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10 Great Tips to Stop Panic Attacks

When you're feeling anxious or stressed, these strategies will help you manage:

1          Be AWARE:  

Know that uncomfortable feeling will occur from time to time, it’s part of being human.  This AWARE acronym will help you stop panic attacks before they start:

A         Accept the Anxiety    

Go with the feeing instead of fighting it.  Fighting the feelings fuels the feelings!  You know that flight or fight is a perfectly natural response and there is nothing to be afraid of (or angry at, or scared of). Say to yourself “I notice I’m feeling anxious and the anxiety is a 7”

W        Watchful

Become the observer to watch what level of anxiety you are at.  The process of watching the anxiety will change your experience of your anxiety.   Become curious about watching the anxiety and learning what it is that you are doing and how you are doing the anxiety as a process.  Are you breathing faster / slow / held your breath?  Have you tightening your should muscles, etc.    Say to yourself: “I notice I’m feeling anxious and I notice that I’m breathing faster”. 

A         Act Normally

Behave normally, go about doing what you intend to do as if you are not anxiety.  Be the person you want to be in the face of these feelings.  Focus on breathing OUT.  Staying with the situation ‘deconditions’ the situation. 

Say to yourself: “Even though I’m feeling anxious / scared / angry I intend to complete this task” than re-focus on the task.

R         Repeat the steps

Accept, Watch and Act, repeat until the anxiety goes down

E          Expect the best

Conditioning has taught you to expect the worse, ‘deconditioning’ is about expecting the best.  The power of expectation is more powerful than you could ever imagine.  What you are looking for you usually get.  Expect the Best.

The Next Step is to re-train the unconscious mind (security gaurd) about the difference between stress and threat.  Stresses are uncomfortable, but they are not actually life threatening.

2          Scaling Panic Attacks Down:

3          Plug Into Happier Feeds: 

4          Seven Plus Or Minus Two (7+/-2)    

This is the limit of your minds capacity for processing information.  Your mind can only focus on 7 pieces of information at a time (plus or minus 2) so choose what pieces of information you choose to focus on.  Choose the useful ones – your out-breath, the feeling of air travelling in and out, the sound of the birds outside, the warmth of the air on your skin, etc.  Just like the previous example of the Sydney Opera House, doing this will allow one of the feelings you are not focused on to drop away out of your awareness. 

5          Tune Into Happiness:

Keep picturing yourself 10 minutes after the successful completion of the event and happy you will feel. For example, if going on a trip, go forward in time to 10 minutes after you successfully return home. 

6          Self Help: Disperse the energy

Work those muscles.  Adrenaline has been released into your body for flight or fight.  This energy needs to be dispersed.  Physical activity is the key.  Go for a walk, run, use a punching bag, or clean a cupboard, if it’s really extreme clean the bathroom floor for the tyres of your car, with a tooth brush!  Anything to work those muscles.

7          Drink H2O: 

If your body needs more oxygen for the arms and the legs (flight or fight response) one of the quickest ways to get more oxygen is to drink water.  Drink water!

8          Balanced Diet:

When someone is stressed, it is a natural reaction to look at junk food. But carbohydrates located predominantly in snacks also increase insulin, which can force your body tired, leaving you with a feeling of exhaustion or a bad mood. Having a balanced diet and regular meals is a good way to fight stress, and balanced levels of sugar in the body. If you spend 4-5 hours without a meal, it is very likely to turn to the junk food.

9          Avoid Stimulants Like Coffee (and other caffeine drinks): 

You may not be aware that coffee is a stimulant for the body, stimulating the adrenals amongst other things.  In flight or fight the adrenals are already being over stimulated.  Coffee will only make it worse.  Coffee is one of the worst drinks that you could drink if you are nervous and it can cause anxiety or panic attacks.  For more information on this subject, have a look at the work of Dr Mark Hyman  Try Roobis tea as an alternative.  It has no caffeine, more anti-oxydents than green tea, and you can have it with milk and sugar if that’s your preference. 

10        Get a Good Nights Sleep      

Sleep deprivation may make panic attacks worse.  A restorative sleep will include a dream phase (known as REM sleep).  This is important because when you are in REM Sleep, there is no external stimulus, so the mind focus is on de-activating the startle response (such as flight or fight) and unfulfilled expectation from the previous day's activities.  This means if you expected to have to run for your life and you didn’t have to, this expectation wasn’t fulfilled and any leftover energy from this experience gets discharged in a dream, a fraction of which is accessed by the conscious mind at the point of waking.  Restore your sleep cycle – it’s important!

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, please send them a link to this page: 10 Great Tips to Stop Panic Attacks

Next Page:    10 PLUS Great Tips to Manage Stress

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I am conveniently located in the Castle Hill area of Sydney, just 5 minutes from the Baulkham Hills exit on the M2 and 5 minutes from the Norwest exit on the M7.


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