Stress (4)

Dealing with Panic Attacks

What is a panic attack? The fast onset of emotions, such as anxiety or intense fear, is what you will experience. These attacks can be debilitating.  Panic attacks can also produce physical ailments, too. Shaking and have trouble concentrating are two of the symptoms that may accompany a panic attack. Uncontrollably crying may be part of your attack.  4351234085?profile=RESIZE_710x

Panic attacks can cause nausea and dizziness, pressing chest pain. Many people who suffer from them report feeling as if they’re going to die. These attacks can be extremely frightening to the person suffering from them as well as to the people who witness them. 

If panic attacks are something you struggle with, there are things that you can do. In this article, we will give you tips that can help you cope with a panic attack. You aren’t out of control. It only feels like you are.

No matter what is happening in your life, getting control of your breathing is the first step. Take deep, steady breaths. Breathing in slowly and letting the air out can help you calm both your racing mind and heart. While you’re doing the breathing, count slowly till your diaphragm is totally expanded. Add 2 to the count and exhale to that count. Repeat till you regain the feeling of control.

While a panic attack can feel like it lasts forever, you might find that the worst of it passes in just a few minutes when you use breath control. Remember that the fear that’s associated with a panic attack feels real, but it isn’t.

You might feel that you’re not where you are. If your panic attacks are a result of trauma, you might think that you’re back in time and place to where the trauma occurred.

You might believe that impending doom is about to happen, but it’s not. Ground yourself in reality as you’re going through the attack. Tell yourself where you are, that you’re safe that the attack won’t last forever.

An excellent way to ground yourself, in reality, is to make a connection physically with your present moment. This might be something like feeling the arms of the chair or petting your dog.

Touching something else helps you redirect your attention. This is also true of sight. Look at something while you’re in a panic attack. Pay attention to how it is constructed and the colors of it. This is known as a redirect, and it helps calm panic attacks.

Some people find it beneficial to use exercise as a means of practicing self-care during panic attacks. Go for a walk or spend time throwing a ball back and forth with a dog. Doing something physical can be a way of redirecting, as well. There are plenty of studies that show exercising is beneficial to our mental health.

It is important not to do this alone. Having an understanding friend or support group is very beneficial. For some people, there is a need for intervention. When the fear is overwhelming, and it’s impacting their ability to function, seeing a therapist can help.  Self-care for panic attacks is critical before, during, and after they occur.

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Don’t Forget to Declutter Your Mind

One of the things you notice when you start decluttering is how so much of the clutter in your house reflects the confusion in your mind. If you’re hanging onto clothes that don’t fit, or the ugly vase your mother gave you for Christmas or the exercise bike you might get around to using, you don’t just have a problem with too much stuff. You have a problem letting go. Chances are you’re also hanging onto a whole bunch of bad feelings, ill-founded assumptions, old grievances, and future worries.4196978493?profile=RESIZE_710x

If it feels good to declutter your house, it feels even better to declutter your mind. Here are some useful expert tips to make some space in your mind.

  1. Use some meditation techniques

You don’t have to do the full sitting on a cushion in a darkened room thing to benefit from meditation techniques. If you’re feeling overwound, some simple breathing techniques can help you calm down and focus. For a few minutes, focus only on your breathing and nothing else. If your mind wanders or gets back into the worrying groove, you must put that aside and come back to focus on your breath.

  1. Write it down

It can help to write down anything that’s on your mind. Once all those worries are down on paper, you can prioritize them and work out a plan to deal with them. You can also assess them to identify what’s essential and what isn’t. When you can see what’s essential, you can focus your energy and free up some of that mental space!

  1. Stay in the present

Brooding over the past and worrying about the future take up a lot of space in your mind and achieve precisely nothing. Let go of regret over past mistakes or resentment of past slights and move on. Keep your focus on what you can influence right here, right now.

  1. Do one thing at a time

Multitasking is not only overrated (it’s very inefficient), it also leads to higher anxiety, and you never do any one thing properly. Focus on doing things methodically and thoroughly. As you finish one task, move onto the next.

  1. Control all the incoming data

We talk about being available 24/7 and the 24-hour news cycle, but there is only one person who can control that. You can choose to switch off your computer, smartphone, and tv and control the amount of data your brain is trying to process.

Decluttering your mind will pay off in all sorts of ways you hadn’t imagined. You will be more productive, less stressed, and more motivated.

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As COVID-19 slowly makes its way into major cities and small suburbs across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic.

We have been told by authorities to say in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that does not mean that we should go crazy inside and solely focus our attention on what is happening with the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the overhyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps in reducing your stress and anxiety and promoting calmness while the virus runs its course.

We’re going to go over three of the best ways that you can stay calm and centered in times of COVID-19 panic!4185698924?profile=RESIZE_710x

Meditation & Mindfulness

So, you’re anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. If you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is the perfect time to try them out and get some practice under your belt.

