Panic attacks can be extremely distressing and terrifying. The sense of impending doom, the hot or cold flashes, the tingling, the heart palpitations; it’s overwhelming and frightening. Bad panic attacks can leave you incapacitated, fighting against your mind. They can make you think you’re having a heart attack. And yet, there they are, a symptom of an imbalance of chemicals within your mind.
There are several ways to treat panic attacks, but when they happen, it can be extremely difficult to even think of those treatments. Sure, you can talk to a doctor and be prescribed some mind-numbing medications, but when you’re in the middle of a panic attack, will you remember to take them? Will you feel okay about yourself with the side effects?
We have a list of recommendations for how to treat anxiety. There are a variety of herbal remedies, vitamins, and minerals that have, through various studies, been shown to have some effect on anxiety. A combination of those remedies may help with the long-term treatment of chronic anxiety. Even still, that doesn’t help you while you’re having a panic attack.
A licensed therapist will often offer coping strategies to help with panic attacks. When your mind is trapped and spirally, and all you can do is struggle against the overwhelming thoughts, one of the best things you can do is pull your thoughts away. It’s a difficult spiral to break, which is why certain strategies can work. Part of that is a series of affirmations. We’ve put together a list of affirmations you can use to help pull yourself out of a panic spiral, divided into categories.
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How to Use Affirmations
Affirmations are a psychological strategy using the power of positive thoughts to counteract negative thoughts that lead to an anxiety and depression spiral. We recommend reading through this affirmations list and picking the ones that resonate most strongly with you. For example, some of these have to do with the divine protection of God; if you’re not a person of faith, the religious ones may not be very useful for you. If you do, they may be the most helpful of the bunch. We’ve listed 50 of them down below, so you may identify with some of the others.
When you’ve identified the affirmations that most strongly resonate with you, put them into some kind of physical form. Hand-write them into flashcards, or print them off; the important part is that you have them near at hand. You want to keep these affirmations on hand so that if you feel a panic coming on, you can access them.
You can also write affirmations of your own. If you choose to do so, follow these simple rules:
- Affirmations must be positive and beneficial.
- Affirmations should be in the first person: “At this moment, I am euphoric.”
- Affirmations should not be qualified. Avoid indeterminate phrases like “sometimes” or “can be”. They are about expressing positivity.
You’ll get the idea from the examples below.
When you feel a panic attack happening, find your affirmations and read through them. Read them silently if it makes you more comfortable, or speak them out loud if that gives them more power. Repeat them, or read through them all and start over as necessary.
It might also be helpful to keep some kind of additional stimulus on hand. Panic attacks can often be broken by barraging one of the senses with input, particularly input that your brain doesn’t expect. Sour candies or lemon juice can stimulate taste buds. Strong perfume or certain scents can stimulate your sense of smell in the same way. Another good one is temperature; an ice pack or other source of cold can help snap you out of it.
In any case, here are our affirmations, divided into categories.
Personal Growth Affirmations
These affirmations are focused on personal growth, progress, and enlightenment. Recognizing your feelings and accepting them is part of progressing beyond them and letting them go, and these can help you.
1. I am constantly growing and changing into a better me.
2. I accept myself and create peace in my mind and heart.
3. I am more than my thoughts, and I am rising above.
4. I am in the process of positive change.
5. I accept myself and who I am.
6. I am willing to rid myself of this tension, fear, and stress.
7. I am a beautiful person, inside and out.
8. The panic I feel is only temporary.
9. I am doing the best that I can, and I will continue to grow.
10. I forgive myself for this anxiety.
11. No matter what challenges I face, I will persevere.
12. I will live authentically despite my fears.
13. I have everything I need to face the world head-on.
14. Right now, I am safe and at peace.
15. My anxiety does not define who I am.
For many people, the power of religion is the strongest authority they can recognize. God is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-generous. By recognizing His benevolence, you can let your anxiety go and realize that everything is according to His plan and that you can leave it in His hands.
16. I am now willing to see only His greatness.
17. I am protected and sheltered by the divine.
18. I am not alone in my struggles; He is always with me.
19. I am with God, and He is with me.
20. God’s love is working through me, now and always.
21. I trust that everything in my life is working towards my greatest good.
22. I am a divine expression of a kind and loving God.
23. I forgive those who have wronged me and hope the same from others.
24. The love of God flows through me; I am His and He is mine.
25. I am not who I once was; I am forgiven.
26. I do not fear the terror by night or the arrow that flies by day.
27. I won’t worry about tomorrow; God will take care of all my worries.
28. I give God my worries and cares, and He will sustain me.
29. I rebuke anxiety in the name of Jesus, amen.
Many people are spiritual in some sense but reject the more traditional notions of religion. You may not believe in God, but you might believe in some kind of higher power or motivational force; by recognizing this and your part in the universe, you can contextualize, minimize, and push away the panic you feel.
