Panic attacks can be very scary and disruptive to one's life, but one of the best ways of coping with panic attacks is to remind oneself that the panic attack is only a symptom, and that it has no power to cause actual harm. Often, logical reasoning during a panic attack is one of the best ways to stop the panic from progressing. Some other ways of coping with panic attacks include taking deep breaths or breathing in and out of a paper bag, counting backward from 100, listening to some relaxing music, or calling a friend or family member for reassurance.
A panic attack is just the nervous system's response to overstimulation; it may be set off by a surge of adrenaline or stress hormones, not necessarily requiring a frightening or traumatic event. They are fairly common, and cause symptoms such as shortness of breath and a fast heartbeat, nausea, and a sense that something terrible is about to happen. The attack itself cannot actually cause any harm to the body, so one of the best tips for coping with panic attacks is to remember that simple fact. Some people find that by recognizing the warning signs of a panic attack, they are able to talk themselves out of it and stop it from occurring.
Another one of the best ways of coping with panic attacks is to control the breathing. During a panic attack, an individual's breathing will often become very shallow, leading to hyperventilation. This can be stopped by breathing in and out of a paper bag. If hyperventilation does not occur, simply practicing some deep diaphragmatic breathing can help sway the attack. Some people find that counting their breaths is helpful, or just counting backward.
Rather than dwelling on frightening thoughts when coping with panic attacks, instead try to focus the attention on something else. Listen to music, call a friend, or try to get involved in an activity. Try to focus on a relaxing image, such as a tropical beach, or think of a happy memory. The idea is to redirect the attention away from the fear in order to cause the panic to stop. Some people find that the best means of coping with panic attacks is to try to prevent them through regular exercise; talking with a therapist, and learning about other anxiety management techniques can be very helpful as well.