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Having a panic attack is no one’s idea of fun. They can be horrendously debilitating and can really affect your life. I remember the first time I ever had one. I was at my (quite stressful) job and my heart started beating so fast. My palms were clammy and as I got to the bathroom, my breaths were becoming shorter and shorter and my mind was racing. I had no idea what was happening (except I thought I was dying!) and simply had to wait for it to pass – which took ages.

Now, luckily, I realise that panic attacks are very common – not just for me, but many others around the globe, and there are several ways to deal with them.

Today, we’re talking about emotion-focused coping techniques to prevent and help with panic attacks.


What Are Emotion Focused Coping Techniques?

Emotion-focused coping techniques are a type of stress management that attempts to reduce negative emotional responses that occur due to exposure to stressors. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, aggression, depression, humiliation are reduced or removed by different coping methods.

It is a different coping system than ‘problem-focused’ coping, which is where the coping techniques focus purely on removing the stressor altogether, i.e. toxic friends, a bad job, a mean partner etc. However, that isn’t always easy to do. Meanwhile, emotion-focused coping techniques aid you in becoming less emotionally reactive to the stressors you face which can lead to a panic attack.

They alter the way you experience these situations, so they impact you differently. This is where emotion-focused techniques can be beneficial – rather than just cutting the problem out, you can learn how to thrive in the face of adversity. That’s not to say that you should simply accept everything that happens to you, but you can certainly learn how to cope in a better way.

For example, emotion-based coping is helpful when you need to take care of your feelings when circumstances are out of your control – so say you are grieving the loss of a loved one – you cannot change this – and it’s important to take care of your feelings in a healthy way.


How To Use Emotion-Focused Coping Techniques

Some helpful techniques to use are the following:


#1 Eat Your Favourite Foods

Your favorite foods might not fix the situation, but they can certainly make it better. Nourish your body with what it calls for – whether it’s comfort food, sweets or veggies.


#2 Clean The House

While not at the top of everyone’s list, this is actually one of my emotion-focused coping techniques. It’s methodical and if you can get into it, you can focus less on what’s upsetting you, giving yourself space.


#3 Tell Yourself ‘You Can Do This’

A personal pep talk never did anyone any harm. You can be your own biggest cheerleader and you need to have your back.


#4 Go For A Walk

Being in nature can be so beneficial to clear the cobwebs and make you feel that things aren’t so bad. Wherever you live, there’s bound to be some beauty to be found.


#5 Meditate

We love working on our meditation routines at Kossie, and feeling stressed is a perfect time to try out a new one.


#6 Breathing Exercises

There is no substitute for breathing all the way in and out – did you know, when we’re stressed, we use short breaths which can make things worse? Try these techniques.


#7 Self-Care Treatments

Do you like face masks, having your nails done or even just reading a good book? Do something that brings you joy, and watch the negative emotions float away.


#8 Journal

Write it down. Once it’s on the page, you will be able to focus on how you can fix it. Take a look at some benefits of journaling here!


#9 Watch Something Funny

Most of us have Netflix and we have a world of entertainment at our fingertips. Laughing is the best medicine and if you’re feeling sad, why not try to invoke the opposite emotion of joy?


#10 Exercise

Also not one that’s at the top of everyone’s list, but I promise it can do the trick! Working out your stress, frustrations and anxiety will leave you with a clear head.


You might find that certain emotion-focused coping strategies work best for your particular emotions or issues. So for example, you may find that a stressful day at work is calmed by a nice relaxing bath – but when you’re feeling angry, exercise does the trick!


Do you suffer with panic attacks? What’s the best way you have found to cope with them? Join our inclusive mental health support group today to share with our community!

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