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How to calm down during a panic attack

How to calm down during a panic attack

March 1, 2021

Everyone experiences, to a greater or lesser extent, what we know as anxiety. This state of psychological and physiological activation often goes hand in hand with a very significant discomfort, as well as feeling of alertness or fear even if there is nothing close that constitutes a real danger .

However, there are those who, in addition to feeling anxiety in complex and demanding day-to-day contexts (such as before an exam), experience panic attacks relatively frequently. If feeling anxiety is normal, going through these attacks is not so much anymore, since these are qualitatively differentiated experiences of what can happen to us when we notice that the day is going uphill.


In this article we will see how to regain control and calm down during a panic attack , although it is difficult to find a "cure instantly" and much of the success or failure of this task will depend on the situation in which we find ourselves. But first, let's start with the basics.

  • Related article: "7 techniques and tips to reduce anxiety"

What is a panic attack?

This phenomenon has different dimensions. In its psychological aspect, a panic attack supposes the experimentation of an intense fear emerged suddenly , and many times without there being a clear trigger or with a rather diffuse one. For example, it may appear when hiking through a place where there are many thorny shrubs on the sides of the path, even though it is relatively complicated to prick with them.


Panic attacks they usually have a purely emotional root , alien to logic, although it is not always so and real dangers can trigger them. These crises usually last a few minutes, although they can sometimes go on for an hour or more. Its basic symptoms are the following:

  • Dizziness .
  • Sickness.
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Difficulty breathing normally.
  • Pulse acceleration .
  • Tremors and numbness of the muscles.
  • Thoughts associated with fear.

Thus, panic attacks are similar to what would happen if we released all the anxiety stored for days and had it affect us in a concentrated way in a few minutes, especially during the first five. On the other hand, on many occasions the appearance of these episodes is unpredictable, among other things because their initiation does not even depend on whether we are thinking something that is stressful for us.


What to do during a panic attack?

To manage the panic attack in the best possible way and calm down again as soon as possible, follow the guidelines that you will see below.

1. If you can, find a quiet place nearby

It is good to look for a quiet place, since avoid exposure to very overloaded stimulus environments can fuel panic . However, it is very important that you look for that space of relative calm in the closest places you are, a few meters away.

If you intend to move more, for example, by changing the floor plan of the building you are in or going to a park, this can become a flight. Which brings us to the next tip.

2. Do not run

Fleeing only confirms the mental framework in which you are experiencing the panic, as it reminds you that there is something you should try to get away from. That means that, if you move a lot, it is very easy to transform that simple transfer into a hasty retreat , which at the same time feeds the fear that the situation that affects you can follow you (yes, even if what gives you panic is not something material or is very diffuse).

  • Maybe you're interested: "Types of stress and its triggers"

3. Do not look for complex mental distractions

Imposing the task of thinking about very complex things will only frustrate you, since, as you are going through a crisis of panic, you will not be able to do it, giving you more reasons to worry.

That is, if you feel the symptoms of a crisis of these characteristics begin to try to remember which were the Goth Kings of the Iberian Peninsula, or intend to rehearse an imaginary conversation, failure will remind you again and again that is happening something serious enough to sneak through all your mental processes .

4. Adopt a very passive attitude

To calm down during an anxiety crisis, it is best to stay in something like "hibernation": not concentrate on anything in particular, or attend to anything that happens around us. Assuming that the main problem is the panic attack itself and not a real danger located nearby, the desirable thing is to ignore everything and let the experience pass by itself , just like a skier would do when he notices that underneath has an ice shelf.

One help to achieve this is to stop focusing the gaze and, afterwards, mentally repeat a very simple word, but without attending to whether we do it well or not.


How to Calm Down When Panicking : Psychology & Mental Health (March 2021).


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