Have you ever felt like the world is closing in on you, that no matter how hard you try there’s just nothing that can help stop your racing heart and pounding head? You’re not alone – an estimated 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders each year. Anxiety attacks are overwhelming and frightening experiences that can leave you feeling helpless and out of control. But although it may seem like these panic-filled moments will never end, there are actionable steps that can be taken to stop an anxiety attack in its tracks. In this article, we’ll outline some scientifically proven ways to break free from the bonds of fear and regain control over your emotions.
What is an anxiety attack?
Anxiety is a natural emotion that most people experience from time to time. It’s the body’s response to stress or danger and can be triggered by a variety of things, including a traumatic event or even every day worries. While anxiety is normal, an anxiety disorder is more severe and lasts for much longer than brief moments of fear and worry. People with an anxiety disorder often experience excessive and persistent feelings of fear, worry, and dread that can significantly interfere with everyday activities.
When these feelings become so intense or frequent as to be considered disabling, it’s known as an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks are sudden, overwhelming episodes of panic and fear that can leave you feeling helpless, out of control, and unable to think clearly. People who experience anxiety attacks may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, or tightness in the chest.
Identify the signs that an anxiety attack:
The signs that an anxiety attack is coming on can vary from person to person, but the most common are:
• Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
• Shaking or trembling
• Shortness of breath
• Nausea or stomach discomfort
• Feeling like one is choking or having difficulty breathing
• Feeling like one is going crazy or losing control
• Fear of dying or feeling detached from reality
• Chest pain or tightness.
Take some deep breaths and try to relax:
When an anxiety attack begins to take hold, the most important thing is to try and relax and focus on calming yourself down. This may be easier said than done when you’re already feeling overwhelmed with fear, but there are several techniques that can help.
• Slow your breathing: Take a few slow deep breaths in and out through your nose. Count to four as you inhale and then count to four as you exhale. This will help slow your heart rate, relax your muscles, and reduce feelings of panic.
• Progressive muscle relaxation: Start at your toes and work up through each body part in turn, tensing each muscle group for 5-10 seconds and then releasing it. This will help you become aware of tension in your body and help to reduce it.
• Visualize a calming place: Picture yourself in a peaceful, safe environment that helps to relax you. It could be a beach, forest, or somewhere else entirely – focus on the details of this place and let it take some of the intensity of the attack away.
• Talk to yourself: Remind yourself that this feeling will pass, and focus on positive mantras or reassurances that can help you let go of some of the fear.
Distract yourself by focusing on something else:
Sometimes the best way to break free of an anxiety attack is to distract yourself by focusing on something else. This could be anything from counting backward from 100 to focusing on a specific object and noting all the small details about it. Paying attention to something else can help you take your mind off of whatever was causing the distress, allowing you to gain control of your emotions.
Drink water or eat a healthy snack:
Drinking cold water or eating a healthy snack can help to bring your body back into balance, helping to reduce feelings of anxiety. Eating foods like oatmeal, almonds and other nuts, avocados, salmon and other fatty fish, chamomile tea, dark chocolate, and bananas can all help to boost serotonin levels in the brain – the hormone that regulates mood and emotion. Drinking plenty of water can help to regulate your body temperature and balance your electrolytes, which can help to reduce symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or dizziness.
Drink water or eat a healthy snack:
Drinking cold water or eating a healthy snack can go a long way in helping to reduce feelings of anxiety. Eating foods like oatmeal, almonds and other nuts, avocados, salmon and other fatty fish, chamomile tea, dark chocolate, and bananas can all help to boost serotonin levels in the brain – the hormone that regulates mood and emotion. Drinking plenty of water can help to regulate your body temperature and balance your electrolytes, which can help to reduce symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or dizziness.
Seek professional help if the attacks are becoming too frequent or severe:
If you are suffering from anxiety attacks that are frequent or severe, it is important to seek professional help. There is a range of treatments available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness techniques, and medication. Discussing your symptoms with a mental health professional can help you identify the root cause of your anxiety and find the most effective treatment for you.
Anxiety disorders can be overwhelming and distressing, but there are ways to manage them. By following the steps above, you can learn to cope with your anxiety and reduce its impact on your life. With proper help and support, it is possible to live an anxiety-free life – one where fear does not rule the day.
Anxiety disorders are common and can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. However, there are steps that can be taken to help manage the symptoms of anxiety. From deep breathing exercises to progressive muscle relaxation and visualizing calming places, these techniques can be used as part of a holistic approach to managing anxiety and helping to reduce panic attacks. Additionally, drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet can help to bring the body into balance, while seeking professional help can ensure that the right treatment is found. With support, individuals can learn to manage their anxiety and live an anxiety-free life.