Tips for Managing Anxiety & Panic Attacks
July 15th, 2019
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health symptoms, and people can experience it in varying degrees. You may be feeling everyday stress that you can generally manage, or you could be experiencing an extreme panic disorder that makes it hard to function in your daily life. Whatever type of anxiety you are experiencing, they are some simple strategies you can implement to try to manage anxiety in your day-to-day life.
Treat Your Body Right
Your mental and physical health are closely tied together. If you’re experiencing anxiety, a good place to start is to make sure you are taking care of your body. Doctors recommend eight hours of sleep each night, so try to go to bed at a reasonable time on a consistent basis and get enough uninterrupted sleep.
Physical exercise can also boost your mental sense of well-being. It’s important to find a form of exercise you enjoy so that you stay committed to it, whether it’s a sport or activity, working out in the gym, or even going for a walk. Aim for 30 minutes three to five times per week.
Additionally, fuel your body and mind by eating well-balanced, energy-boosting meals with adequate nutrients. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, as those can trigger or worsen anxiety. Also, drink lots of water to keep your body at optimal functioning.
Get to Know Your Anxiety
Many people who experience stress and anxiety struggle with understanding the cause, which can make it difficult to manage.
A helpful way to manage your anxiety is being mindful of what causes it and how it manifests. When you start to feel anxious, keep a journal and write down how you are feeling in the moment and what you think is contributing to you feeling this way. For example, if you get a panic attack every time you are about to go to a party or enter a social situation, you might be experiencing social anxiety. Try to identify patterns, look for triggers, and determine ways you can either avoid or confront these triggers to anxiety.
Strategies For Panic Attacks
While you can do your best to treat your body right and understand what’s causing you to feel anxious, you may still experience anxiety and panic attacks. If you feel a panic attack coming, there are a few things you can do to manage panic attacks in the moment.
If you start to feel the racing heartbeat and shortness of breath that accompanies a panic attack, the most important thing to do is regulate your breathing. If you are in a place where you can step away and sit or lay down, get yourself in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and then focus on taking deep breaths. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a second, and then breathe out for a count of four. Try to get your breathing back to a regular pace.
To help yourself calm down, practice mindfulness regularly. Recognize that you are having a panic attack and remind yourself that the feeling is temporary. The symptoms of a panic attack can be very scary, so it is important to tell yourself that you are going to be okay.
Focus on the physical sensations around you – identify something you can feel – like the texture of your clothes on your skin. Consciously relax each muscle in your body from your fingers to your toes moving inward, to remind yourself that you’re in control of your body. When you are comfortable and feel your body relaxing and you can manage your breath, slowly open your eyes and begin to focus on the things around you.
It may also help to drink water, take a light walk, or practice an internal mantra-like “this too shall pass” or “I can manage my anxiety” to help transition your mind out of the panic attack and ease back into things.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Seek Professional Help for Anxiety
Whatever type of anxiety you are dealing with, you don’t have to face it alone. You may be doing everything you can to manage your anxiety on your own, but still, feel overwhelmed. Picking up the phone and calling a friend or loved one to talk about what you’re experiencing can help you feel better.
If you need some extra help, David Lawrence Center has therapists and specialized doctors trained in managing anxiety; individual & group counseling; inpatient treatment, and an open-access clinic. Our resources can help you manage your anxiety and panic attacks and find the best individualized treatment plan for you.
To get help for anxiety call us today at (239) 572-9070 or contact us online today.