If you hear the words anxiety attack, what does your mind automatically think of? For most people, they associate these words to mean the same thing as a panic attack. However, they aren’t exactly the same thing.
An anxiety attack may not be as intense as a panic attack, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. Learning to cope with anxiety attacks is something that many people struggle to overcome. However, with the right knowledge, you can feel more prepared to deal with anxiety attacks as they come. Here’s how to calm anxiety attacks.
Recognize the Symptoms
Knowing how your body feels before an anxiety attack happens is a great first step. Often, when going through an anxiety attack, it’s common for someone to feel like they are experiencing something worse. So when their heart begins racing rapidly, their brain will make them believe they are having a serious medical condition such as a heart attack. This can lead to more anxiety and worsening symptoms.
So the first step to trying to keep yourself calm is to recognize how your body responds to an anxiety attack. Not everyone will experience every symptom, but some common signs of an anxiety attack are:
- Racing thoughts
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow breathing or trouble catching your breath
In the middle of an anxiety attack, it can be really challenging to center yourself back into the present. Anxiety attacks can keep someone in a cycle of repeatedly thinking about negative thoughts or situations.
Instead of staying stuck in this cycle, you can try to calm yourself down by practicing grounding techniques. One of the most useful grounding techniques is to use your own senses. Using your senses can help distract your mind away from what is going on inside of you. To try this out on your own, practice doing the following:
- Focus on five things you can see.
- Four things you can hear.
- Three things you can touch.
- Two things you can smell
- One thing you can taste
Doing these one by one will help your brain refocus itself back into the present instead of staying hyper focused on what you are feeling.
Deep Breathing Exercises
In the middle of an anxiety attack, you may find that your breathing pattern changes. It is not uncommon for people to notice that their breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. This is due to your nervous system becoming hypervigilant on the danger that it is perceiving – even if nothing is actually wrong.
You can counteract the effects of an anxiety attack by using the power of breathing for you rather than against. If you look up deep breathing exercises on YouTube, you will come across a variety of videos that you walk through on how to do this. They are typically guided sessions that, when learned, can help calm your nervous system down.
Get Some Exercise
There is a lot of research out there that proves that exercise is good for your body and our mind. Going for a short walk when you are starting to feel your anxiety attack helps your body release feel good endorphins. These endorphins help to calm your body and mind. Also, being out of nature can be highly beneficial to the mind by breathing in fresh air. It also surrounds you with different sights and sounds that can help stimulate and distract your mind.
Finding out what helps you the most to calm an anxiety attack might take trial and error, but you’ll likely find something that works. You should also get to the root of what is causing your anxiety attacks. Connect with us so we can help you learn how anxiety therapy can benefit you.