Back a few years ago I was sitting in my office, quite relaxed, I had a very quaint little book store where I worked only 7 hours a day and had about 4 months holiday throughout the whole year… it was a dream job alright! So I was sitting at my computer and suddenly felt a flutter in my heartbeat and started feeling a little faint, it was a very strange feeling, and before I realized, I had passed out momentarily on my chair. I was so scared that the next day I made an appointment with one of the top cardiologist in the country, I was barely 35 years old so I needed to make sure I found out what had happened to me. 2 appointments later, after a heart scan and having to walk around for two days with a heart monitor I found I that it had been just a very small silly anxiety attack.
What? An anxiety attack? I had absolutely no knowledge that I was stressed or even anxious about anything. I decided to blow it off and move on… until it happened again. If any of you readers have ever had a little panic attack, you’d know it’s quite unique and particular. Out of the blue you begin to worry about the silliest things, you get nervous (and probably start crying like me!), your heart starts racing, you get hungry but it’s probably just stomach cramps, you twitch and you feel very nauseous and sick… your mind keeps feeding you silly thoughts and it gets worse and worse until you feel you’re going to pas out. That’s pretty much how an anxiety or a panic attack would feel. It’s incredible how easy you can get wrapped up and fall into it, whether it’s rational or irrational.
So to end the story, my doctor prescribed some drugs, first time ever for me but you have to trust doctors right? The side effects were intolerable, I could feel energized for days on end and then suddenly fall into the saddest slump, I was out of control until I decided to quit them. As every anxiety attack arrived bit by bit I began to learn how to control them, with every episode I could learn what worked and how to get through it until it was gone.
Did you know that severe anxiety or panic attacks can lead to a heart attack? Scary thought… funny enough, the most common tip anybody will give you is BREATHE! Here’s a few more things I’ve learned along the way:
- First of all, stop! Recognize that you’re having an anxiety attack.
- If you’re in a stressful situation, a tough meeting, an argument, etc. try to remove yourself from the situation immediately.
- The shortness of breath is what gives you the stomach cramps, the heart flutters and the dizziness, this is why breathing is so important! Concentrate on it, take really slow deep breaths, focus on breathing only and keep it going until you feel better.
- Go out, take a walk, jump on the treadmill, dance in your living room, do anything active that will get your blood flowing and your mind off it.
- Laughter is a great medicine, if you can’t go out then do something fun, watch cartoons, a funny movie or even find funny videos online.
- Work on focusing on the good things, remind yourself that whatever is worrying you is not worth it, give yourself reassurance.
- A shower helps too sometimes, if you like to sing and/or dance in the shower, all the better!
- If by any chance you feel that none of these are working and it gets really bad, never be afraid to call a friend or a family member.
- Once it’s over, sit and assess! Try to find out what triggered the anxiety attack and recognize how silly the thought or the reason was, try to remember what helped you get over it and if need be, write it down.
If you have constant anxiety attacks, little by little you will begin to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Basically what you have to do is stop, observe, label, resolve and move on. Recognize the moment is starts, notice that an anxiety attack is coming on and observe which of these suggestions help… go through it and move on.
It’s also important to mention that in some cases anxiety can be triggered or accompanied by depression, this is not my case but if by any chance you feel that this applies to you, then it’s very important that you get professional help.
If you’re interested in reading more about tips or methods to control anxiety or panic attacks, I recommend you read about The Linden Method, it’s the World’s #1 anxiety treatment & panic attacks program. Read more about it here The Linden Method
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