There is no doubt that anxiety and panic attacks are two of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. In fact, it has been estimated that 40 million people in this country suffer from one or both of these illnesses. It is important to know how to cope with these conditions, which can be debilitating if left untreated. It starts by making sure you have a healthy lifestyle consisting of eating right, exercising and practicing meditation or deep breathing techniques that will help release all those built up tensions from your mind and body. Let’s take a look at a few ways to cope with anxiety and manage those sneaky panic attacks.
1 – The 333 Rule for Handling Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Knowing what sets these two conditions apart is very important. Anxiety is a subtype of mood disorder that causes significant distress to the sufferers, limiting their daily functions. On the other hand, panic attacks are episodes of sudden fear or extreme anxiety along with physical symptoms like trembling, rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing. Try to pay attention to the early signs of a panic attack. Once you have mastered this, and knows what triggers you, try the 333 rule. This is a useful tool that can help manage anxiety and panic attacks. The idea behind it is to ground you in the present moment. Be sure to breathe and look around your environment and name 3 things. Once you do that, listen to your environment and say three things you can hear. Once you have done that, bring attention back to yourself and move three parts of your body and focus on the movement. This technique will help you relax in no time.
2 – Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes
One of the most important things you must do to cope with anxiety, panic attacks, and their symptoms is to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. These substances will only make your symptoms worse. These substances are all considered stimulants. It has been said that caffeine can trigger anxiety attacks or make them worse. Alcohol is another substance that acts as a stimulant while disrupting the balance of chemicals in the brain. Finally, cigarette smoking constricts the blood vessels and can lead to irregular heartbeats which will only add to your anxiety.
3 – Make sure you exercise daily
For those who live with anxiety and panic attacks, exercising is a must. It has been found that exercise helps balance the brain chemicals that produce serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Our brains need these chemical reactions to feel good. While exercising it’s important to be sure you are breathing correctly because this will also help your body release tension which can lead to stress and anxiety. Research has shown that exercise can help manage anxiety and panic attacks. It releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, into the bloodstream and has a calming and relaxing effect on the body and mind. If you are not a big fan of exercise, try yoga or Pilates. They are known to have the same effect.
4 – Meditation can help too
Meditation is another effective way to cope with anxiety and panic attacks. This practice allows you to shut down the constant chatter in your mind. It will help you focus on the present moment while blocking out distractions both inside and outside of yourself. Meditation also helps balance the brain chemicals that produce serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. If you are new to this, try a guided meditation. There are many apps you can download on your phone for this. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and it is an effective stress management tool. It helps you stay focused on the here and now. It is also a great relaxation tool that one can use to enhance general well-being.
5 – Keep a journal
Another way to cope with anxiety and panic attacks is to keep a journal. This can be very helpful, especially if your anxiety or panic attacks are related to stress. Try writing down what you are anxious about and then write down clear steps on how you plan to deal with that situation. This will help keep the problem in perspective for you, which will diminish their power over you. Many people feel like they have no control over these conditions but writing things helps.
Staying healthy is the best way to cope with anxiety and panic attacks. It starts with eating right, exercising daily, and practicing meditation or deep breathing techniques that will help you release all that built-up tension from your mind and body.