a therapist i saw in high school recommended i keep a “panic attack journal” using this format. it can help you figure out what exactly gives you a panic attack, or even what makes you anxious even if you don’t necessarily experience an attack. it can also help serve as a distraction or as a coping method. this is just a basic format that works for me; please edit this to suit you and your needs. i recommend speaking with your therapist, doctor, or counselor (whomever works with you to help manage your anxiety) before keeping a panic attack journal, to help determine if keeping one would benefit you.

below is the transcription for people who can’t see the image, or can’t read my handwriting.

[image: a photo of handwritten text on wide-ruled white-lined notebook paper. the text reads as follows:

panic attack journal

  • date, time and duration (example: 12 november, 1:45-1:53 PM) (it’s ok to approximate)
  • location (example: my bedroom, grocery store, math class)
  • triggers - things you know set off attack (example: large crowds, thinking about something) and/or things you suspect set off attack (example: homework, an argument you had with someone)
  • thoughts - what you remember thinking before and after the attack (it’s okay to not remember)
  • feelings - what you remember feeling before and after the attack (it’s okay to not remember or not know the words to use)
  • what you did to get through the attack/calm down (example: talked to someone, did breathing exercises)
  • how well what you did worked
  • how you feel now that the attack has subsided (example: tired, relieved, empty, better)
  • anything you did to take care of yourself after (example took a bath, made some tea, talked to someone) ]

things that are totally normal after panic attacks!

  • crying. this is the way a lot of bodies cope with emotional stress and it’s okay to need to cry even after you think the panic attack has passed and you’re fine now
  • feeling sleepy. panic attacks take a lot of emotional and even physical energy even if you don’t feel like you’re doing anything! your body has to work hard to make your muscles tense up and your heart beat faster
  • being hungry, for the same reasons above
  • being grumpy or feeling angry. you’re probably tired, per above, and being in a panic attack causes many people to throw up emotional barriers to help cope with the feelings of fear and panic.

none of these things mean you are weak or bad or that there is anything wrong with you! if you are getting over a panic attack, please allow yourself recovery time if you can, as soon as you can. 

sip a drink to tell your brain that there’s no threat, and you don’t need to be on edge. get yourself a snack if you need one. and, if you can, let yourself take a nap. your brain wants extra time to file away all the information associated with the panic attack, to compartmentalize it so it doesn’t stress you out as much anymore. let it do that without having to worry about other stuff for a bit, sleep is the best for that!