Try Sucking Sour Candy, Therapist Says

  • Sucking on sour candy could stop your next panic attack, a trauma therapist shared on TikTok.
  • The mouth-puckering feeling will help distract from physical symptoms of panic.
  • Sensations like super-sour or freezing cold are key to stopping the panic cycle at its onset.

If you’re prone to panic attacks, you may want to stock up on sour candy to stave off your next episode.

Whether your heart is racing or your stomach is churning, focusing on your physical symptoms will only make a

panic attacks

worse, licensed trauma therapist Micheline Maalouf told Insider.

The sour sting of a Warhead or Toxic Waste candy may be shocking enough to distract you from feelings of panic and avoid a full-blown attack, Maalouf said in a TikTok for Better Help therapy.

Another TikTok user, m3monette, whose real name is Megan Michelle, filmed herself trying the hack on the brink of a panic attack. In the video, she explained that she rates her panic on a scale of 1 to 10, and when she reaches a 7, she can’t pull back from “the whole crying mess and freakout and everything.”

At the start of the video, Megan said she was at a 6 on that scale. After popping a Toxic Waste hard candy, she grimaced and paused the video for a beat. “I actually kind of feel better,” she said when she came back, still sucking on the candy.

Sour taste ‘shocks the senses’ and distracts from panic, Maalouf says

Maalouf, the trauma therapist and founder of Serein Counseling, suggested taking a super-sour candy as soon as you feel a panic attack coming on. Focus on the tart sensation instead of trying to stop your symptoms.

“Most of the time when someone is having a panic attack they are focused on stopping it or not making it worse,” Maalouf said. “But the problem is that the more we fight the panic, the worse it gets.”

Biting into something sour, spicy, or extremely salty can take your mind off of your shallow breathing or sweaty palms. Maalouf recommended popping an Extreme Sour Warhead for an especially mouth-puckering sensation.

“It shocks our senses into focusing on the sourness of the candy,” Maalouf told Insider. “It sort of puts us into a mindful moment using our sense of taste and shifts the focus away from our symptoms or whatever triggered the panic.”

People also use ice cubes for a similar grounding effect

In a separate video, Maalouf mentioned some other tricks that can stop your fight-or-flight response from going into overdrive.

The sensation of an ice cube on your neck or a freezing cold shower can offer a similar physical distraction. Texture also works — Maalouf said her favorite recent find is a spiky acupressure mat that she lies on to feel grounded.

Aly Raisman, the two-time Olympian gymnast, said in her recent Lifetime documentary that she holds an ice cube in her hand when she feels symptoms of panic coming on.

If you’re able to focus your attention elsewhere, you may be able to avoid a panic attack or at least stop it from getting worse, Maalouf told Insider.

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