Stopping a panic attack can take as little as 3 minutes. That’s about the time it takes for the adrenaline in your body to dissipate, effectively removing the symptoms of your attack. The following steps do not replace an in depth treatment, but they can help you end one should you happen to experience them.
Here’s how to stop panic attacks using the 5 steps process I thought of to stop my anxiety (read my panic attack stories) and anxiety attacks when I felt one was coming.
1. Put yourself out of harm’s way
The first thing you want to do when you can feel an episode of panic coming is to put yourself out of harm’s way. This will allow you to stop worrying about your safety and you will be able to concentrate on relaxing.
If you’re driving, try to pull over to ensure your safety. If you’re in a large crowd, try to find somewhere you can sit.
2. Close you eyes to begin the relaxation process
I like to close my eyes whenever I feel anxious. Now that you’re out of danger, you can close your eyes and shut yourself off from the external world. This should help you relax and feel more in control.
3. Start to control your breathing
I practice breathing exercises almost every day. When I used to feel an attack coming, I would immediately start to control my breathing and this would help me feel more relaxed.
Controlling panic attacks is possible if you control your breathing by taking deep breaths that last 6-7 seconds. Try to breathe from the bottom of your belly and not up from your chest. Stay in control of your breathing and you will already start to feel the panic attack slip away.
4. Start using rational thinking
All kind of negative thoughts pass through your head when you experience a panic attack. These thoughts are unfounded. It can help to shout STOP!!! inside your head to stop your negative thoughts in their tracks (read more about managing panic attacks). This is a crucial part of how you can learn how to manage your attack.
Once that’s done, remember that a panic attack will not harm you. It will not cause your heart to stop beating. You will not stop breathing either. It’s only an episode, and like any other that you may have experienced, it will pass too. You are safe and you will be fine.
5. Replace your negative thoughts with positive thinking
Remember the magic pill we created together? If not, read this article about panic attack relief because it’s time to use it. Now that you have freed your mind of negative thoughts, you can start to fill your head with positive thoughts.
Think of a memory you’re very fond of. Remember an achievement you’re very proud of. Know that everything will be all right, as it will be.
It’s That Simple
This is the process that I found to be the most effective for me as to how to stop panic attacks for me. I start doing these five simple steps as soon as I feel my anxiety rising a little, and I think it has helped me tremendously managing my panic disorder. I hope it can help you too.
Photo © iko
If you want to learn more about this, I heartily invite you to read my free guide, Leave Panic Behind. It will tell you everything you need to know to get rid of panic attacks.
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