Trying to stop a panic attack while it's happening can be extremely difficult. Here's a helpful exercise which you can practise in order to be prepared next time it happens:
A panic attack is rapid moving energy
People suffering from a panic attack are experiencing an energy which is moving so rapidly that they cannot keep up with it. This sensation causes the feeling of intense fear, even if these people are not aware of what's actually happening to them. You can compare this sensation to being on an airplane which starts to move very fast, while the plane is still touching the ground. If the plane does not take off and starts moving past trees, houses or even people and if you had a window seat, you would immediately feel panic, because there are so many resisting objects in the way. If you had an aisle seat, however, you would maybe not even notice.
Stop the panic attack by changing the way you focus
The example of being on a plane, looking out of the window and noticing that the plane is not taking off, but instead "flying" on the ground, aims at showing you how your mind creates resistance to rapid moving energy which you cannot control and which you fear, because of the damage it could possibly create. Practise the following exercise while you are feeling good. It will help you to mentally focus the right way once you experience another panic attack:
Change to the aisle seat
Imagine changing your seat from the window to the aisle. Imagine unbuckling your seatbelt and moving from the window to the aisle seat. Imagine fastening your seatbelt on the aisle seat. Then listen to the sound. Enjoy the peace and the silence. Once you cannot look outside of the window anymore, you will no longer feel the resistance which is causing the panic attack. Imagine that the pilot knows exactly what he is doing and that he knows how to manage this plane safely to its destination. You can leave it all to him. Imagine how you relax, maybe you would like to read a book or order a glass of wine. You can watch a movie or order something to eat. Maybe you would even like to close your eyes and sleep. Leave it all to the others. You are safe, you paid for your ticket and it's not your job to worry about what's going on outside. Breathe and relax.
Practise this exercise every day
You will only need to practise this exercise for a minute, but practise it every day if you can. It will help you, because the more you practise it, the more you will create a new momentum. This new momentum is your new ability to not resist fast moving energy within you which you cannot - and don't need to - control, because it will not hurt you as long as you don't offer any resistance.
I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I am half German and half British and I offer psychotherapy in English, especially for expats living in Hamburg. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: +49040 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!