An anxiety attack is a frightening experience.  Your heart races, your breath becomes short, and you feel a sense of dread -- even if you have no reason to.  You may not always be able to avoid an anxiety attack, but there are steps you can take to calm yourself down and feel better during one.  One of these ways is through grounding yourself to the present.

Grounding yourself to the present is helpful because people often feel anxious about things that happened in the past or will happen in the future.  By reminding yourself that you are in the present, where nothing can hurt you, you can help yourself overcome the attack.  The easiest way to achieve this is to focus on your senses and how they are experiencing the world around you.  Not only will this help to keep you in the present, but it will also help to distract your thoughts away from the anxiety attack.

First, focus on what you are seeing.  If you are in a room, notice what color the walls are, how many windows there are, and what sorts of decorations might be hanging on the walls.  See if there is anything unusual or interesting about the room you are in.  If it helps, you can say what you notice out loud.

Next, focus on listening.  It's easy for many people to become so distracted by tasks or entertainment that they don't stop to listen to the ambiance of a room.  Is there a clock ticking?  Water dripping from a fountain or fish tank?  Maybe there is noise coming from outside.  Try to listen to as much as you can until you can't notice anything else.

Now move on to your sense of smell.  Although not always the case, different rooms, buildings, and locations often have a unique scent to them.  Is there anything unique about the smell of where you are?  Perhaps you can smell food, or maybe furniture polish or clean laundry.

Finally, if you have improved so far, you can try to explore with your sense of touch.  Your hands are almost always touching something.  Maybe the bed, a chair, a wall, or your clothes.  How would you describe the texture of what you are feeling?  Soft?  Hard?  Smooth?  Fuzzy?  Feel its temperature as well.

Engaging all your senses like this should take a few moments.  Hopefully, by the time you've finished, you'll feel better.  Remember, if you feel anxious often and it's interfering with your life, you may want to see a doctor for other treatment methods.