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What to do when you are having a panic attack

Stop and be safe

If you feel you are having a panic attack, stop what your are doing. If you are driving, then you should safely pull off the roadway. Otherwise, simply stay where you are and try to wait it out. Don’t rush to get help as this will only add to your anxiety.

Calm yourself

Once you are in a safe place, try taking some deep breaths and slow down your breathing. The goal is to calm yourself to prevent from having a full-blown attack.

Think positive thoughts

Rather than focusing on the attack, try to conjure up a peaceful image, perhaps some scenic place like a beach, lake, or even a waterfall. Reassure yourself that the feeling will pass and that you aren’t in any real danger. Look for other distractions to take your mind off of the attack, such as looking at the second hand on your watch or counting from one to one hundred in your mind.

Plan what to do before the next attack

Come up with a strategy for the next time this happens. Remember how you were able to calm yourself this time and envision doing those same activities or even think of other ways to train your mind to focus on positive, calming thoughts.

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