Learning to damp out panic attacks

So, recently I’ve been thinking about a skill that I acquired some time ago, and I think I can explain how to do it if anyone else would like to learn.

Note that to *really* do this requires some hardware you’ll need to pick up somewhere – namely, a pulse meter and a EEG.

Training level 1: Learning to lower your pulse.

You’ll need to get a pulse meter, and stare at it and try to lower the number on it. Like any biofeedback training, this takes time, and you’ll be most successful at learning to do it if you start practicing when you’re *not* experiencing a panic attack *first*. As with all biofeedback training, your mind is going to figure out how to achieve your goal mostly without you – knowing your goal is to lower the number on the meter it will try various things until it figures it out. Just keep trying, and you’ll find your way.

Training level 2: Learning to increase the amplitude of your alpha waves.

You’ll need a EEG that displays your alphas as a easily readable graph or meter. See above notes – it’s a very similar training process. You may find it helpful to research meditation techniques – there’s a lot of literature about this elsewhere so I’ll assume you can find it. 😉

Optional training level 3: Learning to lower your blood pressure

This one is harder. Because reading blood pressure is such a slow process, you’ll need a lot of time to master lowering your blood pressure. This is where things like imagining your ‘happy place’ come into play. However, I find it’s generally not necessary to stop a panic attack, although it can help with the aftereffects of all that adrenaline dumping into your bloodstream.

Now that you’ve acquired the skills of lowering your heart rate and increasing your alphas, during a panic attack, do these three things

#1: Step one, take several long, slow, deep breaths.
#2: Step two, lower your heart rate consciously
#3: Step three, raise your alphas consciously
#4: Step four (optional), lower your blood pressure.

That’s it. If your mind is similar to mine, this will put you back in a mental state where your anxiety is not the largest thing in the picture and you can then figure out what to do about whatever event made you panic to begin with. The first few times you do it, it will help to have a heart rate monitor in front of you.

5 Responses to “Learning to damp out panic attacks”

  1. Eaglesoars Says:


  2. Eaglesoars Says:

    Can one use a finger heart rate monitor that includes pulse waveform to cover both pulse rate and EEG?

    We have a heart rate/blood oxygen saturation finger meter we bought to monitor oxygen level in high mountains. It also contains the pulse wave which indicates (I believe that’s what it’s showing) heart irregularities or steady little waves, etc.

    Also, my Fitbit has a “Relax” setting that first measures breathing and then tells me when to breathe deeply and when to let out that breath long and slow.

  3. Firesong Says:

    This is fascinating. I don’t know how similar my mind is to yours (heh), but I ought to try it. I already know that breathing slowly helps, but consciously lowering/raising other things isn’t currently in my toolbox.

  4. sheer Says:

    EEG requires electrodes placed on your head. many commercial systems are available that fit the bill

  5. Eaglesoars Says:

    Realized after I wrote the above that I was thinking of EKG. I should not be writing anything at that hour.

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