How to Stop a Panic Attack in under 5 min
7 Battle-Tested Tips that will end an anxiety attack fast
If you have ever felt a sudden rush of anxiety and worry, and experienced the symptoms of terror listed below, then you were most likely experiencing a panic attack, also called anxiety attack.
For some it may feel like a heart attack, like they are going to die, others may experience breathing difficulties and feel they may be passing out or even suffocate.
How Do You Know If You Are Having a Panic Attack?
Here are the typical signs and symptoms of a panic attack (also called an anxiety attack):
The Symptoms May Be Similar to That of a Heart Attack
If you are experiencing the symptoms above for the first time and are not sure what it is, by all means, go to the emergency room right away and have it checked out.
Rule out a heart attack before you assume it’s "just" a panic attack, especially if the tips below do not work!
Many people mistake the symptoms of a panic attack with a heart attack since they are very similar, right up to the chest pains and dizziness.
The problem with this is that even if you know you are having a panic attack, you have an intense worry that your worrying could lead to a heart attack, which then worsens the symptoms of the panic attack, making you feel like it is leading to a heart attack. The circle can continue unless you are able to put a stop to it.
How to Stop a Panic Attack in Under 5 Min
Please understand that not every method will work for everybody; and you might find other coping mechanisms that work better for you. These are simply suggestions based on a combination of tips that I found helpful for myself and from working with many clients having panic attacks.
Control Your Breathing
Deep belly breathing calms anxiety fast and you can do it anywhere. Here is how to do it right: Breathe in slowly into your belly on the count of 3 or 4, hold for a second, then exhale slowly twice as long, to the count of 6 or 8. Do this 5 times. You will feel calmer immediately. This type of deep belly breathing calms your brain.
If you tend to breathe heavy, too deep and too fast and get dizzy and anxious that way, take a paper bag and breathe in it for a few minutes. This will calm down the breathing and help you regain control.
Here you can find a video where my mentor, Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen MD, teaches this Breathing: https://youtu.be/0NOa8WdbDdE
GABA (Gamma-Amino-Butyric Acid) is a natural neurotransmitter, i.e. a substance that your brain naturally uses to calm you down.
To stop a panic attack fast, take 1000-1200 mg (2 cps of 500 or 600mg each), but instead of just swallowing them (which takes 30-60 min to work), take the capsules apart and add the powder under your tongue. This works within 15-30 seconds as the GABA reaches your brain directly with the bloodstream.
Get both here:
L-Theanine is another natural substance found, among others, in green tea. It comes in chewable form or capsules.
It works differently for different people but tends to calm you down and help you focus at the same time. It’s not as potent in my experience as GABA in an acute anxiety attack, but it is worth trying as a secondary relief and to calm down anxiety that bothers you every day.
Get both here:
Havening Techniques® are psycho-sensory techniques rooted in neuroscience. Havening means putting you in a safe haven, and it literally does that. In my experience as a Certified Havening Techniques® Practitioner, it works within a few minutes to calm anxiety and end panic attacks.
Here is a video where I show you the process:
Do Some Intense Exercises
Intense Exercise, like the Nitric Oxide Dump (like this one by Dr. Zach Busch: https://youtu.be/PwJCJToQmps) can remove the excess adrenaline from your system and also help you focus on something else.
If you don’t remember the Nitric Oxide Dump, just a few intensely done deep squats can often be good enough to help.
Just Say "NO!" or "STOP!"
Coping words and statements can be very helpful for someone with a panic attack, especially early on, when you start experiencing the first symptoms.
If you are someone with an anxiety disorder that leads to frequent panic attacks, it can be helpful to come up with a coping word or phrase that you use as soon as you feel the wave of anxiety coming on. It is meant to get you back to reality and let you understand it is a panic attack your mind has created, not a stroke or a heart attack. Many people will shout the word NO or STOP, while others tell themselves it will be okay, that this is no real danger.
Count Backwards From 100
When you are mid-panic attack, saying the coping phrase might not work at this point.
Then it may help to focus on something like counting backwards from 100.
And if you tend to be good at math, make it more difficult: For example, subtract 7’s from 100 and so on…
Many of these tips have one thing in common: They serve to distract yourself and help you to focus on something less anxiety-provoking.
In the long run, find something that will distract you from the worried thoughts and feelings, whether that is listening to music, watching a movie or television show, (and no, not the news channel! These tend to be even more anxiety provoking!) - or talking to someone friendly on the phone.
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