30. My mind and body are aligned with the universe and I’m in the flow.
31. Everything I feel now happens for a reason, and will help me grow.
32. I will live my life with a peaceful heart.
33. May myself and all beings live happy and free.
34. I am going to forgive and free myself.
35. I am part of the cycle, and this too shall pass.
36. Anxiety cannot defeat me, for I contain multitudes.
37. I always have the power to walk away.
38. I belong in this world, and it has a place for me in it.
39. There is more to life out there than this.
40. The sun shines through even the cloudiest days.
41. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone because I am enough.
42. Everyone’s path through life is beautiful, including my own.
43. I choose happiness and joy.
44. Tomorrow is a brand new day.
These affirmations are more than just simple sayings to repeat; they’re coupled with exercises you can do to help break your mind away from the panic attack. Each one focuses on a different kind of exercise.
45. With each breath I take, I gather and release my stress.
Breathing exercises can be a powerful way to still your mind. Take long, slow, deep breaths in through the nose, thinking about taking in positive energy. Picture bundling up your negative energy and stress, and exhale through your mouth, pushing it out and away to dissipate.
46. I care for the things around me.
Grounding is a common technique recommended by therapists dealing with anxiety. As you repeat this affirmation, look around you and identify things that affect the senses. Find five things you can hear, five things you can see, five things you can feel, and so on.
47. Self-care is important because I deserve to be happy.
While everyone has their unique definitions of self-care, various self-care techniques can help a lot when it comes to alleviating stress and anxiety, particularly during a panic attack.
48. With each step I take, I release the thoughts that bind me.
Anxiety can often be triggered by your surroundings. While you aren’t always given the luxury of leaving, you can take a walk, whether it’s around the room, around the office, or the neighborhood. Each step you take, repeat the affirmation.
49. This, too, shall pass.
The recognition that everything is temporary is an old one, and while it may have some negative connotations, in the midst of a panic attack, it can help pull you free of it. Recognizing that you’re having a panic attack, and that’s all that’s wrong, is a good step towards minimizing its impact.
50. Tense and release, and with each step, I let things go.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique where you isolate, tense, and relax each part of your body in sequence. Squeeze a fist and relax your hand; tense your arms and let them relax, and so on. Focusing on your body rather than your mind helps reduce a panic attack.
These are just a selection of the various affirmations and techniques you can use to help pull yourself out of an anxiety or panic attack spiral. They aren’t all going to be right for everyone, and we didn’t cover all of the bases, particularly those that come from other religious backgrounds. These are just here to give you an idea of what you can think and say to yourself.
When words alone don’t seem to be enough, you can always couple these techniques with other forms of anxiety reduction. The coupled techniques above are good as psychological tricks, but physical and medicinal tricks can work as well. Up above, we linked to an anxiety and calm boosting supplement we recommend, full of vitamins and calming herbs such as lavender and chamomile.
Another option you may have available to you use CBD oil. CBD oil has been part of several different kinds of anxiety treatments, and a lot of study is going into it to see how it works and how effective it can be. Early research is promising, though as with any medicinal herb or remedy, it might work differently for different people. Some people find CBD oil to be calming; others find it doesn’t do much for them.
The trick to managing your anxiety goes beyond mitigating panic attacks. While in the moment, it can be hard to think of anything else, it might be worthwhile to keep a journal or an anxiety log. This kind of record-keeping can help you analyze the situations you find yourself in when panic strikes, and what kinds of triggers are causing it. Maybe it’s certain kinds of sounds or overwhelming stimulus, maybe it’s social situations, maybe it’s stress-related. It can also be a side effect of certain medications.
There’s no “cure” for panic and anxiety. As a society, we have come up with a wide range of possible treatments for the symptoms of anxiety, ranging from benzo medications to herbal remedies to affirmations. All of them can work for some people, in some combination or another. All you need to do is find what works best for you, while striving to manage and minimize the triggers that cause anxiety in the first place.
Whether you want to use techniques like grounding or an overriding stimulus, or you just need to take a walk and repeat an affirmation to yourself, there’s a solution out there somewhere for you. All you need to do is find it.