3 Ways to Cope with Anxiety Attacks

I’m no expert on treatments for anxiety, but I do know some methods I find helpful for when I’m feeling uncomfortably anxious or when I have anxiety attacks. Even if you aren’t personally affected by anxiety, this article may still be useful if you have friend or family member who is! Read on to learn about some ways to ease (or prevent) anxiety attacks.

Take a walk

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Taking a break from whatever you’re doing and going for a walk outside can help ease your anxious thoughts and help clear your mind. I know that after a long day of being cooped up indoors studying, I appreciate the fresh air and sun. Make sure to walk slowly; look around your surroundings and pay close attention to details in your environment. This change in focus can help ground yourself and bring you back to the present.

Talk to a friend

If you feel an anxiety attack sneaking up on you, and you’re around friends, try talking to your friend about it — they can help guide you through it or help distract you from your anxious thoughts. Don’t be afraid to tell your friend that you’re feeling really anxious — they can be a lot more helpful than you may think.

Practice different breathing techniques

There are several breathing techniques that you can practice to help cope with anxiety attacks. One technique that is especially helpful for me is the “4-7-8 exercise”. This exercise will help you relax and relieve tension. In this technique, you sit with your back straight and breath in through your nose and breath out through your mouth. Here are the steps:

  1. After exhaling the residual air in your lungs, inhale through your nose and count to four in your head.

  2. Hold your breath to the count of seven.

  3. Then, exhale through your mouth to the count of eight.

  4. Repeat these steps three to four more times.

Remember that regular sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet can contribute to both your physical health and your mental health! It’s important to seek help if you think you may have an anxiety disorder or any other mental health issues — UC Davis offers various counseling services through SHCS that are free for students!