Stop a Panic Attack in Public in 4 Steps

November 25, 2018 Brandy Eaklor

Having a panic attack in public compounds the difficulty of having a panic attack. Learn how to handle a panic attack in public at HealthyPlace.

You can stop a panic attack in public in four steps. As you know, panic attacks can feel uncomfortable, to say the least. Everyone experiences different panic attack symptoms, but most people can agree that the worst part is not knowing how to stop a panic attack when you are in public. In this article, you will learn what four steps I use to calm my mind and stop my panic attack in public when I am around other people.

How to Stop a Panic Attack in Public

Use these four steps to stop a panic attack in public and regain control:

1. Take a deep breath.

As soon as you feel anxious, take a deep breath in. Even if you are not having a panic attack, deep breathing exercises can help relax your mind and even prevent a panic attack from happening. If you know you're already having one, deep breathing will help you regain control.

2. Excuse yourself.

Having a panic attack when you are in public can create even more panic, adding fuel to the flames. One thing to keep in mind is that other people probably cannot tell you are having one. If you're at a friend's house, restaurant or another location, excuse yourself to the restroom rather than trying to power through it. It will be easier to relax your mind without the pressure of being around others ("How To Sit Through a Panic Attack When You Can't Leave").

3. Splash cold water on your face.

Once you get to the bathroom, splash a little cold water on your face. When you splash cold water on your face it is "shocking" which helps distract you from what you are anxious about. The cold water on your face also creates a calming effect, and may even slow down your heart rate. 

4. Look in the mirror.

Sometimes, physically seeing ourselves and realizing that our panic attacks aren't noticeable is enough to feel somewhat better when having a panic attack in public. You can even take this a step further and repeat a mantra that makes you feel better such as, "Everything is okay" ("10 Tools that Help Relieve Panic Attacks").

Having a panic attack in public can be an uncomfortable situation. Use these four steps and you may notice your panic attack symptoms subside or go away completely.

Do you have any tips? What do you do when you have a panic attack in public?

APA Reference
Eaklor, B. (2018, November 25). Stop a Panic Attack in Public in 4 Steps, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Brandy Eaklor

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Iris Black
November, 30 2018 at 1:50 am

Such an informative article, Brandy! Panic attacks are sudden and symptoms include chest pain, chills, feeling sweaty, feeling dizzy and breathlessness. It is true that splashing cold water on your face and taking deep breaths really helps. Moreover, finding a focus object and practicing mindfulness also helps in controlling the panic attack, since it helps you concentrate on something other than the anxiety-provoking stimulus. I would also recommend seeking help from an experienced psychotherapist.

Brandy Eaklor
November, 30 2018 at 10:12 am

Thank you for sharing another tip! I agree anyone struggling should most certainly also seek help and perhaps even personalize their plan even further. Thanks for commenting!

Lizanne Corbit
November, 26 2018 at 7:11 pm

I love that you included 3 and 4 because I think those are two of those seemingly small and obvious steps, but they so often get overlooked or forgotten. Both can be incredibly grounding and help to bring us back to the present moment. Feel rooted, safe, and stable and know that we are present and in control. Great little resource read. Thanks for sharing!

Brandy Eaklor
November, 30 2018 at 10:10 am

Thank you for making such a great point! That is exactly how going through these steps should make you feel. I appreciate your kind words on this article.

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