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Mental Health

Four Useful Tips to Help a Friend with Panic Attacks

We all may know someone in our life who suffers from anxiety, whether it may be a friend, family member, or a significant other. In times when they need us the most, we may find it hard to comfort them. From previous experience in my life, I found it hard to find ways to help them relax and have them realize that their panic attack is only temporary, so here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned to help them get back in the right mindset.


1.Do not tell them to calm down

Telling the person to calm down may make their anxiety worse. During a panic attack, someone is not in the right state of mind, so it is not easy being able to “calm down” or “relax” because if they could relax, they would.  


2.Try breathing exercises

As crazy as it sounds, people may forget to breathe during a panic attack because their mind is racing with thoughts. Try coaching them through a breathing exercise. Breathe in deeply for four seconds and breathe out for another four seconds.


3.Focus on your surroundings

Having the person focus on their surroundings can help distract them from what they are feeling internally. Mindfulness Grounding is a technique counting down from five. Have them describe in as much detail as they can five things they can see, name four things they can touch and feel, three things they can smell, two things they can hear, and one thing they like.  


4.Move to a quiet place

Loud and obnoxious places may make it harder for a person to calm down while having a panic attack. Try moving them to a quiet and calming place that they are familiar with, so you are both able to focus on getting them back to the right mindset.


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Christina Trichilo is a transfer student at Manhattan College. She is a third year student majoring in psychology, and minoring in women and gender studies. She enjoys reading poetry, a good cup of coffee, and listening to Beyoncé's I Am... Sasha Fierce album.
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