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Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows that feeling: Your chest feels tighter, your heart beats faster, and you start worrying about an impending something that can happen at any second. These are only some of the seemingly scary things your body and mind go through before and during an anxiety attack.
There is no magic trick to getting rid of anxiety, true. You can learn how to better get a hold of the situation and stay on top of it, however, and the following tips will be very valuable to anyone who wants to decrease the intensity of panic attacks, regardless of their origin.
If you’re prone to anxiety attacks, understanding the physiological, emotional and psychological causes and how they affect you is one of the most powerful weapons you have against them. If you know how it affects you in particular, then you can easily discover what methods are more effective for you, and which aren’t.
Relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing will help you stabilize your heartbeat and stop hyperventilating. A good exercise to practice is this: Close your eyes and take a deep, gentle breath through your nose, expanding your belly instead of your chest; then, slowly release the air through your mouth, counting from one to five during each breath. Repeat as needed.
A good way to relax during a panic attack is to really take in your surroundings. Some people focus on a physical object in their field of view and start “building” the world around it by slowly expanding what they see. The key is to take charge of your thoughts, starting out simple so that you can remind yourself of the reality outside of your fears; nothing is happening, after all.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a little dialogue with yourself to help you calm down. Hearing your own voice instead of fighting your own catastrophic thoughts makes a huge difference. Try coming up with a mantra, or explaining why you feel the way that you do and that it will pass, that you have control.
You can literally cool yourself. Research suggests that your heart rate slows down between 10 to 25 percent when your face touches cold water. This is a good thing to have in mind if you’re at home or anywhere you can easily access to very cold, clean water, just remember to do it in a calm manner, holding in a deep, slow breath before gently bringing it to your face cupped in your hands.
Another way is to start a light, repetitive physical activity, such as tapping your foot or rubbing your fingers and focus on it to distract you from negative thoughts. Even though it might feel like the last thing you want to do, work your way up to taking a short walk around the area, being mindful of the things immediately around you to further ground yourself in real life.
This is another tip to try if you’re at home. Laughing will reduce your stress levels and distract you from catastrophic thoughts. Watch an episode of your favorite sitcom, or a few minutes of that stand-up comedian you really like. You can even call that friend who always makes you laugh (it’s alright if you specifically ask them to be funny in this situation).
Panic is a psychological as much as a physical response. The key idea to grasp here is that you want to be in command of your thoughts and actions. Acting on a panicked impulse can actually raise your stress levels because your body is telling your mind that it is right, there is something real activating your fight or flight response. The more control you have, the calmer you will be.
Remember always that there are no indefinite anxiety attacks, no matter how strong they might be. This is important because feeling capable of riding one out is an important confidence boost that can help you in the future. It takes courage and practice but learning how to control them can essentially eliminate them in time.
Even with all these tips, a good massage and meditation will come in handy for taking care of your stress and anxiety that is accumulated in your body over time, so contact the massage experts to get one!