Anxiety Attack Management Strategies 

Introduction

Feeling anxiety and stress is a normal reaction to life stressors and can be beneficial in some situations. It alerts you to dangers and helps you fight against any situations which can put you in difficult situations. Anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of nervousness and they can involve excessive fear which doesn’t go away.

If you have feelings of anxiety and stress you feel tense, nervous, or unable to relax. You also have a sense of dread or fearing the worst. You feel like the world is speeding up or slowing down. You feel like other people can see you’re anxious and are looking at you.

While fear is the emotion you feel in the presence of a threat, feeling anxiety and stress is a sense of anticipated danger, trouble, or threat that is so intense you cannot do other normal tasks.

What triggers anxiety?

A big event or a buildup of small life stressors may trigger excessive feeling anxiety stress like a death in the family, work stress. Not all people feel anxiety and stress but certain people with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders. Some life stressors include: 

  • Change of  job
  • Financial worry
  • Death of a loved one
  • Getting divorced
  • Parenting pressures
  • Public speaking
  • School exam 
  • Work-related stress
  • Competition

What are common anxiety signs and symptoms? 

  • Feeling nervous or tense
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Having a sense of impending panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly 
  • Trouble concentrating 

What causes anxiety?

  • Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
  • Brain chemistry. Some research suggests anxiety disorders are caused by bad brain chemistry that controls fear and emotions.
  • Environmental stress. 
  • Drug withdrawal or misuse.
  • Medical conditions.

Can anxiety be cured?

Anxiety is not curable, the symptoms of anxiety can interfere with your daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.

Getting the right treatment for your anxiety will help you control and manage your anxiety attacks and help you get over it in the long term. For a person with an anxiety disorder, if you don’t do the right treatment, anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. 

What is the difference between stress and anxiety?

People under extreme stress experience mental and physical symptoms like anger, fatigue, muscle pain, sleep problems. Anxiety, on the other hand, is persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even in the absence of any stressor.

How do you calm down anxiety?

For effective anxiety management strategies:

  1. Take a deep breath. Deep breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety. By breathing slower and more deeply, you signal your peripheral nervous system to soothe. Gently breathe in through your nose, count for 5 seconds. Don’t fill your lungs too full of air. Exhale for 5 seconds, allow your breath to leave your body slowly without forcing it. Continue for up to 15 minutes.
  2. Admit that you’re anxious or angry. Allow yourself to say that you’re concerned or annoyed. When you designate how you’re feeling and allow yourself to convey it, the anxiety and anger may calm down.
  3. Challenge your thinking. The best way to challenge anxious thoughts and worries is to first understand what happens to you and your mind: Stop and pause for a moment. Pay attention to your body and emotions. Challenge your sentiments against your thoughts.
  4. Envision yourself as calm. When you visualize yourself as a calming self, think about what you are experiencing through all of your senses. Notice how you sense through hearing, smell, taste, and how your body feels. When you feel ready to leave, take your time and slowly return your brain to the present.
  5. Think it through. You need to understand, you cannot force yourself not to be worried. You need to talk calmly to yourself and let anxiety just pass through rather than making yourself even more anxious by talking yourself into a state of panic. So just let the anxiety pass through. Let it happen. 
  6. Listen to music. Studies have found that listening to music can help calm your nervous system and lower stress hormones, both of which can help reduce stress. And the same goes for making music; research shows that making music can help release emotion, decrease anxiety and improve overall mental health.
  7. Change your focus. Anxious people catastrophize the situation. This tendency to focus more on bad things that don’t even exist yet can be a source of anxiety. Since anxiety is not even about the things that are happening in real life; it’s about imagined things.
  8. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can increase anxiety and is a known anxiety inducer. 
  9. Avoid alcohol. Feelings of anxiety can be overwhelming and you may take refuge in cocktails to help you relax. Alcohol can change levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. In fact, you may feel more anxious after the alcohol effect subsides. Alcohol-induced anxiety can be worse and stay for an entire day after drinking.
  10. Write it out. “Writing anxiety” and “writer’s block” are informal terms for a wide variety of apprehensive and pessimistic feelings about writing. These feelings may not be pervasive in a person’s writing life. For example, you might feel perfectly fine writing a biology lab report but apprehensive about writing a paper on a novel.
  11. Use fragrance. Roses, lavender (Lavandula), bergamot, oranges, lemons, etc, are examples of essential aromatic oils that are commonly used to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. Several studies that examined the effect of rose scents have obtained results similar to our study.
  12. Talk to someone. Studies have shown that simply talking about our problems and sharing our negative emotions with someone we trust can be profoundly healing—reducing stress, strengthening our immune system, and reducing physical and emotional distress
  13. Find a mantra. Scientific studies have found that chanting can decrease stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, as well as increase positive mood, feelings of relaxation, and focused attention
  14. Walk it off. Just as chronic anxiety and stress release excess hormones that wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being, exercise (and walking, specifically) releases feel-good endorphins that serve as natural painkillers.
  15. Drink water. Water has been shown to have natural calming properties, likely as a result of addressing dehydration’s effects on the body and brain. Drinking enough water is an important step in managing your anxiety. Even if you’re not experiencing anxiety, drinking sufficient water can create feelings of relaxation.
  16. Perform meditation. Meditation, which is the practice of focused concentration, bringing yourself back to the moment over and over again, actually addresses stress, whether positive or negative.” Meditation can also reduce the areas of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  17. Spend time with pets. On a physical level, spending time with animals can increase our immune functioning, lower heart rate, and blood pressure, and decrease pain. On an emotional level, interactions with animals can help to decrease loneliness, increase happiness, calm anxiety, ease social discomfort, and reduce the emotional pain.
  18. Take a nap. Throughout the day we come across stressful events, which trigger our anxiety, and studies show that taking a nap can calm our nerves and reduce the chances of an anxiety attack. It’s recommended to take power naps at your workplace to rejuvenate your brain and boost your energy.
  19. Enjoy your hobby. Taking up a hobby is a great way to reduce anxiety. It gives you something enjoyable to focus on, at the same time taking your mind off of the bad things that you may be experiencing. Pleasurable pastimes can be a good way to calm down an overactive mind, alleviate anxiety, and lower panic symptoms.
  20. Have experiences that will make you laugh, cry or yell out. Emotional diversity which refers to the variety and relative abundance of emotions was introduced and was found to have important implications for mental and physical health.

Conclusion

Feeling anxiety and stress is a normal, but highly subjective, human emotion. While normal anxiety serves a beneficial and adaptive purpose, anxiety can also become the cause of tremendous suffering for millions of people. Above anxiety management strategies should be useful to people who are suffering from it.

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