If you experience anxiety and panic attacks frequently, you know how debilitating they can be. You may try to avoid situations that might trigger them, but avoidance is not a solution. With these five tips, you can begin to take control of your anxiety today.

How to Deal with Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety is a natural reaction to stressful situations where you feel powerless. However, when anxiety becomes uncontrollable, it can manifest itself in multiple ways, including panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. Affecting 40 million adults in the US age 18 and older.

If you slip, you’re putting yourself in a situation that isn’t safe.

Kathryn Yuen, PhD, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Harvey M. Budlow School of Nursing

Now you’re emotionally fragile and vulnerable‚Ķ and it doesn’t have to stop there. Something could happen.

Kathryn Yuen, PhD

Don’t go home right after you slip; go home for an evening walk, perhaps. Even a short session of simple movement like getting off the bus. Or knocking on a neighbour’s door can help you reconnect with what’s important.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

If you’ve tried to control your anxiety with exercise, yoga or meditation. But the techniques don’t help, or they make things worse, it’s possible you need a different approach.

anxiety and panic attacks
Chest pain is a symptom of anxiety and panic attacks.
Source: Medical News Today

“You have to find someplace in your life that you can be happy.” and consider enlisting a support group. There are online, or offline, support groups that you can join. And connect with others who are living the way you want to live (or are at least closer to living). You can visit these groups in person or virtually, and they can provide valuable suggestions and constructive criticism.

Incorporate Private Space

Although it might be boring at first. Creating a private space where you can examine your fears and evaluate your behaviour is a great first step. You might try a mental “cafe” for an hour. Or a quiet afternoon of reading, journaling or working on your commercial real estate dreams.

Visit an entire country

If you want to start furthering your anxiety-management strategies. Consider an entire country, says Jason Piper, PhD, an associate professor at Columbia University. Who specializes in the study of anxiety and therapy. “For example, imagine going to a country where you suffer from anxiety, much larger than the United States,” he says.

There are resources available. You can meet experts. One is less likely to get hurt by bad luck. You can learn, and that means change.

Jason Piper, PhD, an associate professor at Columbia University

Read more and ask your GP if supplements are right for you.

Understand how foods affect your Anxiety and panic attacks

“Healthy foods can also affect your other mental health issues such as worrying and stress,” explains Yuen. “Food is a good cue that you’re doing something good. Put together a balanced diet and then add more healthy foods to the plate.”

While certain foods are particularly anxiety-producing. She recommends making a shortlist of foods that are calming to you. Specific foods that you associate with relaxation, sleep and feeling well. (If you have trouble with any of these aspects, try to work on eliminating them first).

Inform Your Self

By identifying what motivates you to “go, go, go.”. You can increase the chances of feeling less anxious in everyday situations. Once you know what motivates you to eliminate anxiety, start tapping into that positive energy.

Talk to a Professional

Enlist the help of a mental health professional. Who can help you gain clarity as to whether you’re facing an anxiety disorder or not.

  1. See an Amenity That Can Help
    Physical amenities have prompted many to approach their anxiety differently. Try out taking the stairs for example.
  2. Try Different Cognitive Strategies
    One strength of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is that it’s a much-needed reset button. Cognitive behavioral therapy often involves changing “cognitive thought patterns” to reduce the chances of having a relapse. One such strategy is reframing negative feelings into positive ones by labeling them as fears or worries.
  3. Create and Follow a Daily Practice
    So many of us give in to our anxiety by making vague, unhelpful statements like, “I’ll do better next time.”. Instead of succumbing to negative thinking, just be specific and write down what you are going to do. Before and after each anxiety attack.

Consider following a few of these practices to start feeling better:

  • Exercise in the morning and evening.
  • Write down what you eat for breakfast.
  • Go for a stroll in the park.
  • Comment on a family member’s tea status.
  • Visit a friend and ask her how her day is going.
  • Make a list of all the helpful books you can get each week.
  • Visit your therapist and tell her about your anxiety.

Discover what may be contributing to your anxiety today and start addressing it. Acceptance is the first step, and it takes time.

Learn what your triggers are. Write them down. Start addressing them. Embrace a healthier mindset.

What your triggers want from you

The Brain in Love

In this highly entertaining, educational and important special, Dr Daniel Amen explores the interplay between the brain and our most intimate relationships.

If you want more passion in your life, this DVD is for you. This information applies whether you are single and want to be in a close relationship or you have been married for many years.

Are you anxious because life events are happening unexpectedly? Or maybe your anxiety and panic attacks stem from an uncomfortable situation or a stressful day at work? Whatever your trigger, being able to see it clearly and see your options for overcoming it is the first step. Even if you can’t completely control life events, you can control your reactions to them by recognizing them.

Most of the time, the same type of triggers will cause people to be anxious.

Rachel Feinstein, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and founder of A Virtual Psychotherapist.

So rather than avoiding those triggers, she suggests focusing on becoming aware of how you’re feeling. That might mean writing down why you’re feeling anxious. Or tackling an uncomfortable situation that’s causing anxiety and panic attacks to surface.

Feinstein also suggests focusing on anything you can do to improve your anxiety. In particular, she suggests consciously learning what types of anxiety are associated with common medical conditions. Such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders or anxiety associated with high glucose, a lack of sleep or medication.

This knowledge can empower you to engage in healthier emotional eating. Or exercise or develop a new coping strategy if you’re finding yourself in a heavy anxiety episode.

Write Down your triggers

Journal everything that bothers you. Or makes you feel anxious about that particular moment. Including images, sounds, smells, chewing, clothes, whatever makes you feel “wired.”. That way, you can begin to identify what you can do to eliminate them and how to respond appropriately.

Feinstein suggests making a promise to yourself the next day to make a list of the problem behaviours. And then to write a solution for each one on that list. That could be not eating triggers on a given day. Or exercising to reduce stress or finding a bedtime routine that relieves your anxiety, for example.

Deal with the triggers in social moments

When you have anxiety. It can be easy to use social situations as a way to avoid looking at your triggers head-on. “When your mind becomes linear and focused on the same event. Or stimulus over and over, it may interfere with your ability to consciously choose different courses of action,” Feinstein explains.

To work through your anxiety and panic attacks in a healthy way. Go through the following five steps when faced with social situations that may cause you anxiety. Merely going through these steps, however, will not necessarily help you feel better. So don’t feel like you have to do them in order.

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