Stop A Panic Attack Fast: The 20 Second Countdown


Woman able to stop a panic attack fast

You’ve probably found yourself scouring google looking for techniques to stop a panic attack fast. Countless psychologists and doctors still teaching outdated methods for treating general anxiety disorder and panic attacks.

Everywhere you look there is some “expert” telling you to reach for that brown paper bag (who even has one handy?) or think happy thoughts, breathing techniques, etc. You’ve probably tried everything you can to stop a panic attack.

All of these “band-aids” are teaching you to cope with anxiety. Coping is just not enough. When these techniques fail it can make your hopes of defeating anxiety hopeless.

Here is an exercise that DOES work. This is a simple technique that will end the fear and stop a panic attack fast. This is an excellent exercise for someone who want to something practical to focus their attention on when they feel the rise of a panic attack building.

The 20 Second Countdown. How to Stop A Panic Attack Fast.

When the sensations of a panic attack start to come into your awareness, do the following.

Tell the panic attack it has 20 seconds to have a full blown attack. Exactly 20 seconds and no more. After 20 seconds are complete it has to stop making empty threats.

You are only giving the panic attack 20 seconds to do its thing but not a second more.

Whatever body sensation you fear, you’re telling the panic attack it must happen within those 20 seconds.

  • If you think your heart is going to explode, it has 20 seconds to do it.
  • If you’re going to lose all control and run around with your hair on fire, 20 seconds.
  • If you’re going to pass out, 20 seconds! After that times up.

You get the idea.

When you set a specific time frame, you establish boundaries of control. You’re able to turn the anxiety into a game where you call its bluff. If this were a poker game, you are telling the anxiety to show its hand.

The magic behind this trick is that it puts you in the driver’s seat. You are in control of your body and mind.

You think to yourself, ” I am not prepared to spend my time worrying about this. Enough. I’ll be generous and give the anxiety 20 seconds to do its worst. After that, I’m going back to what I was doing.”

Then begin counting.. Nice and slowly. Be sure not to rush yourself. Slow it down as much as possible like you’re scolding a child for acting out. Even drag it out so long like you’re never going to reach 20.

The reality is you know there is nothing to fear at all.

To have fun with this technique, break the numbers into fractions.




2..and three quarters….

2…and a half………


1…and three quarters.. (ok anxiety, last chance)

1…and a half……(sorry anxiety, I’m done)



Game over. Sorry, we’ve reached the end!

Not rushing through the countdown is the real secret to making this work. You feel your confidence soar because you are showing real control and authority over your anxious feelings and body sensations. You are saying, “Look, I’m really trying to give you all the time to unleash ________ but I’m really busy so you only get 20 seconds. I’m a very generous person.”

Count your way to freedom. Count your way to confidence.

This is how you stop a panic attack fast.

If this technique is working for you, there is a whole program to attack anxiety at its source so that you won’t need to play games with anxiety at all.

Start with this FREE audio download:

Remember, you are not alone. I am proof that this program WORKS. Read my story here.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are experiencing severe or persistent anxiety, please consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance and support.

Henry Flury

Henry Flury, the guitarist from Butcher Babies, shares his journey of overcoming panic attacks to help others facing the same issue. He started writing to fill the gap in panic attack education online. His blog focuses on understanding anxious thoughts and offers guidance on managing panic attacks for anyone dealing with panic disorder.


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