All people suffer from anxiety of some sort. It can be mild, it can be severe, and sometimes it can hit us suddenly at an extreme degree. A panic attack can occur when we least expect it. Common symptoms of anxiety, or panic, include increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. It is unpleasant and can be a frightful event to experience.
Anxiety is a physiological reaction of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) sometimes called the “fight or flight response.” In the case of anxiety, the SNS floods the body with cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These are stress and adrenaline hormones that the body needs to act fast in survival situations.
There are many ways that we can regain control of our body when we suffer from anxiety. The more we practice these coping strategies, the easier it is to control our body and reduce these unpleasant events.
Slow Breathing: There are many different ways to do this. One way is taking slow deep breaths in through the nose, and slowly exhaling out through the mouth. Try to take 3 seconds to inhale and 3 seconds to exhale.
Muscle Relaxation: in a calm and quiet location, close your eyes, then begin to slowly tense your muscles, then relax your muscles. You can go through the muscle groups of your body one by one from heat to toe. Keep the muscles tense for 3-10 seconds before relaxation.
Be in the Moment: Often with anxiety, our thoughts run wild and can make things more stressful. Focus on the current moment you are in. Remind yourself of where you are, what you are doing, and that this is just a physiological feeling that will pass.
Healthy Lifestyle: Some other ways to reduce anxiety include getting exercise, reducing the amount of caffeine and alcohol we consume, getting plenty of sleep, and having a healthy diet.
These are just a few ways that we can control our anxiety. The more we practice each method, the more we become aware of our body and our needs, then we can find what style and method works best for us.
Alam, D. A. (2020, June). The Science of Anxiety (infographic). Northwestern Medicine. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/emotional-health/the-science-of-anxiety
Beyond blue. Beyond Blue. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety/anxiety-management-strategies
Miller, C. (2021, August 16). Panic attacks and how to treat them. Child Mind Institute. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://childmind.org/article/panic-attacks-best-treatments/