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The How-To Lounge: Coping With a Panic Attack

Earlier this week I brought up anxiety disorders and noted their major symptoms. One of the most life-altering one on the list is panic attacks, which many of you deal with or have in the past. A panic attack can be a terrible ordeal and is not just limited to people with anxiety disorders. Once you've had one, it's likely you'll forever dread another, but it’s better to learn how to cope with them than fear another attack. To see my tips, just


  • Try to stop it before it even starts. If you feel your stress level flare and your heart start to work overtime, take five or ten minutes to clear your head.
  • Remind yourself that you are safe. Your mind is playing a trick on your body by convincing it that there’s something to be fearful of, so you have to talk your body out of it.
  • Realize that it will pass. A panic attack has the tendency to feel unending, but in reality, they usually last only a few minutes. No matter how scared you might feel, don't let yourself forget that those feelings will soon disappear.
  • One of the most distinct sensations a panic attack causes is a sudden loss of control. As this sensation washes over you, ground yourself by reaching out and touching the things around you. It sounds strange but using the sensations of touch can help bring you out of your head.
  • Fear of embarrassing yourself in an episode can often make one worse, so if you’re in a public situation, remove yourself. Go somewhere quiet where you can catch your breath without worry of being noticed. That said don’t be afraid to tell someone what’s going on with you. Sometimes being around another person can be a comfort.
  • Finally, focus on your breathing. Panicked breathing typically takes place in the chest, so move it to your stomach. Place your hand on your stomach and consciously take deep breaths in until your belly is extended. Exhale slowly and repeat.

Panic attacks are terrifying but the more you learn to get through them, the easier they will be to manage.


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