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What You Can Do When You Feel a Panic Attack Coming on at Work

Updated: Mar 5


Woman having a panic attack at work

Panic attacks are always overwhelming. But these moments can be especially frightening when they happen at work. Unlike an anxiety attack, panic attacks often occur without a clear reason. Here are some steps to take if you feel a sudden panic attack coming on at work.


How to Help with a Panic Attack


Focus On Your Breathing


Breathing exercises are an effective mental and behavioral health technique to calm the mind. By focusing on each inhale and exhale, you can slow down your breathing pace and begin centering yourself. No matter where you are in the moment, close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Slowly let it out and focus on the sensation in your lungs.


If you’re sitting at your desk, notice the way the ground feels under your feet and the chair under your legs. Taking note of these small sensations can be quite calming. A meditation app can also help calm you down if you’re feeling out of control. Your therapist can recommend apps to consider.


Remember It Will Pass


Panic attacks come and go like dark clouds. Remind yourself that the moment will pass within a few minutes. If you have panic attacks often, your therapist may have worked with you to come up with a centering word or phrase. The phrase might be, “everything is going to be okay” or “this will pass soon,” for example. Repeat this phrase in your head as you focus on your breathing.


Step Away


If you feel well enough to do so, consider stepping away from your desk for a few moments. Taking a walk outside or sitting quietly in your car might help you settle your mind. Use this time to listen to calming music, do a breathing exercise, or simply enjoy a moment of silence. Once the feelings of panic pass, you can return to your desk feeling calm and centered.


Talk to a Friend


Confiding in a friend can be helpful when you’re struggling with your mental health. If you have a friend you can contact, consider sending them a text message when you feel a panic attack coming on at work. They can talk you through next steps and help you calm down. You might also have a close friend at work you can pull aside for a moment. Talking to a few friends about your panic attacks will help you build a support network.


Book an Individual Therapy Appointment


If you notice a pattern of panic attacks at work, it’s important to seek professional support. Book an appointment with your therapist if you already see one, or find a nearby counseling clinic that’s accepting patients. Mental health and counseling services can help you build tools to stop a panic attack in its tracks or breath through them when they happen.


Panic attacks can be jarring and unpredictable, often disrupting your life. The behavioral health professionals at The Collective specialize in a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety and panic disorders. We offer counseling that Denver residents can rely on, as well as coaching and holistic behavioral health services, at several area locations. Contact us today to book a consultation.


Does My Insurance Cover a Therapist at The Collective?


The Collective is partnered with several insurance providers to make our services more accessible to you. You can verify your insurance through our website before scheduling an appointment.

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