8 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety Attacks
Unfortunately, many of us turn to medication for a “quick fix” for anxiety. Yes, today’s prescription drugs can quickly ease the symptoms for someone suffering from anxiety or panic attacks, but there are risks. Side effects can make using anxiety medications very unpleasant, and coming off these medications can be a very long, agonizing process if you experience withdrawal symptoms. If you are seeking help for dealing with anxiety attacks, you will be much better off in the long run if you use more natural treatment methods that treat the causes of your anxiety, not just the symptoms.
In terms of managing and dealing with anxiety attacks naturally, here are a few of the most popular treatment options:
Self-monitoring is one of the most effective ways of dealing with anxiety attacks. This method involves tuning into your thoughts and behaviors to identify what is causing you stress, and what physical symptoms occur when certain anxiety triggers arise. The best way to do this is to keep a journal with the dates and times of the day you feel an anxiety attack coming on. With the method it is very important to be honest about your feelings and behaviors and make documenting them a habit. One you identify your stress triggers and the situations or times of day they are most likely to occur, you can begin to look for a solution. Developing this kind of self-awareness, or insight, is a very important initial step towards recovery from any kind of anxiety.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective ways of dealing with anxiety attacks in the long term. It is best used once you have gained semi-control over your stress and panic attacks. This type of therapy helps anxiety attack sufferers to cope with the problems that are causing them stress. Basically, you and your therapist set challenges and goals; then you will work on changing your way of thinking to bring about a positive change in the way you react to situations that normally trigger anxiety attacks. There are many anxiety self help programs that are based on cognitive behavioral therapy, such as Panic Away and the Linden Method. These programs can be very successful in treating anxiety or panic attacks without the expense of visiting a therapist.
The goal of meditation is to help calm you down and relax you. Meditation is best done on a regular basis, as you will reap the most long-term benefits. For example, 10 minutes of meditation before you go to bed each night or right after you wake each morning, will help to calm your nerves. To begin meditation at home, you can buy guides for beginners at your local bookstore or online, or you can use relaxation CDs which help guide you into a meditative state. Also, guided meditation classes may be available in your local area.
4. Yoga or Other Forms of Exercise
The majority of us do not get as much exercise as we should. For help with dealing with anxiety attacks, set aside some time each day or every week to do some sort of exercise. You don’t have to go out and start running five miles a day. Start with a small amount of exercise and slowly build it up to 20-30 minutes most days. Any type of exercise will help; take up swimming, aerobics, yoga, or just start taking daily walks around your neighborhood. It is best to combine regular exercise with a healthy diet; get the most benefits from exercise by avoiding or cutting down on processed foods, sugars and unhealthy fats.
With hectic schedules and busy lives, it seems as if many of us have forgotten how to relax. Relaxation is a skill that many of us just do not have, but it is very important to learn this skill, as it will help in dealing with anxiety attacks. Luckily, your options for relaxing activities are endless; you can go for a short stroll, listen to your favorite music or watch a favorite movie of yours. Anything that you enjoy doing that soothes and calms your nerves is recommended; consider it your “me time.”
6. Eliminate or Cut Down on Cigarettes, Alcohol and Caffeine
Caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes are not part of a natural diet. In fact, alcohol is a depressant that will only make your stress and anxiety worse. They are not only bad habits, but they make dealing with anxiety attacks more of a challenge. Unfortunately, it is easy to develop a dependency on alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes; for that reason, do not quit cold turkey. Get help to gradually wean your mind and body off these items and soon you’ll find you feel much healthier and better able to cope with your anxieties.
7. Start Thinking More about Others
When we are dealing with anxiety attacks it is easy to become self-absorbed and lost in our own worries and anxieties. But this doesn’t help the situation. In fact wallowing in our own problems can make things worse. Try instead to think more about other people around you. Make an effort to talk to others and ask them about their day. Try doing some volunteer work, which not only helps other people but makes you feel good as well. Even just a simple smile and “hello” to a stranger will make you feel better about yourself and you may just make their day too.
8. Don’t Keep Your Feelings Bottled Up Inside
Many people think that if they ignore their problems they’ll disappear. This rarely happens. The emotions we keep bottled up inside always have a way of coming out and this can very easily lead to anxiety attacks. It helps to have a strong support system involving your family and friends. Talk about your emotions with them, whether they are good or bad. You may be surprised, but “letting it all out” is one of the easiest and most effective ways of dealing with anxiety attacks. If you are unable to talk to your friends or family, look for an anxiety support group in your neighborhood or online.
Try using some of these natural methods for dealing with anxiety attacks and you will soon find that you are much better able to cope with the stresses and anxieties of life.
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