Strategies for Coping with Panic

A panic  attack is a sudden onset of extreme anxiety and fear. They are terrifying and can happen without warning or reason. Symptoms can vary tremendously and may include; Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy, a pounding heart, tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers, sweating, breathing difficulties or chest pains, as well as a feeling of extreme fear and loss of control. These symptoms are powerful and dramatic and are caused by your body going into “fight or flight” mode, which is the instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly(fight) or to run away(flight). If you were in actual danger, the fight or flight response would kick in to help. For example; if you were crossing the road and a huge lorry came racing towards you, your heartbeat would accelerate, you would breathe faster, and your body would become tense and ready to take action.

The same thing is happening when we experience a panic attack, the brain is sending the fight or flight response message out at the wrong time when we are not in actual danger and nothing bad is going to happen.

Distraction Techniques for Panic & Anxiety

End a Panic Attack Quickly with these 4 Steps


  1. FOCUS: Feel your feet flat on the floor. Recognise and name three things you see around you.
  2. BREATH: Check that you are breathing through your nose, slowly in and out to the count of four.
  3. ACCEPT: You are doing fine, this is just a bunch of symptoms caused by adrenaline. The adrenaline will soon start to decrease.
  4. RELAX: Concentrate on dropping your shoulders as you breathe out.

Tips on Preventing a Panic Attack


When you feel the initial fear rising:


  1. Drop your shoulders down a notch or two and relax as much as you can.  Do the breathing technique (breathing through the Diaphragm)
  2. Don’t fight the feelings, wait, give them time to pass, don’t run away. The quicker you accept that what you are experiencing is just a bunch of symptoms, the quicker they will reduce.
  3. Try and accept that your mind is playing tricks on you. No harm is going to come to you.
  4. Remember the feelings and symptoms are normal reactions to stress and anxiety.
  5.  Don’t add on frightening thoughts like ‘What if………..’ or thinking the worst will happen.
  6. Remember that Panic attacks can be reduced and even overcome if we deal with them properly.
  7. Remember that you will NOT faint, collapse, have a heart attack or die from a panic attack.
  8. Watch the No Panic correct breathing animation:
  9. Understand that you are not in actual danger, you have just misinterpreted the situation
  10. Tell yourself how well you are doing.  It is a great achievement

You might like to take a look at the No Panic YouTube channel where we have different videos on Panic and panic attacks: No Panic’s YouTube Channel

How can No Panic help?
No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services include:
Providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.
Our aim is to give you all of the necessary advice, tools and support that you will need to recover and carry out this journey. No Panic Recovery Programs

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8 thoughts on “Strategies for Coping with Panic”

  1. I feel anxious all day and mostly of a night I am on alsorts of medication it seems to be when I’m drifting of to sleep I start to panic my mind goes fuzzy and I have to gasp for air I’m so scared to sleep and I can’t go on in life feeling like this I have 3 children am 30 and I’ve never had this before I feel like my doctor is just shoving me off with medication that isn’t working am trying breathing techniques and stuff but not getting any were am really worried something else is wrong but my doctors haven’t even tested me for anything else feel like no one is listening but it’s taking over my life

    1. I empathise with you. I had panic attacks whilst driving and generalised anxiety after having my daughter. Childbirth is a trauma although we don’t really recognise this in the UK. My daughter didn’t sleep and I was up pretty much 24/7. I got so physically exhausted that it started affecting my mental help. I think this is really common in women who have small children but it isn’t acknowledged in the medical profession

      My ways forward were changing my diet and having protein with every meal. Paul McKenna’s I can make you sleep book. Breathing practices and mindfulness.

      I wish you the best for sorting this out. It will pass, it is only a temporary state.

      1. Thank you for your great suggestions Lara. Tiredness can be a huge trigger for anxiety.

  2. Hello. I bypassed my doctor. I asked a nurse for help. She gave me a phone number of the local phycological therapist. I made an appointment to speak to them personally then she put me onto “silver loud” an on-line therapy which helped greatly which is through the NHS. You can find details on-line. Hope this helps.

  3. I have panic attacks quite often. A friend gave me the best advice for worrying about sleep. Always take a drink of water with you to bed. If you start to panic, sip the water. The reason is, you can not die if you are drinking. A panic attack wont kill you, we already hear this each time we talk to the GP. The water just proves that theory really. It helps me, often …. hope it helps someone else too.

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