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Anxiety is very common. Some types of anxiety are healthy, but you may be living with an anxiety disorder if it starts to overwhelm your everyday life. It can strike in many forms; incessant worry, panic attacks, and fear of social situations, to name a few.
Anxiety is actually part of our natural survival instinct. It triggers the fight-or-flight response, which makes us feel worked up and alerts us that we could be in danger or that something bad could happen. However, when the feared situation is nerve-racking but not truly life-threatening, such as an important meeting with a boss, the fight-or-flight system can be quite uncomfortable to experience.
Conquering Anxiety and Panic Attacks
So, how to cope with anxiety attacks? In order to be the most of yourself and the most empowered in your life, you have to take care of your mental health. That means finding ways of coping with anxiety and panic attacks and calming yourself down. Here is a list of strategies, developed by experts, which you can adopt in those moments when you start to feel overwhelmed, when you feel triggered emotionally, and your anxiety starts to build.
Breathe it out.
Take some time out and breathe. It sounds obvious, but focusing on your breathing can help calm you down. The reason why health experts encourage deep breaths is it increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, which helps calm your nervous system.
A simple place to start is with the 4-7-8 breathing method. This means breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7, and breathing out for 8. By focusing on your breathing, it’s easier to ignore any bad thoughts trying to creep their way into your subconscious.
Practice positive thinking.
If you’re feeling anxious, go outside and get some fresh air. Start listening to your favorite relaxing music while going for a brisk walk. Try to take your mind away from what’s bothering you. Focus on positive thoughts that will make you feel safe, accepted, loved, and honored. And, reflect on how fortunate and blessed you actually are.
Exercise can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. A study by the University of Leeds showed that both aerobic and non-aerobic exercise can help reduce anxiety symptoms. Whether it’s a brisk stroll around the block or a spin class at your local gym, get moving to feel calmer.
Talk about it.
Just talking to your family or someone about how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, then work out what you want to say to them.
Focus on the present.
Have you ever noticed that feeling stressed or anxious often coincides with dwelling on the past or worrying about the future? Simply focus your mind on the present moment can help you feel a little more relaxed.
Repeat soothing words.
Chanting not only focuses on the mind but also reduces heart rate and blood pressure, both of which spike when you’re anxious. And the practice stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps regulate mood. Not sure what to chant? Try to say to yourself, “I am OK. These feelings will pass.”
Face your fear.
By exposing yourself to whatever it is you fear, it loses its power and control over you. No matter what it is that you fear, if you literally submerge yourself in it for a long enough period of time, the illusion of fear will eventually be gone. That weakness becomes your great strength. When you figure out the thing that you fear, it’s usually the most important thing you need to make yourself or your business successful.
What we eat and how we eat it are closely associated with our emotions and mental health. Vegetables and fruit almost always contain more vitamins and minerals than highly processed foods or snack foods and that’s a plus for mental health.
Medication is effective for some anxiety disorders, but it isn’t right for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you’re wondering if medication is an option for you. If you’re prescribed with medication for your anxiety disorder, keep track of how you’re feeling each day. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any side effects.
Talk to a professional.
If you continue to suffer from severe anxiety despite implementing some of the natural methods, you can get in touch with one of our doctors in Premier Health & Wellness Center. Our doctors will be able to help you manage triggers and symptoms of anxiety. They may also prescribe medication to help manage your mental health.
Remember, it’s always okay to ask for help. In fact, asking for help is brave. Try talking to our doctors to learn more about ways to handle anxiety and take care of your mental health.
Schedule your appointment today or visit us at 38 King Street, Hamilton, Bermuda.