• Liz Millican

10 Tips to Cope with Panic Attacks


Tips to Cope with Panic Attacks

This link expands on the topic of muscle relaxation which can be helpful in learning how to cope with panic attacks.


Challenging cognitive distortions

This link explains what cognitive distortions are and how to manage them. It also includes free work sheets. You can skip the history portion and below that are the list of cognitive distortions. During Covid 19 you may want to pay specific attention to all-or-nothing thinking, over-generalization, disqualifying the positive, and magnification.


For some people medication may be necessary to help them cope. Learn more about how medication can help here.


My tips:

Do what you can to stay connected to people. Focus on relationships that are positive and leave you feeling encouraged after you talk. Video and phone calling are great tools to help increase a sense of connection. I've also done video play dates for my kids and it's a great social relief for them as well.


Focus on what is in your control. If you've lost your job then you may be feeling really unstable and like things are out of control. And the truth is that a lot of things are outside your control. However, you can contact your government to find out what supports you can receive during this lock down. Whether it's your own business or you were an employee the government should be providing support to those they have told are not allowed to work.


Incorporate as many positive activities as you can into your day. Trying to make the best out of a difficult situation will help reduce stress and make coping easier. Some days will be harder than others, but allowing yourself to feel even a small amount of positive emotion can provide significant relief.


Rethink your priorities. If the way you are currently coping is causing you a lot of stress then rethink your priorities. It's possible that your expectations are unrealistic, which will add to your stress. If friends aren't returning your calls or texts then it's possible they are too overwhelmed to respond. While under normal circumstances it's polite to respond everyone copes differently. If your regular supports aren't getting back to you then look for online supports.


Find something funny. Watching a comedian or reading a funny book can also help relieve stress. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.



  • Liz Millican

Updated: Apr 7

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor. This is my understanding of medication and its use for anxiety and depression based off of what was taught to me by my psychopathology professor who is a psychiatrist. Changes to medication should only be made with consultation with a medical professional. This is only intended to provide some basic information about how medication can help manage stress.


The medication most frequently prescribed for anxiety and depression is in a category called SSRI's. These medications are intended for longer term use, are used daily, and have fewer side effects than other types of medication. Mental health problems can be biologically based and medication may be necessary to reduce negative thought patterns, especially for those with severe anxiety.


Medication levels for depression are usually lower than for those with anxiety. Those with OCD require dosages of SSRI's which are above the recommended doses for these medications.


Benzodiazepines are a class of medication that is used as needed for anxiety and depression. My professor said that he does not recommend using this class of medications on their own because of drawbacks associated with them. They are habit forming, there is a reduction in effectiveness over time, and they can have significant withdrawal symptoms. My professor said that these are not intended for long term use and he becomes concerned when they are proscribed for long term use.


Discuss concerns about medication with your doctor (or psychiatrist) and do not make changes without consulting with a doctor.

  • Liz Millican

For those who do not have a good knowledge of the Bible it is important to consult with someone who has stronger biblical knowledge and can help you test your discernment against what the Bible says. I have a good knowledge of the Bible and I know the type of encouragement and conviction that comes from it. The following is something that develops over time after cultivating a faithful relationship with God. 


Prayer should include thankfulness to God. Most people have at least a few things to be thankful to God for, our salvation, God's provision, or other blessings that God provides. Focusing on the blessing in our lives can relieve the pain from area in our life that don't reflect the ideal. 


Allowing conviction through prayer. When we bring a complaint to God and stay silent in an attitude of prayer and willingness to hear God, then God can speak what we need to hear into our situation. Some examples of how I have seen God provide conviction through prayer. 


Prayer: "God, my spouse doesn't do anything right. I don't know how to deal with this." 


Possible Response: "Is that really true? Didn't your spouse do this good thing? Are you being too hard on them?" 


Prayer: "God, why am I married to this person? They are so hard to live with." 


Possible Response: Positive qualities of the spouse. 


Prayer: "Why won't these people help me with this thing I want done?" 


Possible Response: "What if I called you to do it? Why are you asking someone else?" 


Prayer can also help with issues of pain like loneliness, whether someone is married or unmarried this can still be an issue. One of person shared with me how she responds positively in prayer to feelings of loneliness. 


"I feel sorry for myself for being lonely. I acknowledge my legitimate pain, and move on. I actually do physical things to help me move on (weight and style goals), and if I think of a problem I can’t solve, I do not dwell on it. ... I choose to not dwell on them and feel sorry for myself. Anything I can do, I do. Anything I don’t know how to solve or is a huge mystery, I pray and try to move on. If I can’t, I ask God if it’s an idol in my life. It’s not a easy because it feels like you’re just telling people to not be sad. How is that even possible? It’s not. Live in that sadness for a small amount of time, and then do what it takes to move on. Attack jealousy, depression, comparison, isolation, etc. with prayers." 


It's also good to pray honestly about our feelings to God. If this seems odd to you then writing it out can help.


Honest prayer: "God I'm so angry I just feel like I'm going to lose it." Share your feelings honestly and your anger about the situation and then ask God what he wants you to focus on. 


Honest prayer: "God I'm angry that my spouse wants (doesn't want) kids. I feel..." Tell God why you feel this way and ask him what he wants you to focus on.


If you feel like God is asking you to trust him you can be honest with him about why you don't want to trust him.


We can never know why sometimes God is silent, but I think sometimes it is because he is asking us to wait and other times the decision may be up to us.


If you have resources or thoughts on what helps you hear from God please share them.


If you are experiencing a situation that involves abuse and are seeking help in discerning God's will I would encourage you to read about Submission and Abuse.