Panic attacks: self Help Tips


Things to do to help yourself with your panic attacks

 Care for your physical body

Panic attacks may be a part of panic disorder, or other anxiety disorders. It may be important for you to be seen by a doctor first to ensure that you do not have a physical illness.

1. Panic attacks are composed of physical symptoms that often mimic physical illness. It’s important for you to get a physical exam if you are suffering from panic attacks.

2. Discuss with your doctor that you are aware of the medical conditions that may be related to panic attacks and request that those issues be checked. They include:

  • hypoglycemia
  • pheochromocytoma 
  • hyperthyroidism.

Ask for assurance that there is not a physical contributor to your panic

3. If you don’t have an exercise regimen get one. The effects of exercise on anxiety and depression are well documented.

4. Monitor your caffeine intake. Excessive caffeine intake can contribute to panic attacks.

5. Monitor your alcohol intake.

6. Learn to recognize anxiety in your body. Anxiety is stored in your body in ways you may be unaware of. Often, your body will tell you are anxious before you even know

Be mindful of  your thoughts

1. Recognize your thoughts. There are several components to panic attacks but your thoughts are a large contributor. It is likely that if you are having a panic attack, there are thoughts that are driving this attack in the moment. Some thoughts that clients have told me contribute to their panic attacks are “I’m out of control”,” I’m going to die”, ” I can’t handle this. “

2. Make yourself a list of reassurances that can help you when you are having a panic attack.

For example:

  • “I’m just having a panic attack it’s not a real heart attack”
  • I’ve been checked out by a professional”
  • I’m not going to die, this will pass”.

3. Share this list with your friends and loved ones or post the list somewhere you can see it when you need it. If your attacks happen outside of the house, make yourself a wallet sized card with these thoughts.

Tend to your Mind

1. Practice and learn about mindfulness, which is the art of experiencing the moment by stopping yourself from focusing on the past and future. Surprisingly if you try this, you will realize you cannot worry if you are in the moment.

2. Learn to meditate. Meditation creates a space between your thoughts feelings and behaviors. It provides us with a greater sense of self control, connection with our body, and a space between our thoughts and behaviors.

3. Realize that your thoughts are not necessarily true. Just because we have a thought does not mean we have to believe it. Remember, panic is not danger it's just discomfort. 

Self Help through Lifestyle changes

1. Live your life in a way that confronts real issues. Pretending issues and emotions are not there, or avoiding things that need to be dealt with, is never a healthy way to solve problems.

2. Learn new coping skills. If you have a great deal of stress and not very good coping skills, you can create the conditions in your body that make a panic attack more likely!

3. Learn to think positively. Our perception of the events in our environment is what determines our reaction.

4. Reduce your stress level by making good choices about your stress. Sometimes we are unwilling to do the things we need to do to reduce our stress.

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Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.