Do you or someone you know suffer from PANIC ATTACKS? Here are 11 helpful tips to "flip the switch" and calm yourself. Check out the full article here!

1. PAPER BAG METHOD – Cover your nose and mouth with a paper bag. Breathe as deeply as you can through both your nose and mouth (inflating your belly and chest) for at least a minute.

2. HOLD YOUR BREATH – If you hold your breath for 15-20 seconds (repeating this a several times), it helps to slow your heart and calm your hyperventilation quickly.

3. CONSCIOUS 1:2 BREATH – Bring your hands to your belly (not your chest, as you’ll feel your fast heartbeat and this sensation may induce more anxiety), and feel your inhales and your exhales inflate and deflate. Try to double the length of your exhale, which is proven to slow down your central nervous system.

4. GET PRESENT – With an open palm, tap your body beginning with your feet. Feel the sensation of your hands against your body and your body receiving the touches and taps. Take your time to notice the experience in its entirety, moving from toes to head. Experiment with different levels of pressure and soft fists versus open palms.

5. GROUND YOURSELF – Lay on your back, on the floor with weight on top of you. When you are panicking, it can feel like you are floating off the ground and into the ether. Feeling your body supported by the firmness of the floor with a heavy pillow or blanket on top of you (or your dog) while breathing deeply can help to flip the switch on your panic quickly.

6. MOVE – Jump! Dance! Walk! Run! It doesn’t matter which you choose – what matters is that you get your body moving. The trapped feeling that comes with panic is much more easily dissipated when you get moving. It might be challenging, while in the midst of panic, to get yourself out the door, but if you can muster the courage – it could be your saving grace.

7. EYE PILLOW – Light pressure on and around your eyes is a great way to stop panic in its tracks. Use an eye pillow and if you aren’t hypersensitive to scent, purchase an eye pillow with lavender scent for bonus calming effects. Another, more intense, option is to use a cold eye mask. The cold temperature with the light pressure can be an effective way to stop panic in its tracks.

8. LAUGH – Did you know that it’s nearly impossible to laugh and panic at the same time? So, if you can make yourself laugh (even if it starts off as a fake laugh), you can ward off an on-coming panic attack. Start with an exaggerated fake laugh, if you can’t get a real one going, and see where it leads. The louder and sillier you can get, the better.

9. DISTRACT YOURSELF – With mild panic it’s possible to distract yourself to stop the sensation of anxiety. Turn on an upbeat song you like, a TV show that engrosses you or that makes you laugh. It’s best to make a list of these before you have the panic attack, so you have your go-to distractions ready and no thinking is required (remember: panic lowers your ability to think clearly).

10. REMIND YOURSELF – If you can, even in the midst of the chaos of your panic, remind yourself that just like everything else in life – nothing lasts forever. This feeling and sensation will pass, just like all feelings and sensations do.

11. EXTREME METHOD ICE DUNK – This is only suggested for when you’ve tried everything else and you are in extreme panic mode. If you have a heart condition or an eating disorder, do NOT do this. Fill a wide bowl with 1/3 with ice. Add cold water, leaving some room at the top. Take a deep inhale and then plant your whole face into the water for 30 seconds. Make sure you get the check bones and above your eyes fully immersed in the icy cold water, as these are key areas that connect with the vagus nerve (fight/flight/freeze response).
AVOID: The following list includes some of the most common triggers for anxiety and panic, so stay away as much as possible from: caffeine, sleep deprivation, dehydration, smoking, narcotic drugs and alcohol.