Anxiety and panic attacks are scary, and if not controlled, they can make your life terrible. They make you experience sudden and intense fear. They can strike anyone, anytime without any warning. You are not able to control your body, and start limiting your daily activities.
If this continues to happen for a long time, you start isolating from the outer world. Your world gets smaller and smaller, day by day, and you prefer not to leave your house.
Let us learn various types of anxieties and a few techniques to stop panic attacks before they start so that you can control them rather than them controlling you.
Types of Anxieties
Anxiety can result due to many factors. Some of them are:
Overthinking and obsessive thoughts: These are negative thoughts that occur again and again. Sometimes it is impossible to control these stress-causing thoughts.
Lack of self-assurance and fear of judgment: It is a result of a lack of self-confidence. You do not believe in your abilities. You take no action to fulfill your dreams as you always underestimate yourself. You have a fear of being judged by people if something goes wrong.
Phobias: It means fear. You have an intense fear of a particular situation or an object. For example fear of water or fear of getting stuck in small spaces.
Traumas: Traumas are negative memories that do not fade away with time. These memories are associated with some serious event in your life.
Workplace anxiety: It is stress caused in the workplace. It mainly results from unable to meet deadlines or toxic colleagues. It also affects your relationship with your supervisors, reduces the quality of work, and decreases growth opportunities.
Social anxiety: It is a mental disorder in which you have an intense fear of being watched and judged by others. You have difficult time making new friends.
Eating disorder: It is related to your mental health. You develop unhealthy eating habits. For example, binge eating or sometimes restricted eating to lose weight.
Insomnia: It is a sleep disorder. It is very difficult to fall asleep. Sometimes you may wake up early and are not able to sleep again.
Now, let us discuss a few techniques to stop panic attacks:
Focus on Your Breathing
The first thing you need to know is how to breathe correctly. During a panic attack, your body starts breathing incorrectly. If breathing is poor, your fear worsens, and the hurtful cycle of panic starts. When this happens you get out of control.
When you are under stress, your shoulders and chest rise as you breathe in. It worsens your stress.
So, what is the correct way to breathe?
Your abdomen should expand with each breath. It may feel unnatural when you are anxious. But, you should continue doing it, even if you are feeling uncomfortable. Proper breathing helps your nervous system to move out of sympathetic mode.
How to inhale and exhale?
Spend more time exhaling as compared to inhaling. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. It might be a challenge to manage breathing during an anxiety attack. But remain persistent. You can also make the ‘shh’ sound while exhaling. It slows down your breathing naturally.
Control Your Thoughts
If you experience anxiety attacks due to constant worrying, then, stop thinking and talking to yourself. It might be very difficult in the beginning for you to put your anxious thoughts on hold.
But, be consistent.
As soon as your mind starts to wander, bring it back to blankness. Pull your mind back to the present from the past or the future. It helps in stopping panic attacks.
Relax Your Body
Under stress and anxiety, tension is created in the muscles and the body. As soon as you feel the onset of the panic attack, stop doing any strenuous activity, as it will increase your heart rate. Find the most comfortable position for yourself. It can be lying down, sitting on a chair, or standing up. The primary focus should be to control the heart rate.
Relax and do PMR (progressive muscle relaxation technique). It is a deep relaxation technique that reduces and controls the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Move your shoulders to loosen them and release tension.
Do Some Exercise
Exercising daily has numerous benefits.
Here are a few methods of exercise that can help reduce anxiety and stress.
- It reduces tension and tightness throughout the body and improves the quality of sleep.
- When you exercise, mood-lifting hormones endorphins are released. They help the body to fight pain and stress and reduce the intensity and frequency of panic attacks.
- It reduces the level of stress hormones and improves your level of well-being.
- It also helps to reset your mind. Your overall self-confidence and energy level will increase.
Change Your Diet
There is a direct relation between your mood and type of food you eat. If you suffer from anxiety, you must keep a close watch on what you eat. While some foods nourish your body, some can cause changes that lead to increased anxiety levels.
Here is a list of food items that you should avoid that contribute to anxiety symptoms.
Fried food: They are difficult to digest and have less nutrient content. It develops stress in your body that can increase the feeling of distress.
Alcohol: It dehydrates your body, and essential nutrients are removed from your body. Due to increased levels of toxins, it can trigger anxiety attacks.
Caffeinated Beverages: Coffee and other caffeinated beverages increase heart rate, which may generate panic attacks.
Dairy products: They are good for your health if consumed in moderation. Excessive intake of these can increase the levels of adrenaline that contributes to anxiety.
Refined sugar: These are added sugars often found in cookies and packed juices. You can reduce their intake by replacing sugary drinks with fresh juice or water. Also, reduce the intake of food items prepared from refined flour. Replace it with whole wheat flour.
Acid foods: Yogurt, pickles, wine, and eggs create acid in the body. Due to the increased acid levels, the level of magnesium drops. It has a direct relation to anxiety.
Reducing the intake of these foods will not cure anxiety but will provide significant relief from anxiety and stress causing symptoms.
Mostly everyone has experienced anxiety during their life in the form of anger, doubt, fear, and stress. It becomes dangerous when we have no control over these feelings and becomes a slave to them.
If you continuously live in fear and have no control over your anxious thoughts, then you must learn to control them. Use the above mentioned easy to follow techniques to control your mind. It will help you to stop anxiety and panic attacks.
Have you also experienced panic attacks in your life?
What measures did you take to control them?
Please share your views and tips in the comments below.
Preeti Shah (author) from Delhi on November 19, 2020:
Amit Masih from Jaipur, India on November 19, 2020:
Wow!! It will help me a lot. Thank you, Preeti!