Two of the quickest and most effective techniques I know of to relieve anxiety and panic attacks are to use a combination of breathing techniques and acupressure. You can learn techniques for breathing and acupressure for free online. By focusing attention on your breathing it literally changes your body chemistry and moves it into a more peaceful state. And it also diverts your thoughts away from the symptoms of anxiety and panic. All by itself this helps to prevent them from spiraling down into a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle. Let me share a couple of my favorite breathing techniques and then give you links to a couple of websites that give organized instructions for using acupressure along with incredibly detailed pictures and instructions for precisely locating the points to apply pressure on along the meridians.
Dr. Andrew Weil recommends a pranayama technique that has you breathe in through your nose to a count of 4 seconds, hold the breath lightly for a count of 7 seconds, and exhale slowly to a count of 8 seconds. That constitutes one cycle then you begin again. You don't need to be exact as far as the count being measured in seconds. It is the ratio of the breath to the holding of the breath to the exhale of the breath that is important, not that you measure the count exactly in units of seconds. So, in to a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, exhale completely to a count of 8 and repeat. Dr. Weil suggests that you first try 3 cycles of this. You can add more cycles as you become comfortable with the breathing rhythm. Ten cycles should be plenty to get a little relief from anxiety and panic.
The next technique is one that has been demonstrated to have a very positive effect on slowing the heart rate down and reducing blood pressure and it is even more simple than the first technique. Simply breathe in through the nose for 5 seconds then out through the nose for a count of 5 seonds (and yes, in this case you do want exact units of seconds, not just to a count of 5, so it might be helpful to look at a clock or timer at first until you get the pace down.) There is no holding of the breath in this technique. Five seconds in, 5 seconds out. You can practice this for as long as you like. After only a minute or two, especially if you are focusing intently on the breath you should feel the anxiety and panic substantially reduced.
Another technique known to calm the nervous system down is very similar. Breathe in through the nose for 6 seconds and out through the nose for 6 seconds, and units of seconds are also important in this technique. This rhythm helps to increase heart rate variability which is coming to be recognized by medical science as one of the key indicators to overall health of the body. The greater the variability the greater the health of the individual. In this technique it is also important to take the breath fairly deep down into the diaphragm and not just shallow into the top part of the lungs. This is another technique you can practice for as long as you like.
As far as acupressure, one of the best points to press on that I know is right on your breast bone about an inch and a half up from the bottom of the rib cage where it ends. It will probably feel like there is a slight depression in that spot when you feel for it. This one point is so good for relieving anxiety, panic and fear that its nickname in Chinese is something like "the well of tranquility." There are many other good points as well. You don't need to hit all of them. One or two or a few of them will probably be sufficient to produce near immediate relief. And you can press them or tap on them as often as you like. You really can't overdose like you can with pills and chemicals. Here are those sites that give all the great instructions:
PointFinder: The Online Acupressure Guide
Acupuncture . acuxo
If you combine the breathing with some acupressure, especially while listening to Lifeflow (even the free sample would help) you will have some very powerful tools to help you not just manage the symptoms but in time overcome the root causes of anxiety and panic.
Best wishes. I'm sure 2009 will be the year you put the issues with panic and anxiety behind you!