Power Players

'Million Dollar Listing' star Ryan Serhant suffered panic attacks—the trick he used to stop them can help anyone with stress

Jim Spellman | Getty Images

Ryan Serhant, a top realtor and star of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing New York," seems to have his stuff together. But despite appearances and all his success, Serhant reveals he used to suffer from debilitating anxiety. And the technique he used to control it can help with everyday stress too.

"I used to have panic attacks," Serhant says on LinkedIn. "I also used to have these moments where in the middle of the day, all of a sudden, I would feel completely empty and sad. Like a wave of dread would just wash over me."

"Almost felt like I was falling and I wouldn't do anything, or talk to anyone," he adds, saying that it would last for about an hour.

Serhant, 34, isn't alone: A national poll by the American Psychiatric Association found that 2018 saw sharply increased levels of anxiety, with millennials more anxious than other generations.

However, Serhant's sister, Misty, taught him a technique that helped him overcome those overwhelming feelings, one he still uses to help with stress to this day.

When Serhant started to feel overwhelmed or empty, he would sit down, take three deep breaths, and then make two lists.

"List 1 is everything BAD that's going on," he says on LinkedIn. "Everything that scares me RIGHT NOW. List 2 is everything GOOD that's happening."

It doesn't matter how trivial those good things might seem, just write them down, he says.

"You had a good breakfast? Write that down," Serhant says. "Saw a fun movie? Write it down. Have a better YEAR this year than than last? Even if today sucks? Write that down."

"I promise you, if you really do it and you really think about it, the positives will always outweigh the negatives. Always," Serhant says in a video accompanying the LinkedIn post. In just a matter of days, the post has garnered over 2,400 likes and over 90,000 views.

Serhant emphasizes that he is not a doctor and his technique is not a cure or a replacement for professional mental health treatment, but it's something that has worked for him. And some studies have shown that writing down the things you're grateful for can help with anxiety and writing thoughts about a traumatic or stressful experience can be a useful coping mechanism. 

"It helps put everything in perspective," Serhant says. "Makes you focus on the positives."

Don't miss: 'Million Dollar Listing' star Ryan Serhant shares the morning routine that sets him up for success

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Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns Bravo.

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