15 hidden habits that can trigger a panic attack

15 hidden habits that can trigger a panic attack

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A panic attack involves an overwhelming sense of fear, paranoia, and anxiety, which builds up along with palpitations, sweating, and even breathing difficulties. They are very unpleasant, and those who obtain them can often attest to how exhausting and scary they can be.

If you get panic attacks on a regular basis, you may be doing certain things that contribute to your risk for them.



Sometimes things feel so much bigger than they really are. Sometimes we can all exaggerate a problem by overthinking it and making it seem much bigger than it actually is. This is called catastrophizing, which is the misinterpretation of physical events or sensations that are considerably worse than they actually are. These misinterpretations can become triggers for a panic attack.

It is often the case that many people with anxiety cannot tell the difference between what is possible and what is likely. They may view something extremely unlikely as a cause for concern, even though the risks are minimal. As an example, panic attacks can be triggered by:

-Assuming a heart palpitation that you feel is a heart attack

-Thinking that something bad happened to your partner because you haven't heard from him for a while

-Assuming someone hates you because they have not yet responded to your message


Social media and the Internet have provided many benefits, including connecting with distant friends and family. But an excessive amount of time on social media can be extremely detrimental to mental health and positive thinking, especially in relation to anxiety. Here's what could happen if you stay on social media for too long:

  • -You can start comparing yourself to what you see others post about themselves
  • -You could care more about the things you read online that others might have shared on their pages
  • -Others may attack you for bad phrases, personal opinions or appearances
  • -You can trigger a panic attack from all the negativity you are exposing yourself to


Driving can be very stressful, so it's no wonder people can experience road rage that almost seems to completely change their personality. This type of anger is especially prevalent when you are late or stuck in traffic.

However, getting angry on the road is pointless and only serves to increase your heart rate, as well as to tense your muscles and send your body into full anxiety mode. Experiencing all this stress can make you feel even more anxious, which can trigger a panic attack.


Everyone needs time to rest and recover, as rest is an important part of managing anxiety. Therefore, over-commitment carries the danger of eliminating all free time, thereby reducing the time that could have been used for rejuvenation.

No matter your schedule, there is always a way to get some rest. This will keep your anxiety levels low and will also promote better overall health.


Hyperventilation is one of the main symptoms of a panic attack, and ironically, it can also trigger one. When you hyperventilate, your breathing becomes fast and shallow. Then your body sends a signal to your brain to tell you that something is wrong. This can turn into a vicious cycle: hyperventilation causes panic, leading to more hyperventilation.

A positive way to overcome this is through diaphragmatic breathing, which can effectively control your breathing and stop the attack. Diaphragmatic breathing is the process of inhaling through the nose for four seconds, exhaling through the mouth for six seconds, and finally pausing for two seconds before repeating the cycle at least three times.


Magnification can be defined as the act of making an event more serious than it was initially. This can lead you down a mental path that believes that current events are ending the world, even when they are simply unfavorable.

As an example, people with phobias often tell themselves that if they experience their phobias, it can kill or seriously injure them. Of course, this is not usually the case for most phobias. This style of thinking can be overcome with positive thinking, but it takes a lot of effort! Here are some examples of extended declarations:

  • -Any elevator can fall at any time, resulting in death.
  • -Brushing trash with bare skin can cause germs to contaminate the body and kill it through infection or disease.
  • -Touching an insect will cause serious danger and death by unknown means.


Skipping meals can lead to serious drops in blood sugar, which can lead to energy and mood crashes. Naturally, this can lead to bouts of anxiety, increasing the likelihood of a panic attack. Remember, eating a balanced diet is crucial for positive health, and skipping meals will only harm you in the long run. Always remember:

  • -Eat constantly
  • -Make sure your meals are nutritious
  • -Eat something on the go if you are too busy for larger meals


There is a clear link between your mental health and your diet. Bad foods affect your entire body, and your brain is a part of your body after all. Poor nutrition can lead to panic attacks as your body struggles to regulate your intake.

