Even if they only last a few minutes, panic attacks can be overwhelming and disabling. Write in a panic diary while you're having the attack to calm yourself and get through it. The act of recording your symptoms and other details could help distance you from the feelings of the attack. Dr David Carbonell of AnxietyCoach.com says:
My patients often report that just filling out a diary helps them to calm down. How does this work? It's not that they're distracted from the subject of panic, because the diary questions are all about panic. It helps you get a little distance from your emotions. It works because, while you complete a diary, you're in the role of an observer, rather than feeling like a victim.
The best way to use the diary is to fill it out during the attack, rather than after. If you're in a situation where writing is impractical, perhaps while driving a car, you can: use a digital recorder; have your support person read the questions to you and record your answers; or pull over for a few minutes to write.
Dr Carbonell offers a downloadable form you can use for your diary, as well as many other suggestions using the AWARE acronym: Acknowledge and accept, Wait and watch, Actions to make yourself more comfortable, Repeat, End. (More details at the link below.)
In addition to giving you a little more distance from the panic attack, the diary might help you identify patterns to help you manage or avoid possible future panic attacks.
The Key to Overcoming Panic Attacks [AnxietyCoach.com]