How To Deal With Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.
Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.
The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.
They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.
Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.
Set Small Achievable Goals
Anxiety sufferers tend to set unrealistically high expectations for themselves. To counteract this tendency, set goals that you can easily accomplish. This builds your confidence and your sense of accomplishment.
When you are learning skills to handle stress and reduce your anxiety, small steps work best. For example, if your goal is to integrate deep breathing into your life, start by practicing for one-minute intervals three or four times a day instead of for an hour all at once.
Setting small, achievable goals will help will take you farther than you can imagine over time. It will help you reach your final destination: a happier, low-anxiety life.
How To Get Rid Of Anxiety So You Can Sleep Better
If youre struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, it could be that treating the anxiety will help solve your insomnia and lack of sleep as well. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a licensed therapist or medical professional, and these professionals can also help you find treatment regimens as well as, potentially, medications to control the condition. You should not try to self-medicate for anxiety disorders, and should only medicate per the medical advice and supervision of a psychiatrist.
One of the most common and effective treatments for anxiety disorders is continued and guided therapy with a professional counselor or therapist.
The branch of therapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be effective for many people, as it helps patients suffering from anxiety disorders create new, positive thought pathways that can help when in anxious situations. There are three different types of CBT, each with an individualized approach in treatment, including interpersonal therapy, thought records, and modern exposure therapy.
Another form of therapy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, also known as ACT. This form of therapy is more focused on mindfulness training and taking action based on personal values, and is unique in that it is not focused on symptom reduction.
Shifting Your Perspective
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How To Handle A Panic Attack
Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you.
“Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says. “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.”
He says don’t look for distractions. “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, it’s important to try to remain in the situation until the anxiety has subsided.”
“Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen.”
As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before.
“If youre having a short, sudden panic attack, it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Professor Salkovskis.
How To End An Anxiety Or Panic Attack
An anxiety attack can be terrifying, but it wont kill you. If you want to overcome it, take a deep breath and know it will end soon.
“Anxiety” is a general term that describes a variety of experiences, including nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry, that are common in several mental health disorders. While most of us have anxiety at some time, this is completely different from an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Normal feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear often have a known trigger . But when you’re having a full blown panic attack or anxiety attack, the symptoms chest pain, flushing skin, racing heart, and difficulty breathing can make you feel as though you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. The reality is, you wont. The key to surviving is to learn all you can about anxiety attacks and practice the skills you need to get through them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of an anxiety attack include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Trembling or shaking
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers practical strategies in how to deal with stress and anxiety attacks, including:
- Accept that you cannot control everything.
- Do your best.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety.
Here’s how to stop an anxiety attack and recover.
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Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger
Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.
Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!
The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.
Meditate And Practice Mindfulness
A main goal of meditation is full awareness of the present moment, which includes noticing all thoughts in a nonjudgmental way. This can lead to a sense of calm and contentment by increasing your ability to mindfully tolerate all thoughts and feelings.
Meditation is known to relieve stress and anxiety and is a primary facet of CBT.
Research from John Hopkins suggests 30 minutes of daily meditation may alleviate some anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.
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Why Do I Keep Waking Up With Anxiety
One of the most frustrating parts about morning anxiety is that there usually isnt an obvious cause or trigger.
Heres the critical key idea you need to understand if you want to know why you keep waking up with anxiety:
Theres a big difference between the initial cause of your morning anxiety and the maintaining cause.
Any number of factors can cause morning anxiety initially:
- A period of high stress
- Relationship conflict
- Physical illness or medical issues
But theres usually only one thing that maintains morning anxiety and keeps it going: the habit of worry.
Almost always, the pattern with morning anxiety looks like this:
To sum up:
Many things can cause morning anxiety initially, but its worrying about being anxious that keeps you waking up with anxiety.
Well talk about some practical ways to break this habit of worry and escape the cycle of morning anxiety in the final section of this guide.
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:
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I Outsmart Your Brooding Ways
1. Fire the What-ifs Committee inside your brain. One of the most difficult tasks is talking yourself out focusing on the danger that threatens you. In reality, it is not menacing and may not even exist. Anxiety is not actually fear, because fear is based on something right in front of you, a real and objective danger. Becoming aware of defaulting to worst-case scenarios will help you avoid being trapped in an endless loop of what-ifs.
