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5 Effective Coping Strategies for Panic Attacks

Panic episodes are difficult and solitary. Extreme dread and bodily sensations can overwhelm and overpower people. Panic attacks may interrupt daily living, hurt relationships, and make people fear the next episode. Panic attack sufferers should know there is hope and treatment. Panic attacks are abrupt periods of severe anxiety with many uncomfortable symptoms. Rapid pulse, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, disorientation, trembling, sweating, and a sensation of impending doom are common symptoms. Unexpected panic episodes can make people feel powerless. Panic attacks can occur in people without anxiety problems, too.

Support is essential for panic attack sufferers. Panic attacks can be managed with good coping methods and expert support. This article discusses five effective panic attack coping tactics. These methods have been shown to empower and calm panickers. These approaches can help you restore stability, minimize panic episodes, and enhance your well-being. Deep breathing is the initial coping method. Deep breathing reduces tension and relaxes. Slow, deep breaths calm racing hearts, restore oxygen flow, and reduce panic attack symptoms.

Progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) helps too. Muscle strain and tightness during panic attacks increase discomfort. PMR relaxes the body by systematically tensing and releasing muscle groups. CBT is a proven treatment for panic attacks. CBT helps people recognize and change panic-causing thoughts and behaviors. A professional therapist can help people build coping mechanisms, reframe their thinking, and desensitize themselves to triggers to achieve control over panic episodes.

Grounding practices help with panic attacks too. Disconnection during an episode might exacerbate anxiety. Engaging the senses and diverting focus from terror helps people ground. Grounding methods include recognizing things, repeating a mantra, or doing sensory activities like coloring or listening to relaxing music. Finally, lifestyle changes can greatly reduce panic episodes. Getting adequate sleep, eating healthily, and exercising can boost resilience and well-being. Caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs can also worsen anxiety.

What is a panic attack?

Panic attacks are abrupt, severe episodes of dread or discomfort that last several minutes. It causes a sudden onset of debilitating physical and psychological problems. Panic attacks can happen spontaneously or in response to certain triggers.

 Panic attacks can cause physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Rapid heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, perspiration, trembling or shaking, and a feeling of choking or suffocation are physical symptoms. Detachment from reality, approaching doom, dread of losing control, or going mad may also occur. Panic attacks might feel like heart attacks. This can increase attack-related anxiety. However, panic episodes do not cause long-term bodily injury.

Panic episodes can severely impair daily living. Avoiding circumstances or locations because of the dread of another assault might affect social and vocational functioning. Panic disorder involves recurring panic episodes and continuous concern about future attacks. Panic attacks should be treated by a specialist. A doctor or mental health expert can diagnose, treat, and assist people to cope with panic attacks and improve their health.

5 Effective Coping Strategies for Panic Attacks:

1. Deep Breathing Techniques:

Deep breathing helps calm panic episodes. Panic attacks trigger the stress response, causing fast breathing and pulse rate. Deep breathing helps soothe these physiological reactions. Let’s look at several panic-attack-friendly deep breathing techniques:

Diaphragmatic Breathing:

Deep breathing using the diaphragm is called belly breathing. Steps to diaphragmatic breathing:

  1. Sit or lie down.
  2. Place your hands on your chest and abdomen.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nostrils, raising your abdomen.
  4. Slowly exhale, letting your abdomen sink.
  5. Take deep, slow breaths, focusing on your abdomen.

4-7-8 Breathing Technique: 

This easy technique calms the mind and body. Try it:

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose for four counts.
  2. Hold your breath for seven counts.
  3. Slowly exhale, counting to eight.
  4. Repeat for four to six breaths or until comfortable.

Box breathing: 

Equalizing breath length creates a consistent, relaxing pattern. Box breathing:

  1. Take four calm breaths through your nose.
  2. Hold your breath for four counts.
  3. Slowly exhale for four counts.
  4. Pause for four breaths before starting again.
  5. Keep breathing evenly and rhythmically for many minutes.

Visualization Breathing: 

Deep breathing with imagination. Visualize breathing tranquility and expelling tension and worry. Imagine a quiet beach or forest and breathe in serenity as you exhale.

Even when you’re not panicking, deep breathing may help you feel in control of your breath and emotions. These methods help avoid anxiety and panic episodes. Ask a mental health expert how to include deep breathing into your coping approach. You may manage your symptoms and recover calm by practicing deep breathing regularly and during panic episodes.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR):

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) includes systematically tensing and relaxing muscle units. PMR relaxes muscles and reduces panic attack symptoms. Practise Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

Find a peaceful place:

Find a peaceful place to practice PMR. It might be a peaceful room at home or another comfortable area.

Deep breathing:

Take a few slow, deep breaths to relax and prepare for the relaxation practice. Inhale deeply through your nostrils and expel any tension or stress.

