I was reading an amazing post on Peace from Panic the other day. Jenny is a mom who has suffered through panic attacks and has helped herself, her daughters and others to overcome this terrifying ordeal. She wrote a very refreshing article about how for many millennials, mental health is no longer taboo. We are now able to get the help we need without being ashamed or hiding it.
This post made me smile as I remembered how far I had come in my own fight with anxiety.
I developed my panic disorder seemingly overnight.
I was 21 and didn’t even know what panic attacks were. Generally, I am very positive and laid back, so when the first one struck, it was out of the blue. There was no reason for it, just dread and terror over nothing. I lived in constant fear of another attack, and like a self-fulfilling prophecy, all the fear and stress kept bringing them on. At first, I fought them. I felt that it was a sickness that needed to be fixed, and I felt angry and defeated dealing with this.
I visited hundreds of sites researching how to fight this, but in the middle of an attack, these resources did nothing to help. After failed results, I knew I had to change. I decided to accept and work with my feelings, and become accepting of the panic attacks until they got better. A combination of lifestyle changes, low dose anxiety medication and reaching out for support turned my life around.
I haven’t had a panic attack in over a year now and my daily anxiety is nonexistent.
I know in the middle of an anxiety attack it can feel impossible and like you are dying, but you aren’t. Hang in there. Jenny, myself and countless others know what you are going through and we can work through it together.
It took me a while to master, but the following is how I overcame and healed my anxiety. The first 4 tips will help you if you are in the middle of a panic attack, and the last 6 will help you heal and manage symptoms.
I have been through it and I am here for you. Try these tips to recover from anxiety.
Trust me, it is possible!
hat is Interval Training?
How to deal with a panic attack
Breathe deep, but don’t focus on it.
When you are panicking, you may notice your heart rate is elevated, and you are breathing faster than normal. Take a deep breath in, and let it out. Try to breathe deeper to help your body calm down, but don’t focus on it. Sometimes when panicking, focusing on the breath makes you too aware of your body and can stress you even more.
Count backwards from 100 by 3s
This is a sure-fire way to take your mind off of the panic and give you something to work on. Start at 100 and count backwards by 3. 100…97…94…91… Your brain has to work at this, and it will distract you for a while. If you make it through, try counting back by 4, 6, 7, or any number that you can’t solve instantly.
Connect with someone
It can be difficult reaching out for help while panicking, but find someone to hug. A physical connection can help you relax and make you feel less alone, it’s very grounding in the middle of panic. If you don’t have anyone around, spend time with your pet, they understand something is wrong and want to help!
Sitting inside during a panic attack can feel claustrophobic. Going into nature is so healing and can be the perfect thing to calm you down. Even if you just go lie down in the grass in your backyard, this can truly make a difference in your mental well-being!
Healing from anxiety:
Get more exercise
I know it can be difficult to start exercising when you don’t feel great, and increasing your heart rate can trigger anxiety, but fight through it. Start slow until you adjust to it so that you do not strain yourself. A regular exercise routine can improve your mental well-being and reduce anxiety. In addition, losing weight can make a huge difference in how you feel and can create a more positive outlook.
As I mentioned before, losing weight can reduce anxiety, but even eating less at every meal can have immediate effects. If you over eat, you can experience bloating, increased heart rate, and stomach discomfort, all of which can trigger anxiety. Eating less at each meal will help you feel better and can keep panic attacks at bay.
Take Your vitamins
Make sure you are properly nourishing your body. Recovering from anxiety requires mental and physical healing, so make sure you take your vitamins and eat a balanced diet. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements, but I can speak from experience that a calcium, magnesium, zinc supplement reduced my anxiety symptoms. When taking this regularly, I noticed reduced tension and felt better. overall Make sure you have a multivitamin that covers these!
During a period of increased anxiety, stay distracted so that you can ride it out. Get a puzzle or read your favorite book, and just pour all of your energy and focus into the activity. This is a great way to pass the time through the anxiety wave, and it’s very enjoyable too!
Simplify your life
Even if your anxiety seems to have no source, do everything you can to make life less stressful. Start small projects to boost confidence and to start to take control over your environment. Find ways to reduce stress every day as this will improve your mental well-being in the long run.
Like Jenny said in her post, the conversation around mental health is changing. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. Be open about it, accept it for what it is and work with others to get through it. Your loved ones will be happy to help and will understand. Use their support to pull you through this hard time. Don’t shame yourself for how you feel, and be loving and encouraging to yourself as you heal.
It might feel impossible sometimes, but you’ll be feeling good as new soon enough.
What are some of your favorite tips to deal with anxiety? I would love to hear from you! Please comment and follow, and check out my friend Jenny at Peace from Panic for more mental health support!