Anxiety attacks, sometimes referred to as “panic attacks”, seem to be commonplace in today’s society. Whether it’s due to mental health becoming less of a taboo subject to talk about or if people are just more aware of themselves, or if today’s world is just a lot more stress- and anxiety-inducing compared to generations past, we can’t be too sure. What we should know, however, is how to manage anxiety.
It may sound like a cliche at this point, but there is nothing stronger than your own mind. That’s pretty much how anxiety attacks are able to control you if you let it go too far. The general idea is to overcome the power of anxiety to regain control over yourself. Here are a few methods you can use to manage your own anxiety:
One of the symptoms of anxiety is difficulty breathing. So, a tip for managing anxiety is to stop whatever you’re doing for the moment. Just stop, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. One deep inhale, followed by a slow exhale. Repeat the cycle until you feel a bit calmer and you can grab a hold of your thoughts.
A common suggestion of psychologists is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. This involves inhaling completely through your nose for four counts before holding your breath for seven. Then, slowly exhale through your mouth with a whoosh for a further eight counts. Not only does this help ensure enough much-needed oxygen is coming into your body, it also keeps your mind focused on something other than the anxiety.
Find out what’s bothering you
This is a lot harder than it sounds, but taking a moment to figure out the exact cause of your anxiety is the best way to overcome it. However, it can become easier once you’ve done the breathing exercise mentioned before. Sometimes all you need is a moment to yourself to gain clarity.
Ancient Egyptian mythology saw the power in names. That same mindset can be applied to mental health. Name the reason why you might be anxious – Did someone say something to hurt you? Is there something or someone you’re afraid of if you go to a certain place? Perhaps it might just be the thought of getting ill after being in a crowded place. Again, being able to pinpoint exactly what may be bothering you is the most important step to managing anxiety.
Honestly, there is nothing more beneficial to one’s mental health than getting some exercise. You don’t need to be a gym maniac to be able to enjoy the mental benefits of exercise, either. Even a 30-minute walk around the block can be enough to ease any anxiety you may face. Breathing in fresh air is also highly beneficial to our bodies – both mentally and physically – so, it’s no wonder that it’s a helpful tool to use when managing anxiety.
However, being able to get yourself to get out and do some exercise can be quite difficult for some people. This is especially so if you also suffer from depression. Plenty of studies have found that the hardest part of creating a habit is to actually start it.
With that said, exercise is an amazing habit to have in your life. It is definitely a slow habit to incorporate into your daily life, but it is well worth both the effort needed to do so. But, once you’ve successfully made it a habit, you can look forward to its amazing mental and physical benefits.
Human beings have a terrible tendency to turn to substances to manage any psychological disorder – managing anxiety is no different. Whether it’s smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or even eating edibles, relying on a substance to ease your anxiety is the worst way to go. Sure, it might be a great quick fix to “numb the pain”, but there are severe long-term consequences.
Unbeknownst to many people, coffee is also a substance that’s hyper-fuel for anxiety. Some suggest limiting or even quitting caffeine. Rather, try to utilize some of the tips we’ve listed in this article to manage your anxieties. Go for a walk, and concentrate on your breathing. These may seem like redundant methods, but in reality, they are some of the most powerful tools a person can wield against mental illness.
A panic attack is no fun to have. Anxiety is one of the biggest deterrents to enjoying life to the fullest. But knowing and practicing the tools available to manage anxiety will be a great help to living life to a relatively normal standard. Do you have any tips for managing anxiety that we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!
If you’d like to learn more about anxiety and panic attacks, there’s a great TED-Ed video about it by Cindy J. Aaronson:
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