Have you ever felt a surge of overwhelming panic? Feeling of losing control or going crazy? Heart palpitations or chest pain? Feeling like you're going to pass out?

Animation of face in panic

If you experience these feelings, you might be experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.

Follow a few simple tips that can help calm you down during one of these episodes.

Flaticon Icon

Tip #1: Focus On Your Breathing

Many symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks have to do with heart and breathing rates. In fact, hyperventilating is a common sign that, if not addressed, can further worsen your attack.

Animation showing breathing pattern: inhale, pause, exhale

One of the best ways to calm your anxiety or panic attack is to focus on your breathing. It can be the first thing you try to do when faced with a stressful situation.

Try:

Take a deep breath in, holding it for about 5 seconds, before slowly letting it out. Repeat this method until you can feel yourself calming down.

Flaticon Icon

Try:

Diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. This technique can help you relax by reducing your blood pressure and heart rate.

Flaticon Icon

Tip #2: Start Counting

Another tip that can help you calm down from anxiety or panic attacks is counting. It can help distract you mentally.

Man doing breath work exercise with one hand while holding up the other hand for a count of four.

Try:

  • Count from 1 to 10 out of order.

  • Combine counting with the breathing exercise like counting "1" on the inhale, "2" on the exhale, "3" on the inhale, and so on.

  • Something more challenging, like counting backward from 100 by threes.

Flaticon Icon

Tip #3: Practice Grounding

Grounding or Earthing is an effective way to calm anxiety and panic attacks. In this method, you identify objects around you to help your brain recognize your surroundings. This creates a sense of comfort because you know where you are and you feel more in control of the situation. 

An animated girl meditating

There are many ways you can practice this technique.

Try:

Flaticon Icon

The most common grounding technique is the 54321 method. In this method, you identify:

  • 5 things you can see

  • 4 things you can feel

  • 3 things you can hear

  • 2 things you can smell

  • 1 thing you can taste

Flaticon Icon

Another grounding technique is playing a quick game of asking yourself a question that has difficult or several answers like:

  • Name as many capital cities as you can

  • Name as many pet breeds as you can

  • Name as many movies as you can

  • Recite the alphabet backward

  • Practice simple multiplication tables

Quiz

You're about to start a history exam when you suddenly feel a panic attack coming on. Which techniques can help you ground yourself? Select all that apply.

Tip #4: Get Moving

A physical activity, like exercising, can help you blow off steam and burn off excess energy that might have been created through anxiety or panic attacks.

Animation of legs and feet walking

If you can manage to do so, get yourself up and do some light exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything intense. It can even just be walking or stretching, which can help you clear your mind and not have racing thoughts anymore. Exercising can cause your body to release endorphins, which are natural “feel-good” hormones.

Flaticon Icon

💡 Being active will have a positive impact on your psychological health. Explore different activities to get moving.

Quiz

Your friend is experiencing anxiety attacks. Which of the following would you suggest her to do? Select all that apply.

Take Action

an animation of a person breathing in and breathing out.

The next time that you feel an anxiety or panic attack coming, try one of the techniques from this Byte to ease your symptoms.

If you're having difficulty managing your symptoms, talk to a medical professional to discuss different treatment options.

Check out these Bytes to learn more about managing panic and anxiety attacks:

License:

Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

I feel confident that I can apply what I learned.

I would recommend this Byte.

Connect with Rumie learners

Browse more content and join a supportive community!


- Discord Member

This Byte has been authored by

MP

Manny Paysan

Learning and Development Practitioner