Are you trying to manage panic attacks?
A panic attack is a kind of anxiety or stress-based episode involving intense and often unrealistic feelings of anxiety and fear. It is usually accompanied by a wide range of severe physical symptoms and is common when there is no actual danger.
Panic attacks can be frightening to experience, so learning to manage them is crucial to continue your daily life without being brought down by them. Here are 4 habits that make it hard to manage panic attacks.
1. Eating Poorly
The food you eat changes the way your body functions. Your food contains the energy you will use throughout the day, and using the wrong kind of power is a surefire way to worsen your psychological state. Anxiety is significantly affected by this, as a lack of sustenance can trigger stress responses. Here are some ways you may be eating poorly and causing more severe panic attacks:
· Eating Too Little
The human body needs the energy to function. When you don’t get enough calories, your body doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to continue pushing you forward. This results in feelings of stress as the body enters starvation mode, a fight-or-flight “status” that depletes your positive thinking. Make sure you get enough food every day, especially if you live a more active lifestyle!
· Low-Fat Diets
Fat gets a bad rap due to years of misinformation regarding their health value. Sure, some fats are bad for you, but good fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are beneficial for the body and help reduce inflammation. It’s said that eating enough good fats can have positive effects on anxiety disorders, reducing their symptoms – including panic attacks.
· Low-Carbohydrate Diets
You may have noticed that you crave carbs whenever you feel down, and there’s a scientific reason for it! It’s believed that carbs boost your body’s serotonin levels, with serotonin being a feel-good hormone. The boosted serotonin can reduce the frequency of panic attacks.
· Not Eating Sufficient Protein
Blood sugar levels are crucial in fighting off the worst symptoms of anxiety, and those levels dip and spike rapidly if the body has to use glucose-filled foods. When you don’t eat enough protein, the body turns instead to carbs to fuel itself, according to research, and this leads to anxiety as those carbs are rapidly consumed by you and then used by the body, your blood sugar swings up and down frequently, leading to energy crashes.
· Skipping Meals
A lot of people skip meals due to financial difficulties or convenience. While it can’t always be helped, you should know that skipping meals messes with your blood sugar levels, sending your energy fluctuating and worsening anxiety symptoms. Consistent meals during the day, even if they’re small ones, are much better for you than completely missing some.
2. Checking Devices Too Often
Phones, laptops, computers, tablets… we live in the age of technology! With so much right at your fingertips, it’s tough to restrain yourself from constantly spending time on these devices. Unfortunately, that’s not healthy for you. Here are some ways that overdoing device usages can harm your mental health and worsen panic attacks:
· Constantly Scrolling On Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are so easily accessible that checking them and looking through them becomes somewhat habitual. That wrenches you away from the present, keeping you in a constant loop of disconnected connectivity. You don’t get “alone” time because, with social media, you’re never really “alone,” and you also wind up wasting a lot of time aimlessly browsing these websites. That’s not even covering the low self-esteem that is often built when you compare yourself to other people’s social media posts!
· Checking Your Work Emails All The Time
Work-related messages should be reserved for when you’re actively working. If you’re always checking emails, then you practically never have any time off and work 24/7. It would be best if you had time to yourself where you can spend time doing things you actually want to do and making sure that you don’t stay in your work inbox when you’re not on the clock is crucial for a positive work-life balance. Refreshing your email every few minutes adds to your stress levels, and it’s going to give you more panic.
· Constantly Checking Your Phone, In General
Our mobile devices come with the amazing promise of non-stop interaction, stimulation for the brain, and more. It can be tempting to spend all of your time on it, but with all the things to do and the quick and easy access to work-related messages, social media, commitments, and beyond, it can all be a bit too much. Even simply looking for notifications frequently can lead to higher levels of stress, according to studies, which puts you more at risk for panic attacks.
