simple, manageable task.  Make a cup of tea.  Do the dishes.  Feed your pets.  Walk around the block.


About Geraldine M. Brown MS, LPC, LIMHP (162 Articles)
I hold a Master's Degree in counseling. I am a licensed professional counselor and a licensed independent mental health practitioner. I have over 25 years of experience counseling people from all walks of life.

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