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So, You’re Having an Anxiety Attack (The Calm-Down Method for Stopping Anxiety Attacks)

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If you’re right in the middle of an anxiety attack, this post is for you. You may feel overwhelmed or be freaking out. Maybe you’re shaking, crying, feeling sick to your stomach. Or maybe you feel irritable or like running away. I’m gonna teach you how to stop an anxiety attack by walking you through a process to calm down.

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack

Now, you’re going to be okay. These feelings will pass. You can do this. Just notice where you are. What can you feel around you? Name three things that you can touch, and describe them

So for example, say, “Oh, I can feel my pants. They’re soft. I can feel the chair. It’s cool.” Do that with three things. 

And now, can you slow down your out-breath? Just breathe out a little bit more slowly.

You are safe right now. You’re not in physical danger. You are safe.

Now, anxiety is uncomfortable, but it won’t harm you. So these feelings that you’re having, you can handle them. You can feel them and be okay, and they will pass. 

So now let’s do something sensory. Let’s help you get grounded in your senses. If you can, go wash your face in cold water or hold something cold, like an ice cube. 

Now, if that’s not an option, then I want you to just gently pat your face.

Breathe out slowly.

Notice the sensation of your hands on your cheeks, on your forehead, on your nose, on your lips, and on your chin. Just notice what that feels like. 

In this moment, here and now, you are safe. 

If you’d like, you can try giving yourself a little hug

Take a slow breath in, and if you can, breathe out slowly through your nose.

Let’s slow things down. Can you go to a quiet, safe place where there’s less stimulation? Maybe a bedroom or a bathroom. Or step outside for a breath of fresh air. Or maybe it’s with a pet or with a safe person.

If there is somewhere you can go that is quiet, safe, and calm, just stop reading for a moment while you go there.

If you can’t leave, just close your eyes for a moment and visualize that place, or pull up a picture of that place on your phone. 

My safe place is in a beautiful desert canyon early in the morning when the air is cool and crisp. This is where I go in my mind when I can’t leave the place that I’m in.

Now, again take a few slow breaths. You don’t need to force it. Your body has a natural calming response, and you can ease yourself into it.

Name three things you can see around you.

Try faking a big yawn. This helps your body remind your brain that in this moment you are safe.

Take another slow breath. 

These feelings will pass. You are capable. You can do this.

Thank you for reading. You got this. Take care. 

If you’d like to learn more ways to calm your body down, feel free to check out my Grounding Skills course. It’s free, and the link is below.

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Sources (1) https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.157.10.1552 (2)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-022-01868-3 https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Heritability-estimates-of-selected-psychiatric-disorders, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/looking-at-my-genes, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6421104/ https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/204765 https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18070789 https://www.news-medical.net/health/The-Genetics-of-Mental-Disorder.aspxhttps://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/204765 (3) https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18070789 (4)https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/looking-at-my-genes

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