How To Sit Through a Panic Attack When You Can’t Leave


Sitting through a panic attack without being able to escape is a thought that can inspire a new anxiety attack. Panic attacks can strike seemingly out of the blue, and anxiety attacks hit in response to escalating stress and worry. They often happen at terrible times, times and places when we’re around other people and in situations that we can’t easily escape (which of course makes sense, as these are anxiety-provoking situations). Keep reading to learn four ways to sit through a panic attack when you can’t leave. 

Being in a place such as a meeting, classroom, your child’s event, and the like when panic arises is awful. Knowing that you can’t easily slip away unnoticed only serves to worsen an already-bad anxiety attack. It may seem as though you are losing all control, but in reality, there are things you can do to increase your sense of control and decrease the intensity of the panic attack, all while staying where you are.

Four Ways to Endure a Panic Attack When You Can’t Leave the Room

  1. Focus Object and Mindfulness. Have one, and only one, focus object to concentrate on. Carry something small and interesting with you, such as an unusual rock, smooth piece of sea glass, or a store bought fidget object. It can be something mundane such as the pen you’re using or a poster on the wall. What it is doesn’t matter. It does matter that you have a single thing on which to concentrate. Focus on it with the senses you can: what does it look like, sound like, feel like? This is mindfulness practice. Get in the habit of practicing mindfulness throughout every day. Being mindful when you’re not in the throes of an anxiety attack will help you use the skill when you are.

2. Do Something. Your body wants to flee. You want to flee. There’s all of this pent-up energy coursing through you that needs to go somewhere. You can’t go out the door, so find a different way to channel it. Doodle, scribble, and draw. Fiddle with a bracelet, rubber band, or Rubik’s cube. Knit or crochet if you know how. Move in any way you can. As with the focus object, do it mindfully. Use your senses to help get your mind onto your actions and out of panic mode.

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