Three Strategies to Manage Panic Attacks

A panic attack can be a very scary experience. The physical symptoms, which might include hyperventilation, shaking, sweating, chest pain, and nausea, can be so intense that you might believe you are at risk of a heart attack or even dying. Having a few strategies in place to help you deal with a panic attack can be very helpful. Use these three strategies to help manage your anxiety when having a panic attack.

  • Go with it – Trying to fight your anxiety while a panic attack is going on will not help. A more effective way of getting through a panic attack is to acknowledge what you are feeling and that those feelings will pass.
  • Reconnect with your body – Panic attacks can make you feel like you’re not in control of yourself. One way to reconnect with your body during an a panic attack is to use your sense of touch. Feel your toes move in your shoes or touch a rub a piece of your clothing in between your fingers. Also, be sure to practice deep breathing to reconnect with your breath.
  • Use your whole brain – During a panic attack, you lose control of the part of your brain that is responsible for the fight-or-flight response. To regain control, engage your whole brain. Talk yourself through the situation or do tasks that require cognitive skills.

 

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Three Strategies to Manage Panic Attacks

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Lucy Nguyen

Lucy Nguyen, LMFT
Medical Reviewer

Lucy Nguyen is the Executive Director at Paradigm Treatment, overseeing all clinical treatment programs across the organization's southwestern region. Her extensive experience includes working with young adults in private practice, serving as a therapist for children and teens with emotional and behavioral needs, and acting as a behavior interventionist for teens with developmental disorders. Lucy integrates cognitive-behavioral approaches with mindfulness and compassion in her work, and she is also EMDR-trained. She holds a Master of Science in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine.

A panic attack can be a very scary experience. The physical symptoms, which might include hyperventilation, shaking, sweating, chest pain, and nausea, can be so intense that you might believe you are at risk of a heart attack or even dying. Having a few strategies in place to help you deal with a panic attack can be very helpful. Use these three strategies to help manage your anxiety when having a panic attack.

  • Go with it - Trying to fight your anxiety while a panic attack is going on will not help. A more effective way of getting through a panic attack is to acknowledge what you are feeling and that those feelings will pass.
  • Reconnect with your body - Panic attacks can make you feel like you're not in control of yourself. One way to reconnect with your body during an a panic attack is to use your sense of touch. Feel your toes move in your shoes or touch a rub a piece of your clothing in between your fingers. Also, be sure to practice deep breathing to reconnect with your breath.
  • Use your whole brain - During a panic attack, you lose control of the part of your brain that is responsible for the fight-or-flight response. To regain control, engage your whole brain. Talk yourself through the situation or do tasks that require cognitive skills.

 

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