How to Cope with Panic Attacks

Partners who’ve experienced betrayal trauma can sometimes suffer from panic attacks. These are both unpleasant and frightening. So, what can you do to help you cope with these attacks, and to regain some control when you feel out of control?

Here are some steps that might help you with this:                        

1. Remind yourself that these feelings of panic are simply exaggerated stress responses. They are also very normal in your situation.

2. Although they feel dramatic and worrying, the sensations aren’t likely to be dangerous. Usually they will pass, and nothing worse is going to happen.

3. Interrupt the tendency to add to the panic by starting to worry about the feelings, and how they might affect you – both now and in the future.

4. Keep the present as your focus. Don’t let your mind run wild. Instead, assume the persona of a detached observer. Simply ‘notice’ what is happening inside you right now. And try to be more curious and analytical.

5. Focus on your breathing. Try to slow it down. Take deep, steady breaths from your diaphragm. Notice how this helps – emotionally, and physically.   

6. Put a blanket round your shoulders if you’re cold or shivery. You want to feel safe, warm and comfortable … and also comforted.

7. Try to ground yourself in your environment. Notice how the carpet feels beneath your feet, or slowly run your hand over the fabric of the chair. This will help to bring you back into this time and place.

8. Be patient, wait it out, and let the feelings run their course. Eventually they’ll fade and you’ll return to feeling normal.

9. Take it easy, and relax, when you feel the symptoms end. Give yourself time to recover, and invest in some self-care.

10. When you feel more like yourself, reflect on how far you have come. Think of how well you have coped – despite tremendous challenges. You are going to survive, and you can cope with these attacks. 

Celebrate every win, no matter how small.”


17 thoughts on “How to Cope with Panic Attacks

  1. Thank you for these tips, Ann. I get anxiety and panic attacks, sometimes because something has triggered me, and sometimes, they just come out of the blue, usually during the afternoon or just before I go to bed. I do try grounding exercises, as you’ve mentioned here, but I also feel comforted by a soft blanket or wrap around me. It gives me a soothing sensation.

    I have read the phrase ‘Betrayal Trauma’ several times on your blog. Could you please explain what that is, as my trauma is connected to my child abuse? Is this also betrayal trauma, or am I on the wrong track? I also noticed that the web address of your blog mentions sex addiction. A long time ago, I was married to a bully of a man for seven years, and he would never leave me alone sexually. He would force himself on me at all sorts of times. Back then, I thought he was addicted to sex, and that’s why he behaved like this. I hated it. I hope you don’t mind me asking these questions. Ellie Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anxiety and panic attacks can be hard to live with. I’m glad you’ve found something that helps you 🙂
      Betrayal trauma can sometimes be related to betrayal by a parent but, in the counselling world, it is usually associated with sexual betrayal by a partner or spouse – and usually where you were completely blind-sided. I would say, as short-hand, it is most commonly used for partners and spouses who discover their partner has some kind of sex addiction. We started this blog for this group of people as they tend to have fewer resources available to them – but the blog addresses other broader trauma related issues too.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Being someone who use to experience panic attacks regularly, I am happy for anyone who does not experience these. For anyone who does, they really should write down your tips and use them regularly


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