Everyone who has experienced anxiety and panic attacks doesn’t like the sensation and fear that it creates in the mind and body. However, anxiety is a natural response to stress or potential threats. It’s the body’s way of preparing to face a challenging situation, often called the “fight or flight” response. While anxiety can be adaptive, it can become a problem when it is excessive, persistent, and disrupts daily life. When anxiety escalates to an intense and sudden peak, it’s called a panic attack. Extreme fear, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and other distressing symptoms characterize panic attacks. Find out more about how to deal with anxiety and panic attacks to live a balanced, grounded life.
One of the most effective strategies for managing anxiety and panic attacks is learning to control your breathing. Shallow, rapid breathing can exacerbate symptoms; practice deep, diaphragmatic breathing to counter this. In your favorite meditative spot, sit or lie down. Start breathing deeply through your nose, inhaling and exhaling. Place a hand on your chest and abdomen if you want to feel the breath moving in and out of you. Repeat this process for as long as you want, feeling yourself affected by your breath’s rhythm.
Deep breathing helps calm your nervous system and reduce feelings of anxiety or panic. It also has many other benefits, like boosting your immune system, improving digestion, and more.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT has become quite popular in recent years, and it focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviors. A CBT therapist helps individuals recognize the irrational beliefs that contribute to their anxiety and then teaches them how to replace those thoughts with more rational and positive ones. CBT can be done in individual or group therapy settings and is known for its long-lasting benefits.
In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage anxiety and panic attacks. Medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines are commonly used; however, they should be considered a last resort or combined with other therapies to avoid potential side effects and dependency. As much as possible, try all the recommended techniques and work with a medical professional before going the medication route.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation techniques focus on staying present in the moment rather than worrying about the past or the future. Practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi encourage self-awareness, relaxation, and stress reduction. Regular mindfulness practice can help individuals develop greater control over their thoughts and emotions.
Physical activity is a natural stress reliever. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, can help reduce anxiety and promote overall well-being. Find something that you enjoy and that you will stick to for a long time to come. You want to make this physical activity a part of your daily routine.
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
Certain dietary and lifestyle changes can help manage anxiety and panic attacks. Limiting caffeine and alcohol, which can exacerbate anxiety, can be beneficial. A balanced diet provides essential nutrients that support health and emotional well-being. Getting adequate sleep and reducing stress through relaxation techniques can also make a significant difference.
Support groups provide a sense of community and understanding as they bring together individuals facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences and strategies with others who have dealt with anxiety or panic attacks can be reassuring and empowering. Knowing that you are not alone can be a powerful balm. Online and in-person support groups are available for various anxiety disorders.
Visualization is a technique that involves imagining a peaceful and calming place or scenario. Close your eyes and mentally transport yourself to a tranquil setting, such as a beach, a forest, or a meadow. Visualize the sights, sounds, and sensations of this place. Allow it to replace anxious thoughts and feelings with a sense of calm and tranquility.
Effective time management can reduce stress and anxiety. Creating a schedule that allows for both work and leisure ensures you don’t become overwhelmed with responsibilities. Prioritize tasks and break them down into manageable steps to prevent feeling inundated.
Exposure therapy is often used to treat specific phobias or fears. It involves gradual exposure to the feared object or situation, allowing the individual to become desensitized to it over time. Exposure therapy is typically done under the guidance of a trained therapist.
Live Without Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Just because you have lived with your anxiety and panic attacks till now doesn’t mean that they need to stay with you forever. It’s time to let them go by using the techniques mentioned above.
Not every single one will work for you, but once you find the one that does, stick with it and stay consistent.
At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we offer specialized programs that help with various mental health conditions. Contact us to learn how we can help with anxiety and panic attacks so you can live a happy and fulfilling life.