Monday, February 25, 2013

7 Steps to help You deal with Anxiety

Have you ever been in a situation that brought on sweats, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath? In most cases, you probably weren't having a heart attack but instead, you were experiencing an anxiety attack.

I can recall my very first anxiety attack which was three years ago {October 10, 2010 to be exact} as if it were happening right now. I will not bore you with the details, but the reason why I felt that it was a good idea to write a post about it, is because currently I have found myself experiencing sudden moments of anxiousness. In this case, I know what the issue is: We are in the process of moving our home/offices to another house and it appears to be that the entire process is taking much longer than we had anticipated.

Knowing what situations can potentially bring on an anxiety attack, can help diffuse the episode; by no means does it stop the anxiety attack from happening, but it can certainly help calm down the situation.

Anxiety is characterized as extreme reactions to fearful situations, or in my case, anxiety is shown by anger and bouts of rage. In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful/angry feelings are actually the reaction of dreading a particular situation and not the situation itself {believe it or not, this is a factor that often gets overlooked by many people who may not know otherwise}.

At some point in time, we all have experiences of panic or anxiety in small ways. For most people they may feel anxious if they have entered into a new situation, like a new job or new school. This is considered to be very normal behavior. However, for someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case.

As someone who suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks, I have slowly learned a few steps that help keep my anxiety under control. I am  not a doctor, but since some of these tips have really helped me, I wanted to take a moment today and share them with others who may feel or who may be experiencing more anxiety than normal.

So, here it goes:

1. See a professional. This is always a good first step. Self-diagnosis of any type of physical or mental condition is unwise and can be dangerous. A professional psychologist can help you understand your anxiety and prescribe medication or other effective techniques.

2. Get a good night’s sleep. During the sleep cycle, your body repairs itself. You feel more rested after several hours of restorative sleep. One important tip I learned was to try and relax my mind before actually relaxing physically.  So this is what I try to do:  About an hour or so before actually going to bed, I remove everything that is used to stimulate me mentally. This means no TV, no smart phones, no laptops, no other type of electronic devices - Nothing! I recommend having very soft lighting in the bedroom, perhaps a lit candle or night light, paired with soothing music played at a very low setting. This is one of the methods that I try to use every night - I am not going to lie, some nights it works better than others, but I still give it a try.

3. Exercise on a consistent basis. Exercise helps you to use oxygen more efficiently. It helps to get more oxygen to the brain. It also increases focus which may help you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them.

4. Meditate Meditation is more than chanting mantras. Yoga is an exercise that involves quieting the mind and controlling your breathing. Simple mediation such as taking 5 minutes to clear your mind everyday can work wonders in the fight against anxiety.

5. Manage the worry. When you feel your pulse start to quicken, count backwards from ten. As you count, focus on the situation. What has actually happened? Resist the urge to read anything more into the situation.

6. Don’t use alcohol. You might think that the glass of wine is relaxing your tension but alcohol is a depressant. In anxious situations you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.

7. Find some relaxing activities. Stress can rob you of your energy. On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading or even cooking - which is one main activity that I do everyday and it helps!

Anxiety can come into your life at any time. It’s normal and a part of our everyday routine; but when the anxiety becomes frequent,  you could be at risk for more serious conditions. If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems, I highly recommend taking the time to seek professional help immediately. There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence - Take it from me - Stuffing your feelings rather than speaking with someone for years will rear its ugly head sooner rather than later!

Now it's YOUR turn: Do you or someone you know suffer from anxiety attacks? If so, do you have any tips that can help other manage or diffuse their attacks? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. I don't have anxiety attacks, but I do stress out a lot and what helps me is to stay in the moment. Tomorrow will happen without my help and yesterday is done. :)

    1. Kimberly - I can understand how staying in the moment can help in stressful situations. What I tend to struggle with is actually that: being in the moment itself - when you find yourself in the middle of an anxiety/panic attack it is extremely difficult to focus on what's happening in that exact moment - With that being said, I try my best to be aware of things that trigger the attack before it even happens.

      I love your statement "tomorrow will happen without my help and yesterday is done" - So very true!
      Thank you so much for joining in on the convo!

  2. Anxiety can be a symptom of something else going on too. For 3 years all the doctors kept saying was that I was anxious. I couldn't understand how I could feel anxious by just walking to the kitchen! They didn't listen until finally my cardiologist sent me to a neurologist and they found that I had a neurological disorder causing symptoms that looked like a typical anxiety attack. I was not glad that I have this condition but I was glad to finally know that I wasn't going crazy! Your tips are perfect. I also pray a lot!

    1. Lisa - Oh my! I can see how you could become worried if you are experiencing similar symptoms; I am glad that your neurologist was able to diagnose your condition correctly. I agree - paying does help!

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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    1. We really do appreciate the nice feedback ;)
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  4. I have had 2 anxiety attacks in my life and they were no fun at all. Luckily, I was able to bring myself out of it.

  5. I used to get anxious quite a bit - these are great tips! for me praying and keeping busy helps a lot!

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