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Wellbeing Wednesday - panic attacks

Wellbeing Wednesday - panic attacks

30 August 2023


Panic attacks begin all of a sudden without giving any warning. They can strike at any time and may have occasional or frequent attacks.

Here are some self-help resources to help when experiencing panic attacks.

What to do during a panic attack:

  • try not to fight what you are feeling 

Some people find success in distracting themselves by counting the things they see, naming their feelings out loud, chewing gum, or slowly dancing around the room.

  • control your breathing

An example of breathing control is slow breathing:

Breathe in slowly, counting silently to yourself: 1…2…3…4…5…

Hold your breath for a moment

Breathe out slowly, counting silently to yourself: 1…2…3…4…5…

  • challenge your fear

Try to be aware of what you are thinking and see if you can challenge these fears. Ask yourself:

“Given what I now know about panic, and a recent medical check-up has ruled out any physical explanations, am I really having a heart attack, stroke, or being irrational? Is what I fear actually occurring, or is it more likely these symptoms are part of my anxiety response?”

“What do I know from my past experience with panic attacks? Have I had these feelings before and did they kill me, or did they turn out to be a panic attack?”

“If someone I know was experiencing these symptoms, what would I say to them to reassure them these are just anxiety symptoms?”

  • give yourself time

Try not to rush yourself through the panic attack.

Some people find it helpful to think of panic as similar to ‘surfing a wave’ – it builds up, peaks, and then washes up on the beach. When you are ready, simply go back to what you were doing.

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selectability acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we provide services and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge those with lived experience and those who support and partner with us to improve mental wellbeing and prevent suicide across regional Queensland.

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