Tips for dealing with panic attacks

Panic attacks can feel overwhelming and often very terrifying! It can feel very hard to respond to a panic attack when it occurs. But there are some things you can do that can help you feel like you are taking control of it. Everyone experiences panic attacks in their own way and we all have our own remedies. Something that works for your friend may not work for you. A panic attack may only last a few minutes sometimes however the impact of it can leave you feeling frightened and uneasy for long periods of time

Some of these are backed up by research - others are techniques some of our community uses!

Breathe Deeply: to help you control your breathing you can try to count to six while you inhale, and six whilst you exhale. Having someone with you to help you count can be helpful too.

Ground Yourself: whether it's sitting with your feet firmly on the floor or taking off your shoes to feel the grass.

Splash Water On Your Face. Research shows that cold-water on your face can help bring down your heart rate.

Take An Epsom Salt Bath: It’s often seen as the “original chill pill”.

Massage Your Scalp: this can help by decreasing your cortisol (the stress hormone) and increasing your serotonin and dopamine (which contribute to you feeling better). It also increases blood flow to you brain and helps reduce muscle tension in your head and neck.

Pray or Talk To Yourself: for some Prayer can strengthen your emotional health. Whether you are religious or not it could be helpful. If prayer isn’t something that you find helpful, talking to yourself can also be very helpful.

It can help you:

Do the Rabbit Pose: this relieves tension in your neck, shoulders, and back, where we carry most of our stress.

Practice mindfulness: Try to set aside at least 5 to 10 minutes to sit and meditate. You can increase this time as you become more comfortable with your practice. Start off sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. To help focus, begin your meditation with a breathing exercise, and with your eyes closed. Then, simply notice your thoughts, allowing any ideas to come to your mind. Keep a nonjudgmental attitude as you let yourself remain in the present with your inner voice.

Keep lavender or lavender essential oil on hand and breathe in the scent: Lavender is known for being soothing and stress-relieving as it can help to relax your body. You can also try drinking lavender or chamomile tea. This should not be combined with benzodiazepines- this combination can cause intense drowsiness!

Repeat a mantra internally: It can be as simple as “This too shall pass” or “I am strong”, or a mantra that speaks to you personally. Repeat it on a loop in your head until you feel better. This can give you something to grasp onto during a panic attack.

Leave a situation or tell someone you need to go if it is making you feel panicked

Recognise that all panic attacks end: No matter how intense the anxiety attack is, it will eventually end. We can end them faster by doing some or all of the above. No one experiences unending anxiety attacks even though sometimes it can feel that way!

Please remember that you don't have to wait for a panic attack to begin to try these techniques!

Disclaimer: This guide has not been put together by mental health professionals. It is not intended to be medical advice. It has been crowdsourced by survivors and volunteers of Chayn. Care has been taken in reflecting the experiences and knowledge of people around the world, including therapists but information in this guide should be taken instead of certified medical advice. Please seek professional support.

Getting better & moving on: A guide for mental healing after abuse and trauma by CHAYN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.