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How to Deal with a Panic Attack

how to deal with a panic attack

Have you found yourself suddenly bombarded by a storm of thoughts, a heartbeat that you can’t seem to keep pace with, a choking sensation or feeling like you’re reeling out of control? Chances are that you may be having a panic attack. Ironically, many people panic even more when having a panic attack making the experience even worse to handle.

So, how can you deal with a panic attack that hits you out of the blue?

Here are few ways I employ when panic attacks come visiting:

I find this one very crucial to reduce my panic. I’ve been an asthmatic all my life so I already know how to tackle shortness of breath. Even then, a panic attack makes it a hundredfold worse when it comes to breathing. What I do is, I breathe in for 4-7 seconds and then exhale for the same amount of time. I repeat this until I feel I’m back to my normal breathing rate. Trust me, this works every single time!

One day, I had a panic attack and I don’t know why but I made myself visualize a place where I could feel safe and happy, a place where nothing, not even a panic attack could touch me. I focused on that, soaked in the secure, content feeling that the place exuded. It felt extremely empowering. It could be anything that makes you feel safe – sitting by the side of a lake, embracing a loved one, putting a smile on other’s faces – just imagine it, hold it in your mind and watch your panic melt away. (I will say this though that it takes effort to do this but it’s worth it.)

I came across this technique somewhere and found it ingenious. In this what you do when you get a panic attack is, you have to use your 5 senses. For example, Listen to 5 different sounds that’s surrounding you – the whirr of a fan, a cat mewing, the wind rustling tree leaves, a motorbike zooming by, and people talking. The same goes for Seeing, Touching, Smelling, and Tasting. Note 5 distinct elements from each category – it helps to ground you during a panic attack.

This one is one of the best ways to deal with a panic attack.
A – Accept that you are having a panic attack. Accept the present current reality.
W – Watch your panic. You are the audience observing it. It helps to keep a panic diary and jot down what you observe when a panic attack happens to you. It helps you calm down faster.
A – Act normal. If you were in the middle of doing something before your panic attack came, continue with it like normal. Don’t feed panic by avoiding your present task.
R – Repeat the above steps till you feel your panic attack has gone.
E – End. I prefer ‘The End’ just to tell my panic attack that I CAN defeat it! So can you 😉

I have personally implemented all the above techniques and have found that they work for me. Some may require extra effort and will power but they all help tremendously in overcoming a panic attack.

I would be happy to learn more techniques to handle a panic attack. Do let me know what steps you take to deal with it.

Oh and before I end this, there is one phrase that I always say during such times and that is – This too shall pass.

Till then, keep calm and cruise on 😉



Venice 🙂


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