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What To Do If You Experience a Panic Attack At Work

What To Do If You Experience a Panic Attack At Work

Pounding heartbeat, chest pains, dizziness, tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs, sweaty palms, jumpiness, fear of losing control, and more can all take place when a panic attack is on the move. We can’t control when we have a panic attack, and the workplace is never where you want it to be. As an upper-level manager or executive, you probably want to appear cool, calm, and collected – but how can you do that if a panic attack comes your way? While panic attacks generally only last a few minutes (and they are quite harmless, despite how they feel), they can have a significant impact on your workday. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take if you feel one coming on, so that hopefully you can get a firm grasp on it before it spirals out of control.

  1. Go to a secluded area where you feel safe and comfortable. Whether it’s the restroom, your car, your office, an empty conference room or somewhere else, find a place where you can sit down.
  2. Start taking slow, deep breaths to begin soothing your mind and body.
  3. If you can, try to distract yourself with a funny movie, by calling a loved one, reading a good book, or taking a walk.
  4. Recognize the symptoms you are experiencing, and take note that you are simply experiencing a panic attack. Sometimes this can be helpful in giving you control over the situation.
  5. Once you’ve calmed down, give yourself some time to drink some water and breathe.
  6. Return to work once you feel secure.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) emphasizes the importance of creating an organizational culture of inclusion and respect for those with mental illness, with resources for other employees who may be struggling with panic attacks or anxiety, depression, and more. As you can see, mental illness does not discriminate. The best step you can take from here is to practice self-care, and use your experiences to build upon a safe organizational culture for others who may be going through similar concerns.

If you haven’t already, speak with someone from a professional treatment center to learn more about programs to best suit your needs. Optimal recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your pursuit for happiness, health, and wellbeing.

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