3. Spending All Your Time Alone At Home
Are you a homebody? It’s outstanding to be an introvert or to love your creature comforts! But balance is necessary if you want to manage your anxiety better. Overdoing your alone time or at-home time can both harm your anxiety levels. Here are some ways you shouldn’t be spending your time if you want to manage panic attacks:
· Being Indoors All Day
It’s cozy at home, but you also need a little bit of time in the sun. Though too much sun has adverse effects on your skin, exposure to natural light is fantastic for overall health. Being in nature, under the sun, and in the fresh air can work wonders for positive thinking and anxiety, reducing the risk of panic attacks.
· Isolating Yourself
Lots of socially anxious people feel most comfortable on their own, and even introverts, in general, may prefer their own company to spend time with anyone else. According to research, social support is crucial to overall mental health and can help reduce the severity of anxiety. Being alone leaves you with nothing but yourself and your anxious thoughts – and no one to shed light on reality for you.
· Spending Every Weekend Indoors
Weekends are free time for most people, and with that time, you can go out and socialize, enrich yourself, or enjoy a nice change of pace. Spending that time inside alone gives you many problems at once: you’re isolated, you’re not in natural environments, and you’re wasting valuable time. This is not to say you can’t have a day off every week, but if you have more than one day off, you should opt to spend one of them outdoors if you want to manage panic attacks better.
4. Engaging In Negative Thinking
There is a huge range of negative thinking patterns that can be harmful to your psychological state. As a general rule, any thinking that brings you down or traps you in negative thought processes will worsen panic attacks. Sometimes, they even lead to panic attacks themselves!
Negative thinking is the crux of anxiety, and it’s often irrational, over-critical, and not grounded in any form of reality. That’s why recognizing negative thinking and learning to change those thoughts and transform them into positive thinking can help you with panic attacks. Here are some common forms of negative thinking to be aware of:
· Emotional Reasoning
Feelings are powerful things, but that doesn’t mean they’re right all the time. In fact, most of the time, your emotions are wrong! Emotional reasoning refers to the act of trusting your initial emotional response as valid evidence to conclude. For example, if you feel embarrassed about something, you might use that as evidence that everyone is laughing at you. It’s not accurate at all and will make you more anxious. If something has received an emotional response from you, your best bet is to stop and consider if your thoughts have a basis in reality.
Some things aren’t that deep. Spending a lot of time over-analyzing someone’s words or actions is pointless. You’ll never manage to figure out if someone meant something different by their words, or if others perceived you negatively when you stuttered, or if your boss’ request for a meeting means you’re being fired simply by thinking very hard about these issues. Communication will give you answers much more quickly, and it’s also much better for your panic. The more you overthink, the more panicky you get, and the more panicky you get, the worse your thoughts will be. It’s a nasty cycle!
· Jumping To Conclusions
Fortune-telling behavior is terrible for panic attacks. You hear a few bits of information and immediately leap to a conclusion based on that poor foundation. Usually, that conclusion will be both inaccurate and incredibly harmful, adding to any feelings of panic you already have. For example, if your significant other is in a bad mood, you may immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re going to break up with you. You can see how that would worsen anxiety!
Magnification refers to the act of taking a simple problem and blowing it up until it’s overwhelming and consuming. It’s what happens when setbacks make you feel like it’s the end of the world or like you’re going to die, even when in the grand scheme of things, they’re no big deal. While your emotions and fears are valid, it’s also important to know that they’re not realistic. Practice taking things within their contexts and seeing them for what they indeed are instead of blowing them up.
It’s pretty easy to see what this form of negative thinking means. It refers to the act of making catastrophes out of nothing. If you have anxiety, you likely know how difficult it is to distinguish between likely and unlikely events, so you may tend to imagine the worst possible scenario – which is possible but not probable! The act of assuming the worst will always happen a natural anxiety-increaser that will make your panic attacks much worse.
Final Thoughts On Some Habits That Make It Hard To Manage Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be tough to manage, but it’s possible when you begin adopting better habits and stopping the use of negative ones. However, there is no shame in asking for help. If your panic attacks are significant enough to get in the way of your everyday life and tasks, speak to a mental health professional for treatment and help!