How to Handle a Panic Attack at Work

Focus on your breathing, stay put and write down your thoughts.

KOSTA LIGRIS WAS training a new associate at the Boston law firm he'd founded when he was suddenly hit by a panic attack. "I got lightheaded in the middle of talking to him," Ligris, 42, says, recalling that the employee he was training "freaked out."

Fortunately, Ligris, who at the time had already been coping with panic attacks for a few years, knew what was happening and what to do. While the young lawyer stepped away to get him a glass of water, Ligris focused on his breathing to regain a sense of calm, employing a technique he knew from experience to be effective. By the time the associate returned, Ligris says he was feeling much better. When he first began experiencing panic attacks, about eight years ago, Ligris says he was far more worried in the moment about his symptoms. "Once you know what it is, it disarms it," he says.

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