Thursday, June 14, 2012

Simple Ways to Combat Anxiety Attacks

Sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in on us- the stress and worry that comes with ups & downs of day to day life can become overwhelming. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder a few years ago, and it has been quite a journey learning how to combat the symptoms and the effects of this disorder. People have often written me and asked advice about what to do with severe feelings of anxiety or panic. There are a few things that I have found help me with my anxiety disorder, and hopefully they might help you too :)

1. The biggest thing to remember- NO ONE HAS EVER DIED FROM AN ANXIETY ATTACK! Sometimes we feel that our hearts are going to explode, or we can't catch our breath, and we may actually think that we could stop breathing... but, this is not the case, remember to tell yourself this if you are experiencing panic symptoms... just acknowledge it, meaning your feelings of panic of anxiety, and realize that now matter how bad it seems in the moment- it WILL pass, and you are NOT "dying"...

2. Clean, Exercise, or simply move around. Sometimes anxiety and worry can get us to the point of not moving from one spot, whether it be the couch, or bed, we may feel physically and mentally "stuck" in the moment. Try to do something that yields positive and productive feelings about yourself- vacuum, clean the kitchen, work in the yard- the feelings of accomplishment can help combat the feelings of  being "out of control". Also exercise is great way to try and clear your mind to get a better grasp on whatever it is you may be worrying about. Now, I'm not saying get up and run a marathon, but a bike ride, a walk, a hike- these activities can help calm and alleviate feelings of anxiety.

3. Journal. A great way to help combat feelings of being overwhelmed is to put it down on paper. Our minds can become a jumbled mess of problems and fears, being able to see your thoughts on paper can help you better distinguish rational fears from irrational fears. Identify what it is that you are worrying about, its probably not as bad or monumental as you are making it in your mind. Another great exercise to do with your journal is to write down things you are thankful for, aka gratitude lists. This helps us be more aware and appreciative of the things we DO have, instead of the things we don't....

4. Watch a comforting/familiar TV show or movie. Sometimes watching things that remind us of our childhood, or a time when we felt safe and taken care of, can combat feelings of panic and anxiety. "The Little Mermaid" and "Golden Girls" are two of my favorites... :) Also, reading can help take our minds off of the worry and stress, but I've always been more a TV person.... must be the ADHD in me ..... :)

5. Talking fears and worries out to others. My sweet momma is the first person I call when I feel I might be experiencing a panic attack. We often want to isolate in times of severe worry or anxiety, but its actually better if we try to be around others. Talk about what might be causing these feelings, pinpoint trigger situations, express what exactly it is that you are so worried about....


research other ways to help combat potential feelings of anxiety, and seek the help of a qualified professional if these feelings persist or start to affect your day to day life....

and remember ---->DEEP BREATHS... in through your nose, out through your mouth... do between 3 and 5...... AND --->If you are an animal person like me, the first thing I do if I feel overwhelmed and anxious is grab my sweet dog... she always seems to know the right thing to say... well, maybe not "say" perhaps... but her eyes say it all- "everything's gonna be all right"... hehe ....

love you all...

johnny d

PHOTO CREDIT: Jordan Walker of Lovabelle Photography www.lovabellephotography.com

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