Opt for high-protein meals with moderate whole grain carbohydrates to increase energy and serotonin. Avoid:

  • -Foods with high sugar content.
  • -Processed foods
  • -Fat-free food
  • -Fried food
  • -Alcoholic drinks


Procrastination can be a short-term solution to some anxiety relief, but overdoing it can be addictive and can form a habit that is very difficult to break. If you keep putting things off until the last minute, stress will build up over time and panic attacks will become more common.


Overthinking and over-analyzing a situation can cause a disconnect from reality. A simple little thing can be turned over and over again until it is no longer what it originally was, but an amalgam of anxiety and fear. Needless to say, this can, eventually, trigger a panic attack. Here are some examples of situations in which you may overthink:

-After a social interaction, you overthink every word you said and every reaction you received from them and finally come to the conclusion that these people didn't like you

-Spilling something on a friend or family member and fear that this action has caused them to hate or report it as clumsy.

-I spent hours analyzing a gesture a colleague showed you, trying to decide if it was positive or not, with no real way to find out.


For those who often deal with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, it may seem like the safest thing to do is to isolate yourself. However, isolation is not a solution to your mental health problems, and it can even make panic symptoms worse.

Loneliness is bad for both your mental and physical health, and it can even shorten your lifespan, increase stress levels, and weaken your immune system. As such, some socialization is needed to ensure the health of the body and mind. When you can, you should make spending time with your family or friends a regular effort.

But what about the days when you feel like you just can't do anything? You can still try to be productive without socializing, which will be infinitely better for your health. You can:

  • -Go for a walk.
  • -Participate in hobbies you love
  • -Do chores around the house.
  • -Have a day of self-care
  • -Visiting the mall to go shopping.
  • -Watch a movie in a cinema
  • -Eat in a restaurant that you have wanted to try.


It is often said that it is harder to fight something you fear, and the same goes for panic attacks. In a twisted sense of irony, panic attacks can be self-reinforcing, which means that being worried about them can trigger them, and triggering them can be scary.

If mishandled, this turns into destructive patterns overtime. As such, work to stay positive. Understand that panic attacks are not the end of the world and can be managed if you have the courage to face them.


Emotional reasoning is what happens when your brain comes to a conclusion based on your feelings, regardless of whether it is rooted in a rational truth or not. Just because you feel something, that doesn't mean it's true!

Instead of responding emotionally to everything, first gather facts, information, and evidence. Take some time to breathe, then approach the situation from a logical angle before reaching your conclusion.


They say that a healthy body creates a healthy mind, and they are right! Exercise can be of great help in keeping your brain healthy and promoting positive thinking. This is because exercise releases positive chemicals, known as hormones, such as dopamine and endorphins. These feel-good hormones make you feel wonderful. Here are some other examples of what exercise can do:

  • -Increasing libido
  • -Improving posture
  • -Reduction of the risk of disease.
  • -Improvement of cognitive function
  • -Reduce fatigue

When you don't exercise, what you are doing is causing your body and mind to slip into a depression. This pattern can make you more susceptible to developing panic attacks, as you cannot work with nervous energy or increase good hormone production.


Drawing to conclusions is the act of rushing toward a finished thought without the support of sufficient evidence or information. It is somewhat similar to emotional reasoning, but this does not require strong feelings, it just requires a lack of knowledge.

When you jump to conclusions, you allow your brain to take great leaps in logic to arrive at decisions and ideas. When these ideas and decisions are negative, they can trigger panic attacks due to their abruptness. Here are some scenarios that illustrate how this can affect you:

  • -By finding out that you answered a question incorrectly on an exam, you believe that you failed the exam.
  • -That a friend leaves you the "seen" makes you believe that he is ignoring you due to something inconsequential.
  • -After receiving half a report about something that affects you, you are already ten steps in the wrong direction and looking for solutions that will be ineffective.


Panic attacks can be rare, they can be frequent, and they can be a symptom of a disorder. If you experience panic attacks that are severe, impede your daily life, or are very frequent, talk to a doctor or mental health professional.

Video: Panic Attacks At Night. Nocturnal Panic Attacks - Explained and How You Find Relief! (January 2023).