According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health, even benefiting aspects of your physical health. Here’s what meditation can do for you.

  • Greater outlook on life (positivity)
  • Increased feelings of calmness
  • Greater self-awareness
  • Reduced levels of anxiety and stress.
  • Improved focus

The best part is: There are plenty of different types of meditation.

If you’re unable to focus for long periods of time, you might want to try out guided meditations or visualization techniques. When you’re looking to stay more active while you’re quarantined, you can give yoga or Pilates a go!

Finding a Creative Outlet

You may be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to going stir crazy. In fact, that’ll probably only increase your feelings of panic during such trying times!

Start now and try out some new (or old) creative hobbies is now. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. That means creativity is a solid way of helping you to relax.

A creative outlet can be almost anything. A few things you might want to try out (if you have the supplies in your home).

  • Painting, coloring, or drawing
  • Singing or playing musical instruments
  • Taking photos or videos of things you enjoy
  • Building something with things lying around the house
  • Writing
  • Puzzles
  • Reading something and then writing an essay about it (yes, remember English 101 class?). This is a great way to take your mind off the world’s troubles.

Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. You won’t even notice that you spent the last hour drawing your favorite cartoon character.

Giving Back & Helping Others

It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to tackle this fear once and for all. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety.

With so many people sick or self-quarantined, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own.

As long as you’re keeping your distance and not exposing anyone to the virus, you can deliver food and groceries or do things like their yard work. It’ll give you good feelings while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbors, family, and friends to let them know you are available.

Final Thoughts

You can’t do anything yourself when it comes to curing COVID-19, there are things you can do that can reduce your panic and invoke an overwhelming sense of calmness.

By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centered, even now!

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What Is Chronic Stress?

Stress is the normal reaction of our bodies to external situations and influences. Circumstances arise that cause our bodies to increase heart rate and cortisol is released. In short term situations, like a house fire, this is beneficial. It allows us to escape from danger. After the threat has passed, cortisol levels return to normal and everything is fine. However, other situations, like everyday life, can and do, increase our stress. And when they are under a constant barrage of stressors, then this leads to chronic stress.3833526749?profile=RESIZE_710x

If life were so simple that our stress was easily digestible, then all would be well. But that is rarely the case. I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have any stress; My life is good.” Does this sound familiar? 

Morning comes, and the kids need breakfast. Running late for school and work you get everyone thrown into the car to start heading towards your destination. You make the turn out of the neighborhood to find out they are repainting lines on the street, which is causing a backup of traffic. After your five-minute ride to the school turns into 30 minutes, you hurriedly get the kids dropped off, dodge the maze of other parents, and make your way to the highway. You turn onto the highway, praying that traffic goes your way because it takes exactly 22 minutes to get from there to work and you have 27 minutes to get there before you are late. You make the turn onto the ramp and sit. Your highway has become a parking lot.

If you could stop there and do some stress relief techniques, you would be fine, but life doesn’t do that. The demands of home-life, commutes, work and an always-on-always-available stream of negative news, Facebook news feeds, IG posts, and 24-hour lifestyle, keep our levels elevated. This prolonged exposure to all of this outside stimuli compound, until one day, we throw our hands in the air in frustration, scream “I give up!” and collapse from exhaustion. That is Chronic Stress and if left unchecked, it can kill you.

HOW?

According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, Chronic Stress affects many aspects of your life. Just a few of the tale-tale signs that you are suffering from chronic stress are:

  • Headaches
  • Pain
  • Changes in Sexual Activity
  • Insomnia / Sleep Problems
  • Digestive Problems
  • Loss of Memory
  • Loss of Concentration
  • Weight Gain
  • Irritability

Any combination of these things add up and can lead to the most dangerous of them all Heart Disease. 

WHAT CAN I DO? 

Specific stress reduction techniques vary according to each person (maybe running isn’t your thing, but swimming is), but they all share a common theme.

  • Find your center through a form of meditation,
  • Clear your mind through creative ventures (writing, painting, music, etc.),
  • Change your physical habits through exercise and diet,
  • And lastly, affect change in your life.

With a stressful life, you can not lead happy life. There is no sense staying stuck in the same rut over and over again, just because that is the way I have always been. Time and again, people say, I don’t have time for meditation. I used to write when I was in college, but then life happened. Once I get home, I don’t have time to cook meals, I order in, I can’t possibly take the time out to go to the Gym with my hectic schedule. None of these statements are correct, we only believe them to be true.

 

Instead of sitting on the couch, binge-watching episodes of your favorite show. Unplug and do something. Once the habit of reorienting your life starts stress will be something that you knew you once had but will no longer be a present factor in your daily life. Sure, things pop up, but if you remember that there are outlets for the stress and that you have a plan, then you can be sure that you can handle anything life throws at you.

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