Tense and release individual muscle groups:

Focus on one muscle group at a time, tensing it for a few seconds and then releasing it. From your feet to your head, start. A proposed order:

  1. Feet: Curl your toes firmly for a few seconds, then release and relax.
  2. Calves and thighs: Pull your toes towards your shins to tense your calves, then relax. Press your knees together to tighten your thighs, then relax.
  3. Buttocks: Squeeze strongly, hold, then release to relax the muscles.
  4. Abdomen: Pull your belly button towards your spine, hold, and release.
  5. Hands and arms: Squeeze your fist and release. Hold and release your biceps with straight arms.
  6. Shoulders: Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, hold them, then let them drop to release tension.
  7. Neck: Gently tilt your head back to stretch your neck muscles, hold, and relax before returning to a neutral posture.
  8. Face: Close your eyes and clench your jaw, then release to relax your facial muscles.

Focus on the sensations:

Focus on feelings as you tighten and relax each muscle group. Contrast tension with relaxation. Relax any stress and enjoy the relaxation.

Proceed again:

Repeat the routine until you’ve worked all your muscles. Relax and breathe deeply during the activity.

End with relaxation:

After tension and release for all muscle groups, relax your body. Breathe deeply and enjoy your tranquility.

PMR trains your body and mind to recognize and release stress, boosting relaxation and minimizing panic attack symptoms. Use PMR every day or as a coping method for anxiety or panic. PMR can help you manage panic attacks alongside other methods and expert advice.

Read Also: 6 Simple Techniques for Controlling Anger in Just 5 Seconds

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a proven treatment for panic attacks and other mental health issues. CBT helps panic attack sufferers recognize and change problematic thinking patterns and behaviors. Therapists can help clients confront erroneous thinking, establish appropriate coping mechanisms, and eventually desensitize them to stimuli. CBT for panic attacks:

Identifying negative thinking patterns:

CBT helps people discover the cognitive distortions that cause panic episodes. These include catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, and personalizing. Once conscious, people may challenge and reframe these tendencies.

Challenging illogical thoughts:

CBT challenges negative thinking patterns to determine their correctness and reasonableness. Therapists help clients evaluate their evidence and adopt more balanced interpretations of circumstances. This method improves perspective and lessens anxiety.

Developing coping strategies:

CBT teaches panic attack management skills. Relaxation methods including deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, cognitive restructuring (changing negative beliefs with more positive and realistic ones), and problem-solving skills (identifying and addressing stresses) may be used. Practise helps people handle panic-inducing circumstances better.

Gradual exposure and desensitization:

Panic attack CBT relies on exposure treatment. It entails gradually exposing people to panic attack triggers, starting with less anxiety-provoking scenarios and moving to more difficult ones. This technique helps people overcome their concerns in a safe, supportive setting, reducing avoidance behaviors that sustain panic symptoms.

Homework and self-monitoring:

CBT uses homework and self-monitoring to reinforce learning and track progress. Recording thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during panic attacks and practicing coping methods outside of treatment may be required. Active involvement allows people to take charge of their rehabilitation.

The therapist and client work together to create goals and methods for CBT. Individuals and panic attacks determine therapy length. CBT for panic attacks works best with a mental health professional. CBT-trained therapists can help patients and customize treatment. CBT-trained therapists can help you manage panic episodes.

4. Grounding Techniques:

Grounding practices can help panic attack sufferers relax and refocus. During a panic attack, one may feel disoriented and overwhelmed by disturbing thoughts and feelings. Grounding strategies calm and distract from terror. Grounding techniques:

Method: Observe:

  • 5 visible objects.
  • 4 tactile items.
  • 3 environmental sounds.
  • Smell two things.
  • Taste one thing.

Mindful Breathing:

Focus on your breath, feeling each inhale and exhale. Notice your chest rising and falling or your nostrils breathing. You may relax your nervous system by focusing on your breath and regulating your breathing.

Grounding Objects: 

Keep a smooth stone or stress ball in your pocket or handbag. Take it out and focus on its texture, shape, and weight when overwhelmed. Physical contact may ground and stabilize.

Body Scan: 

Breathe deeply and close your eyes. Slowly assess your body for tension or pain. When you notice these feelings, relax in those places. This approach helps you relax and stay present.

Name and Describe: 

Silently name and describe items around you. Say to yourself, “I see a blue chair with wooden legs” or “I see a painting with vibrant colors.” This exercise helps keep your mind off the panic.

Counting or Mental Math:

Counting backward from 100 or other mental math activities can engage your mind. Reciting multiplication tables or subtracting a certain amount might distract you from terror.


Stretch, stroll, or tap your feet. As you move, focus on your feet touching the floor or your muscles expanding and contracting. Physical activity helps you focus and feel stable.

It’s important to try several grounding methods to discover one that works for you. Even when you’re not panicking, practice these tactics to improve your capacity to stay calm. Seek mental health care if panic episodes persist or interfere with your everyday life. They can provide customized instruction and help.

