How to Handle a Panic Attack

Woman trying to control her ever increasing anxiety in public.

How to handle a Panic Attack

I used to have panic attacks. They’re not the end of the world.

Below I’m going to type out what I wished someone would have said to me all those years ago. It would have made a HUGE difference. It would have reduced my overall suffering substantially.

Here we go …

1- You’re okay

This won’t kill you or cause you to have a heart attack. It does feel like you’re going to die, or have something horrible happen physically, and you will believe it with every fiber in your being, but you’ll be fine. Your body will be stressed and fatigued and that’s hard, but that’s about it.

Millions of people have experienced these, and millions are fine.

This also won’t drive you crazy. Again, it feels like you are losing your mind. That’s because these panic attacks are in control, and are taking over your body. That loss of control is scary as hell and you feel like the world (your world) is coming to an end. It won’t.

These things pass and you’re okay again.

Millions of people have experienced these, and millions are fine.

Struggling against Anxiety

Don’t Fight It


2-Don’t Fight It

This (panic attack) is going to happen whether you like it or not. I know you are stressed out of your mind about them, about them taking over your life, about them striking at any time, anywhere. But they will happen nonetheless.

Important!: You will make this period of your life 10x more stressful by trying to stop them from happening, or by worrying about when they will strike next, or about their existence at all.

You will suffer much. much more.

Accept them instead.

Tell yourself that your brain is giving you this experience, and that it’s doing so for a reason (true). That yes it sucks to have to go through the discomfort and tension – and feeling like you’re going to die everyday – but the more you avoid or resist it, the stronger it gets and the more frequently it visits you.

3- Let it Run Through You

This is the way.

And you can handle it.

The next time you feel a panic attack coming on, don’t fight it or get all upset. Instead sit down quietly and use the following self talk:

“I’m okay. It’s not dangerous. I’ll be okay.”

“Breathe deeply and slowly. Slower, slower ….”

“I’m letting you (panic attack) run through me the way a storm runs through a city. Go right ahead.”


“I actually dare you to come at me harder. Do your worst.”

“I can handle you. You’re not that bad.”

Once you’ve had a few panic attacks and are able to get yourself to this point, they start to subside. You still get them but they no longer have the same intensity or frequency as before.

From here on out they start to fade over time until you realize one day that they aren’t a problem in your life anymore.

Message in a Bottle representing something of Value.

Personal Windfall

Collect your Treasure

In the movies, gold represents the treasure that the hero usually finds. Even though we all know that we’ll likely never find a treasure chest like that in our lives, we relate with the movie experience anyway.

That’s because treasure is something of value to us.

Having panic attacks is no fun but contains it’s own treasure for the purposes of our emotional growth. We need to grow emotionally in order to stop suffering in whatever form that takes; drinking, bad relationships, bitterness, despair etc…

So while you are going through your panic attack period of life, talk to them. Talk to the panic attacks by pretending they have a voice. You don’t need to be having one to be able to access them.

What you are really doing is talking to, or relating with your anxiety. Ask it:

– What is it trying to tell you?
– What are you not paying attention to in your life?
– How do you need to grow?
What are you avoiding? [Most Important]

The answers may not come right away, but emotional growth is a process and only takes a small amount of time commitment daily.

Maybe your boss has been walking all over you for the last 10 years. Maybe you can’t deal with your spouse and that inability is making your life miserable. Maybe you can’t be as honest and open with your parents as you could be with your best friend (super important to cultivate a relationship with your parents like this). Maybe you have unresolved trauma you don’t want to look at. Maybe your life sucks and you feel that you suck and you can’t look at how ugly (shameful) you are – in that case you need to work on your shame, a very difficult emotion to tolerate.

Whatever it is, your panic attacks are there to help you, as strange as that sounds.

Be glad and very very curious because it contains a message, or some information that is incredibly valuable to you.

Hold on to this time of self discovery for dear life and don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Milk it for all it’s worth.

I hope this was helpful.

I know that if I had someone tell me this almost 20 years ago it would have made all the difference in the world.

It would have been so impactful as to have changed the trajectory of my life (for the better) for the last 20 years;  much less suffering, much more joy. Twenty years, think about that.

I hope you are up for the challenge and that you join the club. The club of those of us who dared.


Confronting Anxiety and Threat

Facing Fear

*** P.S. If you’d like to reach out or have any questions for me, please feel free. You can reach me here.

*** P.S.S. Also, I’d love to hear about your experiences with panic attacks, how they started, how you felt, what you learned and how you overcame them if you did. I’d love to be able to post them here on the blog, so that we can all benefit from each other’s lessons. See the “Submit a Post” below or simply type up a few paragraphs and send it on over here.

... Submit a Post

To submit a post, click here. Post your experience with your fear of anger (FOA). The best way to help yourself and others get over your FOA is to share and connect in as many ways as you can.

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