Compassion Behavioral Health / Resources / Articles / How to Calm an Anxiety Attack
02/22/23
CBH Staff
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How to Calm an Anxiety Attack

Woman experiencing an anxiety attack. Overwhelmed, hands on her head

If you have a history of anxiety, you may find yourself experiencing an anxiety attack from time to time. Anxiety attacks can be incredibly overwhelming and difficult to manage. But with the right techniques, you can learn how to calm an anxiety attack. Here are some tips on managing your anxiety:

Control Your Breathing

Breathing techniques are a simple yet effective way to calm an anxiety attack. During an attack, one’s breathing often becomes rapid and shallow, leading to further panic and distress. By taking a few moments to focus on one’s breathing, consciously slowing it down and deepening it, an individual can quickly regain control of the situation.

We recommend trying the “4-7-8″ method”. This involves counting to four while inhaling, holding the breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling for eight seconds. Repeat this process several times until you start to feel your heart rate slow down and your body begins to relax.

Taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth also helps reduce stress levels, as much of the anxiety is stored in the body’s physical form. With regular practice, breathing techniques can not only help reduce anxiety attacks but also provide a calming effect that allows for greater focus and productivity in day-to-day life.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

It is easy to become engulfed in a cycle of negative thinking during an anxiety attack. To combat this, one must be mindful and aware of their thought patterns, and actively challenge them whenever one can. For example, if you’re thinking “I am not good enough”, you could challenge this by asking yourself questions such as “What evidence do I have for this statement?” or “Can I think of any examples where I have succeeded?”.

By doing this, you’ll learn to recognize your irrational thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. With practice, challenging these kinds of thoughts can help reduce the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks.

Take a Step Back

When an anxiety attack strikes, it is sometimes helpful to take a step back and observe yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Allow yourself to acknowledge what you are feeling without judgment and make a conscious effort to focus on something else until your mind calms down.

Try focusing on something that requires your full attention, such as counting down from 100 or visualizing a relaxing scene in your head. Doing this can help to put things into perspective and bring you back to the present moment, calming down an anxiety attack.

Distract Yourself

In addition to focusing on something else, another way to reduce anxiety is to distract yourself with activities that you can do easily and quickly. This could be anything from writing in a journal, going for a walk, or even playing an online game – whatever works for you.

Engaging your brain in different activities, allows the mind to take a break from its anxious thoughts, and can help to reduce the intensity of an anxiety attack.

Seek Professional Help

If you find yourself struggling with anxiety attacks on a regular basis, it is best to seek professional help. A mental health practitioner can provide you with helpful techniques and strategies for managing your anxiety, as well as uncover any underlying issues that may need addressing.

In the meantime, remember that an anxiety attack does not have to be debilitating – it is possible to learn how to manage them with the right tools and techniques. With practice, you can learn to calm your anxiety attacks and live a more productive and fulfilling life.

Compassion Behavioral Health Can Help

Compassion Behavioral Health understands the difficulty and distress that those with anxiety face. Our commitment is to provide compassionate and individualized care designed to help you find relief from anxiety symptoms on the path to recovery. We strive to create a safe and supportive environment, where clients can learn new tools, skills, and strategies to manage their anxiety.

Our team of experienced professionals uses evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), along with medical interventions tailored to each individual’s unique needs. This allows us to provide high-quality care that is tailored to fit your specific needs. If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Compassion Behavioral Health today so we can help find a treatment plan that works best for you.