5. Lifestyle Modifications:

Lifestyle changes can help manage and reduce panic episodes. These modifications may not prevent panic episodes, but they can improve well-being and resilience. Some positive lifestyle changes:

Stress Management:

Stress can cause panic attacks, thus managing it every day is crucial. Meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and mindfulness can reduce stress. Hobbies, outdoors, and relaxation can reduce stress and increase emotional well-being.

Regular Exercise:

Regular exercise reduces anxiety and improves mental wellness. Brisk walking, running, swimming, and cycling produce endorphins, which increase mood. Most days, exercise moderately for 30 minutes. Before exercising, see your doctor.

Healthy Sleep Habits:

Sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Consistently go to bed and wake up at the same hour. Create a calming nighttime ritual, limit electronic device use before bed, and make your sleep environment comfortable and peaceful. Consult a doctor for sleep issues.

Balanced Diet:

Eating correctly helps improve brain function and general health. Caffeine, alcohol, and processed meals can worsen anxiety. Eat entire foods including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats. Drink enough water daily.

Limiting Stimulants:

Caffeine and nicotine can cause anxiety and panic episodes in certain people. Reduce or quit these drugs. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas contain caffeine. Quit smoking or get treatment if you do.

Supportive Social Connections:

Having good friends and family can improve mental health. Surround yourself with emotionally sympathetic people. Join support groups or therapy to connect with people who understand.

Time Management and Prioritization:

Overwhelmed and overbooked schedules can cause tension and worry. Prioritize, create goals, and delegate to manage time. Time management helps lessen stress and panic attacks.

Lifestyle changes may not immediately relieve panic episodes. If prescribed by a healthcare physician, they should be used in conjunction with treatment or medicine to manage anxiety. Finding the right lifestyle changes for you is important since everyone is different.


In conclusion, panic attacks can be terrifying, but there are ways to cope. These tactics can help you manage panic episodes and gain control. Always visit a doctor or therapist for tailored advice.

Deep breathing helps calm panic episodes. PMR calms and relaxes muscles. CBT can help identify and challenge panic attack-related negative thinking patterns, provide practical coping techniques and gradually expose triggers. Grounding tactics assist stabilize and distract from terror. Stress management, regular exercise, sound sleep habits, a balanced diet, minimizing stimulants, establishing supportive social relationships, and efficient time management can improve well-being and resilience.

Individuals can construct a complete panic attack toolbox by including these coping tactics and lifestyle changes. It takes time to overcome panic episodes, so be fair to yourself. With assistance, self-care, and patience, you can manage panic attacks and live a happy, balanced life. For a complete panic attack management plan, consult a doctor or therapist. You may overcome panic attacks with the appropriate tactics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS):

  1. Panic attacks?

Panic attacks are abrupt, severe dread or discomfort with physical and cognitive symptoms. It can resemble a heart attack or other dangerous medical disorders and peak within minutes.

  1. What are typical panic attack symptoms?

Rapid heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, perspiration, trembling or shaking, thoughts of impending doom, and fear of losing control or going insane are common symptoms.

  1. Panic attacks—why?

Genetics, stress, physical issues, and life events can induce panic attacks. They can also happen spontaneously.

  1. Panic attacks: preventable?

Manage stress, relax, and treat anxiety disorders to decrease panic attacks.

  1. Panic attacks—dangerous?

Panic episodes are harmless. They might be upsetting and affect a person’s quality of life. It’s crucial to rule out medical illnesses that mirror panic attack symptoms.

  1. Panic episodes normally last for how long?

Panic episodes peak in 10-15 minutes and fade in 20-30. However, tiredness and uneasiness may last longer.

  1. Panic attacks in kids?

Children and teens can have panic attacks. The symptoms might be misdiagnosed. If your child has panic episodes, get them evaluated.

  1. Anxiety and panic attacks—what’s the difference?

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are different. Anxiety episodes are longer and caused by specific stressors or anxieties, whereas panic attacks are immediate, powerful, and peak quickly.

  1. Panic attacks: treatable?

Panic episodes are treatable. CBT, medicine, or both may be used for treatment. Diagnosis and treatment require expert assistance.

  1. Lifestyle modifications for panic attacks?

Lifestyle adjustments can reduce panic episodes. Exercise, stress management, good sleep habits, and a balanced diet can improve well-being and minimize anxiety.

  1. Should I avoid panic-inducing situations?

Avoiding events that cause panic attacks may help temporarily, but it might perpetuate avoidance and worsen anxiety. A therapist-guided gradual exposure to panic triggers is generally more helpful.

  1. Panic attack medications?

SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers can assist treat panic episodes. Discuss medicine with a doctor.

  1. Panic attacks—weakness?

Panic episodes are not weaknesses. Panic attacks may impact everyone. Seeking support shows strength and self-care.

  1. Are panic episodes self-limiting?

Professional diagnosis and treatment are recommended for panic attacks, which may improve on their own. Treating anxiety problems can lessen panic episodes.

  1. Panic attacks—curable?

Panic episodes may be controlled and reduced. Therapy, medicine, and lifestyle changes can help people overcome panic attacks and live happy lives.


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