2. Control your inner dialogue. Check your vocabulary for unhealthy words such as hate, stupid, always, never, ugly, unlovable, defective, and broken. Replace black-or-white language with more neutral terms.
3. Fall in love with the Cognitive-Behavioral Triangle.Anxious people often feel attacked by their feelings. In reality, feelings come after a thought. Being aware of your thought process is crucial, especially because some thoughts are core beliefs, or internalized scripts that are ingrained and automatic. If you struggle with overreacting in the heat of the moment, its likely because unhealthy feelings lead to the same ol unhealthy behaviors. Remember the following diagram:
Thoughts > Feelings > Behaviors
For extra support about rewiring your thoughts, check out this in-depth article.
How To Stop Thinking About Anxiety: Create A Calm Mind Plan
Borrowing from the idea of a Life Stability Plan , you can create a calm mind plan. This is a plan for replacing thoughts about anxiety with positive affirmations for anxiety relief, which bring a sense of contentment.
As you create your plan of thoughts and action, think of who you are at your core, beyond anxiety. What brings you joy? What induces a sense of peace despite anxiety? What are your strengths? Interests? Use what you love to take the necessary action to replace your thoughts about anxiety with thoughts about the good in your life.
Consider the following elements for your calm mind plan:
- What self-care practices can you incorporate into your everyday life?
- What are some positive activities that you enjoy? Make a list and do at least one thing daily.
- How can you cultivate a sense of awe, an appreciation for something greater, something beautiful that captures your attention and thoughts? Examples include stargazing, water , art, music, and much more. Awe clears away inner turmoil with a wave of outer immensity .
- Get outside. Nature calms mind and body and reduces stress. Both soothing and invigorating, nature shifts our thoughts away from anxiety.
Self-care, being a distant observer of your thoughts, and creating a calm mind plan are intentional actions that enhance each other. Together, they comprise an effective plan for how to stop thinking about your anxiety.
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Ways To Help You Stop Overthinking
To assist with the self-help process, here are 10 ways to help you stop overthinking:
1. Instead of dwelling on what can go wrong, think about what can go right.
Just because we can imagine something bad can happen doesnt mean it actually can. Imagination is just that: conjuring up the imaginary. But dwelling on the negative does cause instant stress. Chronic stress has been linked to many medical and mental health issues.
Changing the direction of your thinking can illuminate possibilities rather than negatives. Having possibilities fosters hope and determination, which can insulate the body from unnecessary stress.
2. Distract yourself with a hobby, visiting with loved ones and friends, or doing something that makes you happy, etc.
Being distracted with positive influences is a great way to change the channel on overthinking.
3. Take a nap.
Research shows that sleep declutters the mind making way for clearer thinking. Taking a nap is a great way to clear the mind and stop overthinking.
Taking a nap also reduces stress.
4. Sleep on it.
As mentioned previously, sleep clears the mind of clutter. Rather than staying up and trying to come up with a solution, pause your thinking and sleep on it. You might be surprised at how clear a solution is in the morning.
5. Put it into perspective.
6. Nothing is perfect, so stop waiting for the perfect decision.
7. Everyone makes mistakes. Thats normal.
8. Accept your best and expect the rest.
Bonus Tip Practice mindfulness
You Have The Power To End Anxiety Attacks Anytime You Want
Since anxiety attacks are caused by specific reasons, we can end them by addressing those reason. For instance, voluntary anxiety attacks are caused by overly apprehensive behavior, such as worry and imagining the worst. If you imagine you are in grave danger, your body will respond as if it actually is in danger.
Moreover, if you think you are safe and in a peaceful environment, your body will also respond as if it actually is.
Therefore, you control how your body responds by the types of thoughts you think. If you want to feel calm and relaxed, think calm and relaxed thoughts. Then, wait for your body to respond accordingly.
Keep in mind that once stress hormones are in the bloodstream, they will have an effect until your body uses them up or expels them. Similar to how it takes time for the body to burn off the effects of caffeine, which is a stimulant, it will also take time for the body to burn off the effects of a stress response.
But if you remain calm and patient in spite of how stimulated your body feels, it will use up the stress hormones and youll gradually feel better again.
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