Panic attacks are scary. When they occur the physical symptoms can become so intense that it can make you feel as if you’re losing control of your body. It’s important to interrupt a panic attack the moment you feel one coming on to prevent it from running its course. There are several good coping techniques you can use to accomplish this:
7 Ways To Interrupt Panic When It Occurs:
- Take charge: The moment you feel a panic attack coming on immediately shout the word “Stop!” inside your head. This will prevent you from replaying the same negative thoughts that usually come to you when you start feeling the physical symptoms of panic happen. This is a signal to your brain to stop the panic attack pattern before it progresses.
- Move to another location. If you’re at work and begin to panic go into the break room or an empty conference room. Sit in the new location until the panic has subsided. If you’re driving pull over to a safe area and get out of your car if possible.
- Find some water. This was always one of my best methods of relief. I found drinking cold water calmed me down instantly when I was in the grips of panic. I’ve read elsewhere that splashing your face with cold water or even running water on your hands can also help. If you’re near a freezer, holding an ice cube in your palm can distract you from the sensations of panic.
- Do some math. Seriously… it works. Grab a pen and add up any numbers you would like. Add up the ages of your family members, or your phone number, or numbers on a license plate. Doing simple math give your brain something else to focus on taking the focus off of the panic cycle.
- Use affirmations. Remind yourself that you’ve survived every panic attack before now just like you’ll survive this one. They cannot harm you. Panic attacks can only make you temporarily uncomfortable. Tell yourself “I’ve gotten through this many times before and I will be just fine again this time”.
- Play a word game. Think of five things you can buy at the grocery store that begin with the letter A. Then move on the the letter B, then C. Or you can even recite the alphabet backwards.
- Take a photo. Most of us these days carry around a ‘smart’ phone with a camera built into it. Not only does the process of aiming and shooting distract you, but the resulting photo to be a bit calming as well. It’s an accurate representation of what is in front of you — unlike the inaccurate version of how we might interpret our surroundings when we’re struggling through a panic attack.
These methods are all meant to distract your brain and interrupt panic symptoms before they get away from you. It does take some practice but keep at it and you’ll have success with these techniques.