What Are Anxiety Attacks And How Can You Deal With Them?
Anxious feelings are a natural part of life. Anxiety itself is a normal part of life. When you struggle with an anxiety disorder, however, the feelings that you may be experiencing can be more amplified and problematic.
When feelings of panic, fear, excessive worrying, and maybe even terror begin interfering with everyday life, it can result in unhealthy consequences.
What Is An Anxiety Attack?
When anxious feelings are out of proportion to the present situation and circumstances, they can lead to an anxiety attack. A trigger that poses no real danger brings on this episode, but your mind and body perceive it to be one.
You can feel your heart racing and hear your blood moving through your body. Your vision gets blurry (or altered to some degree). Breathing becomes more shallow and you have feelings of clamminess and discomfort. You may notice your heart beating even faster as the attack progresses.
In some instances, your symptoms may be uncontrollable and you will find yourself with tunneled vision, seeing stars, or even blacking out.
If that sounds familiar, you may have suffered from an anxiety attack. Fear not, there are methods you can implement to manage your symptoms and return to life activities.
How to Help Anxiety Attacks
When you feel an anxiety attack start to rev up, one of the first things you can do is to attempt to ground yourself in the present. A misconstrued situation amps up your anxiety.
If you don’t know where to start, try using a five senses exercise or the 54321 methods:
Look around your immediate environment. What are five things you see?
What are four things you can touch?
Paying attention to each one, what are three things you can hear?
What are two things you can smell?
If possible, what is one thing you can taste?
Another thing to incorporate at the beginning of an anxiety attack, when possible, is breath work. When your body is under stress, your breathing often becomes unconsciously altered. You may find yourself with more shallow and rapid breathing or even holding your breath.
Getting sufficient oxygen is essential to managing your body’s stress response. Focus on taking deep, slower breaths. You may need to give yourself physical cues or use a guided technique to breathe correctly.
An easy starting method is a box technique. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, then hold for a count of four. Repeat as many cycles as necessary.
Research shows that exercise can ward off negative feelings and mental health struggles. When you’re feeling anxious, a movement break can be helpful to ease your mind.
Any exercise is helpful at this time, but a thirty-minute session can boost your endorphins and serotonin levels, the happy hormones and the chemicals that help your brain talk to your body.
The type of exercise doesn’t necessarily matter, so find an activity that works for you:
Go for a walk or a jog
Do a yoga routine
Take a dance break
Lift some heavy stuff
Your brain will have more difficulty multitasking while exercising, which can become a distraction from whatever is triggering your anxiety attack.
During an anxiety attack, what you put into your body matters. Avoid caffeine beverages since they can spike your nervous system and create more nervous energy. Increase your water intake to ensure your body stays hydrated (also reduces stressors).
Take those snack breaks, but be mindful of the type of food you’re fueling your body with. Stick to fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fats rather than sugar.
If you’re struggling with anxiety attacks and these strategies aren’t managing your symptoms, consult us today at (512) 400-4247 for a more in-depth for a free 10-minute phone consultation or to schedule an appointment for anxiety therapy.