Life Recipe: When…dealing with a panic attack

Unfortunately panic attacks are a far too common occurrence for people these days.. be it the extra pressures of life, limited job opportunities, financial debts that are just way too easy to accumulate or just the increased exposure to some of the darker things out there…you name it..

I usually try and turn a humorous spin on certain life situations, but having a panic attack is not a funny thing. Whether it is just a small sense of feeling anxious or a serious physical trauma where you have trouble breathing, any level of panic attacks that cause significant distress need to be managed before they become too frequent or severe.


– A realistic view on what is going on

– some relaxation techniques that work for you

– air in your lungs

– 30 min a day to do some form of physical activity


1) Panic attacks are a state of mind. A panic attack can be a very frightening/uncomfortable experience, but it is generally not dangerous.

2) Understand what panic is, will help you manage it better. Panic is just excess adrenaline that runs through your body when confronted with a stressful situation. Panic attacks are physiological. They are mechanisms that evolved to protect you; but now, in this moment, there is no real danger. Close your eyes for a second, take a deep breath, and rationalize your thoughts.

3) Consider your options very carefully before taking drugs. Medicine can assist with making the symptoms more manageable, but they do not make the underlying problem go away. They can also permanently alter the brain’s ability to develop its own feelings of well-being independently of drugs.

4) Let people who are close to you know you are having panic attacks. Those who don’t get panic attacks sometimes have a hard time understanding what they are; but those who care about you will have an easier time dealing with your problem if they know how you are feeling. Try to explain your situation as clearly as possible.

5) Do not try to avoid situations where panic happens. Avoidance will only ‘reinforce’ your panic and the more you avoid, the more panic the avoided situation will generate. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to imagining certain situations and how things may or may not pan out. When you do feel a panic attack coming up, don’t try to fight the feeling. Instead, let the feelings of panic come and wash over you, and it will pass soon if you let it. Focus on your breathing during challenging circumstance and just keep reminding yourself it’s just something you need to ride out at the moment. Eventually, as you teach yourself to manage the panic effectively (which does not happen overnight), the panic attacks will decrease in frequency and length.

6) Try as much as possible to slow down your breathing and relax. This should also help to ensure the right amount of oxygen gets to your brain. As a result this will help bring the anxiety or panic attack to a close more quickly.

7) Try to make an effort to do daily exercise. This does not mean you have to go sign up at the gylm right now, a simple walk will suffice..Park your car at the outer end of the parking lot and walk the extra few meters to the shops, get off one bus stop earlier and walk the rest home, take the stairs where you can etc.  As well as helping with your overall health, you will find that daily exercise will help you manage the anxiety better.

(with some helpful extracts from M. Axiom, B. Rubenstein, S.Sarutobi et all.)

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