3 Breath Practices for Panic Attacks

Apr 03, 2024

Panic attacks can be overwhelming, but there are simple yet powerful breath practices that can help you find calm amidst the storm. 

In this blog, we'll explore three effective techniques tailored to rescue you in the midst of a panic attack and bring you back to a place of peace and stability.


  • Exhaling Through an Imaginary Straw

Picture this: you're holding an imaginary straw between your lips, and with each exhale, you gently blow through it. This simple visualisation technique mimics the act of blowing out a candle, focusing your breath and calming your nervous system. Don’t worry about the inhale (this still may feel jagged or tight) just keep focusing on exhaling through your imaginary straw.  Repeat this practice for several breaths until you feel yourself return to a state of calm. 

P.s I used to use this practice when I experienced panic attacks in the past and it was the only thing that would consistently get me back to a state of calm. 


  • 4-7-8 Breath

The 4-7-8 breath technique is a powerful tool to reset your nervous system and regain control during a panic attack. Begin by inhaling deeply through your nose for a count of four, allowing your belly to expand with each breath. Hold your breath for a count of seven, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of eight, making a whooshing sound as you release the air. 

This breath pattern calms the mind and body, promoting relaxation and reducing feelings of panic. Practise the 4-7-8 breath whenever you feel the onset of a panic attack or whenever you need to find inner peace.


  • Extended Exhales

During moments of panic, our breath tends to become shallow and rapid, exacerbating feelings of anxiety. Extended exhales offer a simple yet effective way to slow down your breathing and soothe your nervous system, indicating to your whole system that you’re safe. 

Start by inhaling deeply through your nose for a count of three, filling your lungs with air. Then, exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of six, allowing all the tension to melt away with each breath. Focus on the sensation of your breath as it moves in and out of your body, grounding yourself in the present moment.

Continue this practice for several rounds until you feel a sense of calm and relaxation wash over you.


Use any of these practices if you’re feeling the onset of a panic attack come on, or if you’re in the midst of an attack and need a tool that needs no equipment or experience to work instantly.  


Remember, the breath is always with you, offering a pathway to healing and resilience in even the most challenging moments. To learn more about how the breath can be your aid and healer join our Online Trauma Aware Breath Coach Training here. Whether you're a newbie to breathwork or seeking to enrich your practice, discover the joy of intentional breathing and learn how to confidently and safely pass these practices on to your family, friends and clients. 


Click here to find out more and to join today.


With calmness and compassion,

Lucy and Rachel, The Whole Health Project