Coping With Panic Attacks: 10 Rules


Using positive coping statements helps in coping with panic attacks. It is widely used in cognitive therapy to correct the distorted way an anxious person looks at things.

Before we look at the 10 rules for coping with panic attacks, know that talking to yourself in a calming way will make you feel more in control. Here are some examples of positive self talk:

  • I can do it
  • I can handle it
  • I can cope
  • Easy does it

Notice that the statements are simple, brief and positive. Easy to say and easy to remember in a pinch. And we will use positive self talk statements in this exercise.

Here are 10 Rules for Coping With Panic Attacks Using Positive Coping Statements:

1. The Feelings Are Normal Bodily Reactions, Just Exaggerated

- My heartbeat speeds up when I’m stressed
- I’m a little tense today, it will pass
- I’m breathing a little faster because I’m nervous
- The tightness in my chest is the way I react to anxiety
- My stomach acts up when I’m under pressure

2. Panic Attacks Are Not Harmful

- Anxiety symptoms aren’t dangerous
- I’m going to live
- I don’t have a serious illness
- Anxiety doesn’t kill anyone
- It’s uncomfortable but not serious

3. Do Not Add Frightening Thoughts

- I can distract myself
- I have control over what I think
- I’ll think positively
- I’ll think of something pleasant
- I’ll get out of my head by taking some action

4. Notice What is Happening, Not What Might Happen
Coping With Panic Attacks
- I’m going to focus on how I feel right now
- I have some anxiety symptoms but that’s okay
- I can cope with these symptoms
- I’m relaxing my muscles
- I’m slowing down my breathing

5. Wait For the Fear to Pass
- I’m frightened, but so what?
- I know that my fear might stay awhile, it’s no big deal
- I’ve gone through this before and survived it
- I can manage even though I feel anxious
- I know these symptoms will pass

6. Notice When it Fades
- My heart has stopped pounding
- I’ll watch the fear rise and then fall
- It’s already getting better
- I feel myself already becoming more relaxed
- It always goes away after awhile
- I’m gaining control

7. It’s an Opportunity For Progress
- I need to feel this anxiety in order to get better
- It’s time to face my fear
- Each time I face my fear, I feel stronger
- I’m making progress day by day
- I become less frightened each time that I feel the anxiety

8. Think of What You Have Done
- It really worked
- I’m so proud of myself
- I did better than I thought I would
- I’m more relaxed
- I’m looking forward to trying again

9. Plan What To do Next
- I’ll continue to work on my anxiety recovery & distorted thinking
- I’m going to use my coping statements
- I’ll use diaphragmatic breathing
- I’m going to use positive visualizations
- I’ll press on and continue to overcome my fear and anxiety

10. Slow & Steady Wins the Race

- I won’t take on too much at one time
- I have to remember to take it slow
- I know that at times I’ll feel anxious
- I’ll take it step by step and not be discouraged
- I realize that getting better takes time, but I’m doing it!

Use these 10 rules for coping with panic attacks to help you face a stressful day, or to help give you comfort and encouragement as you work on facing your fears one day at a time.

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

Simple Anxiety Self Help Road Map

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This entry was posted in Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Coping With Panic Attacks: 10 Rules

  1. TeeDee says:

    Thank you so much for this site, Jill. I just learned about it today when I read your post on Jedha’s site. I like your advice to be gentle and go at a comfortable pace as that is what helps me the most. I’m not feeling up to sharing much right now, but I thought of you when I read my copy of Max Ehrman’s “Desiderata” which hangs on my wall and I’d like to share it in case you or someone else hasn’t yet read it. I find it really helps to centre me quickly on rough days (along with all the other coping skills you and others share, of course :) DESIDERATA by Max Ehrman 1927
    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs,
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals,
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.
    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

    Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
    And whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrman

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