Anxiety and stress. These are words we often use when we face unfamiliar situations in our live. Be it at work, school, or in relationships. They are unwanted burdens that begins by ignoring the mounting stress. As the stress accumulates, it transforms into the feeling of being overwhelmed, and into anxiety. At this stage, we might experience something called an anxiety attack where all of our fears and anxieties abruptly takes over, and overwhelm us. The onset of an attack is recognizable through increased heart rate, sweating, tense muscles, and difficulty of breathing.
An anxiety attack is an event that sends a tremendous shock and disrupts us emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically. Fortunately, there are ways that will help you deal with an anxiety attacks. So lets delve into not just what to do in the case of an anxiety attack, but also how to respond to the symptoms of an attack
- Heavy Breathing. Anxiety attack is like getting punched in the gut, it takes our breath away (not in a good way) making us gasping for air. When you feel it’s getting harder to breathe, find a place where you can sit or reach slowly to the ground so you can lie down. It is preferable that you lie down somewhere quiet, though it is not always possible. Relax in whatever way you can while slowing down your breath by intentionally keeping a slow, steady pace. It will be hard to focus on any other symptoms of your anxiety attack if you are struggling with breathing normally, making this the primary aspect in managing an attack.
- Tense muscles. When your body feels an anxiety attack is coming, it will lock up your muscles. Take some time to try and relax it in increments. Start with one section, such as the lower half of your legs. Start with keeping your feet still and try not to bounce your knees. Once you are able to rest that portion, move to the rest of your bottom half and then to your upper body, relaxing your arms and shoulders one at a time. It is important to not forget to focus on your breathing while attempting to relax your muscles. Once you work through all of your body parts, take a minute to focus on your relaxed muscles and controlled breathing.
- Overwhelming Thoughts. The most common thing in any anxiety attack is having a hyperactive mind where all of your thoughts come to you at the same time. You cannot think clearly and will try to act on every thought that goes through your mind. Adding fuel to the fire. The key to addressing it is by first getting your breathing and your footing back. Then talk to yourself. Get your mind out of the panic and then talk to yourself about making an achievable plan. Take it one small section at a time. If your thoughts are about something that you cannot control, tell yourself that you have done everything you can and focus on accepting what you cannot change. If you cannot stop thinking about something that happened in the past, try to focus on the positives of the situation. If you want to stop thinking about the issue all together, try distracting your mind by participating in some form of a mental distraction like counting in your head.
These tips are here to help you deal with an anxiety attack the moment it happens. However, that is only half the battle. The other half is what you do after such an event and thankfully you are not alone. Open up and let your concerns be heard. Find someone from within your network that you can trust and depend on to help you and check on you on a regular basis. Do seek counseling. They are trained to help you keep your anxiety under control, and find the best solutions to your situation. Anxiety is not merely catching a cold and it is perfectly fine to be needing help. That does not make you weak. It is a difficult situation but remember that YOU ARE tough so go and Reclaim Your Future.