As humans, it is not unusual to be anxious every now and then, especially when doing activities that make us uncomfortable. However, if excessive, anxiety is dangerous and can be life threatening in advanced situations like a panic attack. Considered as a medical disorder, anxiety usually raises an individual’s heart rate causing sweating and rapid breathing which in most occasions, leads to feelings of fatigue. The good news, though, is that despite being dangerous if allowed to reach worrying levels, anxiety can be controlled. The following are six proven ways to feel calm when you are anxious.
1. Take large breaths
During an anxiety attack, your breathing rate is usually the first to change. To put it in perspective, when anxious, your breathing pattern changes from the conventional deep breaths to shallow, rapid breaths from the upper lungs. Failure to address the short breaths can lead to hyperventilation and other uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, confusion and dizziness.
Diaphragmatic breathing is recommended as an anxiety relief method since it helps prevent hyperventilation from occurring. Therefore, when anxious, it is important to take deep breaths to prevent the situation from escalating to unwanted levels.
The best way to deal with a panic attack is to count each time you take deep breaths. For instance, as you breathe through the diaphragm, it is advisable to count from one to four or five to help prevent shallow breathing.
Deep breathing is known to have a calming response when an individual is overly anxious or about to have a panic attack. Some of the benefits of deep breathing are such as slowed heart rate, controlled breathing, blood pressure drops to normal levels and reduced muscle tension.
2. Develop a relaxing or soothing habit
Relaxation is without doubt among the most effective methods when it comes to anxiety relief. If you struggle with anxiousness, it is advisable to make a list of things you love doing. It could be listening to music, playing your favorite game on your phone, or even drawing.
The greatest mistake made by people on the verge of a panic attack is failing to divert the brain`s focus from the impending anxiety. To be successful in preventing anxiousness from getting the better of you, it is crucial to develop positive habits that can take your mind away from the stressful or high-pressure situation.
Once you notice anxiousness or panic creeping in, do not hesitate to take immediate action by taking up relaxing or soothing activities. Plug in your earphones or throw stones, whatever it takes to prevent the panic levels from reaching unwanted levels. Over time, you will realize that it gets easier to deal with anxiousness, more so if you take immediate action by doing activities you love.
To avoid panic attacks from occurring, it is advisable to frequently take part in activities that excite you. For instance, if music helps soothe your nerves, listening to your favorite band or musician will help limit the impact of a trigger. You do not have to wait for anxiousness to kick in for you to soothe it. Developing stress-relieving habits is a sure way of preventing anxiousness from getting the better of you.
3. Talk to someone
The importance of talking to someone cannot be overstated. As such, it is advisable to have a go-to person who can listen and help you cope with panic or being over-anxious. Avoidance behavior is known to trigger panic or anxiousness due to the postponement of activities. Avoidance behavior is whereby an individual postpones or avoids performing complex or high pressure activities which can lead to panic, especially when the activities pile up.
Also, the knowledge of having someone on standby in the event of a panic attack is enough to prevent panic levels from escalating to unwanted levels. Thus, if you have a history of anxiousness or panic, it is important to have someone you trust who can help you cope with pressure and stress.
By talking to someone you trust, you will be in a position to share your fears and concerns. Sharing your problems with another person will help prevent panic attacks. When you have to deal with triggers such as a mandatory weekly presentation, it is vital to have someone who knows your condition close to you to help you out in the event of an attack. Although not all attacks turn out to be serious, having someone to help you calm down can be an added advantage and help prevent the attack from spiraling out of control.
Reaching out to experts is also recommended as it will help keep your anxiousness in check. Receiving reassurance from a professional can help calm you down and offer adequate anxiety relief. As such, if you have a history of being overly anxious, you should seek the assistance of trained professional who can offer advice on some of the best ways to address the situation.
4. Distract yourself
Unfortunately, most people give in to anxiousness by focusing too much on the symptoms. To put up a fight against panic attacks, you will need to develop ways to distract your brain from thinking about an attack. The best way to address such a situation is to switch up activities, preferably switching to more physical activities.
An example of a perfect distraction is jumping up and down, jogging on the spot, moving your hands or even shaking your head severally. By performing random physical activities, you divert the attention of your brain such that instead of focusing on the trigger, it focuses on performing the physical activities.
There are a host of distraction techniques that you can select from. In fact, it is advisable to try out several techniques to determine the option that works best for you. For some people, thinking about pleasant things is enough while for others; mental distraction must be backed by physical distraction.
Distracting yourself is a proven anxiety relief technique as you keep your mind active on other activities that are more demanding. Whenever you feel a panic attack creeping in, be sure to change the activities preferably by switching to physical activities such as walking, jogging or even moving your head and arms back and forth.
5. Acknowledge anxiety
To overcome the feeling of anxiousness, you must first accept that you are entering panic mode. Acceptance is a proven anxiety relief technique since by acknowledging that you are anxious, you accept that your mind is probably playing tricks on you.
Understanding how your brain works during panic attack is important, more so since it helps you come up with ways to control the situation.
In the event of a panic attack, it is always crucial to challenge your thoughts. That is, ask yourself questions that look to undermine the severity of the attack. An example is asking yourself whether the worry is realistic. Keeping your mind busy by questioning your thoughts helps minimize and eventually stop a panic attack.
Therefore, once you realize that you are becoming anxious, do not try to run away from the situation as that will only make it worse. When dealing with anxiousness, the best solution is to accept that you are anxious and understand that it is a normal emotion that can be controlled. It is only through acceptance that you can take the necessary measures to address the situation.
It is also important to work with people who have successfully dealt with the condition. Having a support group can go a long way in improving your overall handling of high-pressure situations. As people who have experienced similar situations will agree, dealing with anxiousness or panic attacks starts with acceptance; that is, one must acknowledge that the condition is real and can be serious if not properly addressed.
6. Visualize something you love
As already mentioned, anxiousness is a normal emotion that can be managed. Whenever you start to panic or become anxious, it is always important to avoid thinking about the stressful issues. As such, you have to divert your mind by thinking about things you love. In fact, the best way to take your mind off things is to visualize a location or a place that you love or want to visit.
You will be shocked by how much a simple visualization can help in the fight against panic attacks. Do not shy off from being creative since, to divert your mind off the stressful situation, you will need to visualize items or things that make your heart skip a beat. Think about that river bank, or a hike up your favorite mountain; either way, you should visualize something that you love as it will take your mind off the stressful situation.
Dealing with panic attacks and anxiety is not as easy as most people perceive. In fact, up until now, a large number of people do not view anxiousness as a condition that needs treatment or management. However, if you have been struggling with panic attacks or being anxious all the time, observing the above tips will ensure you contain the condition before it reaches unwanted levels.