Struggle with anxiety and panic attacks? Tackle the strain of the daily grind with our stress-busting guide
Words B-J Raben
Unfortunately, I hear of more and more people suffering from anxiety and panic attacks these days, so here are some quick tips to help anyone in the heat of the moment.
Both issues stem from our deeply ingrained flight or flight reflexes and affect our mental, emotional and physical states. On a physical level we can feel sick, have a racing heart rate, feel shortness of breath, wobbly legs, get the shakes and even feel as if we are going to pass out.
When you feel a panic-attack coming on or are even mid crisis point try to remind yourself that these feelings will pass and are not life-threatening, however frightening they feel at the time.
– Take long, deep, measured breaths
– Try 7/11 breathing i.e. count to seven breathing in and eleven breathing out, to encourage deeper, slower breaths which steady your heart rate and occupy your mind
– Visualise waves crashing down onto a beach with each breath to create a steady rhythm
– Get out into the fresh air if possible as this can reduce feelings of being trapped
There are several remedies available in chemists or health shops which you can carry with you for emergencies:
– Australian Bush Flower Essences – Emergency (drops or spray)
– Aconite 30 – homeopathic remedy good for panic (small pills to suck)
– Bach Flower Remedies – Rescue Remedy (drops, spray or hard sweets to suck)
– Repeat the alphabet forwards or if you want more of a challenge, backwards
– Harder still, try to think of an animal beginning with each letter of the alphabet
– Keep your hands busy – carrying out a simple manual task can occupy the mind until you feel calmer
– Listen to music – whether calming, upbeat, dance music or even a good rant with Eminem. Anything goes so long as it distracts the mind.
Release endorphins whilst keeping your brain fixed on motion
– Go for walk, run or bike ride
– Go to the gym and hit the cross trainer or treadmill (better for anxiety than a panic attack as being in a confined space during a panic attack can be claustrophobic)
If you have ongoing issues, it is always advisable to consult your GP to help you find the right treatment and ongoing support.