Don't panic!

Don't panic!: tips and tricks on how to deal with a panic attack
Published by Sofia on 2024-03-08 in Pop
Article cover
Hello everyone!

My name is Sofia and I've had many panic attacks. There's a sort of stigma around this topic and today I want to do my part to break it. You see, when I started having panic attacks some years ago, I felt really scared and alone. I didn't know what was happening to me. I thought I was broken and that I was going to feel that way forever. Then I decided to go see a psychologist and it changed my life for the better!

Disclaimer: these tricks I'm about to explain aren't going to work for everyone. If you keep having panic attacks, I suggest you go see a psychologist (I know some schools even offer a therapist on campus, so you could check that out!)

These tricks are designed to bring you back to reality when you feel like you're floating away and your thoughts are spinning. You need to focus on what's around you and keep your feet (and mind) on the ground.
A black and orange butterfly
illustration by Sofia A

The 4-4-6 method

To control your breathing, inhale counting to 4 in your mind (slowly!), hold your breath for another count of 4, then exhale for 6. Repeat until you feel better.

The people method

If you're in a public place, shift your attention to what's around you. Count how many women and how many men there are. How many people are wearing something red? How many wear glasses? How many have jeans? You decide the criteria and force yourself to find more and more particular things to notice.

The numbers method

This is more mathematical and abstract. Try counting from 100 to 0 (so backwards). You can also try going from 3 to 3. The harder the better, because it will shift your attention to the numbers and away from what makes you anxious.
magical stars
illustration by Sofia A

The birthday method

This depends a bit on how many birthdays you remember. The idea is to recite (out loud or in your mind) your friends and family's birthday dates, in any order you want. You can do it from January to February, in order of year (from youngest person to oldest, or vice versa), in alphabetical order of people's names, etc. Always remember that the harder the better.

The bonus is that it will help you never forget birthdays again. (That's the one I use most and I'm famous in my group of friends as the one who always remembers birthdays)

The movement method

This works mostly if you are alone/not in a public place. You have to move. You can dance, punch the air, jump, do anything, as long as you move and get rid of your nervous energy. It's really freeing.
a rainbow
illustration by Radioimmaginaria
So this is all folks! I hope I helped you a little bit. Just remember that you are not alone. You are loved. Stay strong, I promise you it will get better.