In 2013 there were 8.2k reported cases of anxiety in the UK, with women being twice as likely to have some kind of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is not life-threatening. However, people experiencing this disorder may also have panic attacks which can feel very similar to a heart attack. This is caused by the body reacting to increased adrenalin. Anxiety is very common and it affects people of all ages regardless of gender. People suffering from panic attacks may experience chills, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and nausea to name a few. Although severe cases of anxiety can be relieved with the help of certain medications, what happens when you don’t want to depend on medicine in order to feel better? I’ve compiled a list with my top 5 tricks and tips to ease anxiety.
1. Breathing in and out
To stop an anxiety attack in its tracks and prevent it from turning into something more serious can be helped by something as simple as controlled breathing. Most panic attacks occur due to the individual not being able to breathe properly. This exercise involves breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Knowing how to breathe is another aspect. Count up to 3 as you breathe in and up to 3 as you breathe out, holding your breath for a few seconds when you reach the count. This is effective in lowering your heart rate as well as regulating your breathing. Focusing on something else will distract you from negative thoughts.
2. The 5-4-3-2-1 trick
Anxiety comes from the fear of the future; thus, it’s crucial to be grounded in the present. You can do that by relying on your five senses. The first thing you have to do is look around you and identify any 5 things you can see. Next start by identifying 4 things you can hear, then 3 things you can feel. Continue by identifying 2 things you can smell and lastly one thing you can taste. This is a great trick when you start getting disoriented and cannot focus.
3. Move your space
Some anxiety episodes bring a sense of claustrophobia in certain people. In this case, what you need to do is change your location. For example, if you are in your bedroom when anxiety hits, one simple thing you could do is go to another room. This tricks your brain into believing that the issue that is causing you anxiety cannot follow you as long as you change your space.
4. Tidy your room/house
Perhaps cleaning is the last thing on your mind when experiencing a panic attack, but decluttering has been proven to be an extremely beneficial course of action. Not only it helps at keeping your mind busy, but it also makes you feel more productive, which reduces feelings of depression which are usually followed by a panic attack.
5. What am I thinking about right now?
Next time you can’t help feeling anxious about something, observe your thoughts. Trying not to think about something in particular will only make it harder to avoid the subject. What you can do instead is observing your train of thoughts and ask yourself a simple question: What am I thinking about right now? You’ll notice that your brain cannot come up with an answer. This is a useful trick when you are flooded with dozens of thoughts at the same time.
Ask for help
Don’t be scared to ask for help. Anxiety is more common than you might believe and having panic attacks does not make you unstable. If your symptoms worsen, the best course of action might be to consult a specialist.
Finally, think about your last anxiety filled episode and remember that in the end it got better. Understand that these feelings won’t last forever and this too shall pass.