Natural Ways To Cope With Anxiety Attacks
10 months ago
Anxiety and mental health has been one of the trending word during the #stayhome period, but what does it mean to have anxiety and how can you deal with it?
It is normal to get anxious, but how much is too much?
Stressful situations that make our heart palpitates faster than usual, or ignites those sweaty palms, is anxiety. Those few moments when your heart’s in your mouth because you’re about to go on stage, your first big examination, an interview, a doctor’s appointment, or you’re meeting your baby for the first time and you have totally no idea what to expect. Anxiety is our body’s reaction to stress, it is a mental health condition that can cause worry, fear and nervousness; and in extreme situations, it is possible to have a panic attack led by anxiety. Learning what your triggers are will be especially helpful to manage such stressful situations. Identifying your triggers may take longer than you expect, however, should you be in such a situation, do try to take back control with the below methods.
10 ways to cope with anxiety attacks naturally
1. Practice focused, deep breathing
When you even out your breathing, you will slowly start to calm down as your heart rate slows down. Breathing techniques are designed to help your body into a state of relaxation. The easiest method to start is to do 4 counts of breathing in and another 4 counts of breathing out, for a total of 5 minutes. Focus on your breathing and and the sensation of breath instead of other thoughts. If you find that various thoughts start emerging, try to refocus back into your breathing.
2. Meditate to calm down
There are several free classes via apps for meditation and it is easy to get started. Usually in direct relation to breathing, meditation can help you focus and keep your mind free of thoughts.
3. Use aromatherapy for anxiety attacks
Making use of scents that have a soothing effect will help to calm down the senses. Scents such as lavender, camomile and sandalwood have soothing properties and more than just that. Lavender helps to calm anxiety and improve sleep. A study in Physiology & Behavior in 2005 has amazingly shown that people who breathe in the scent of lavender prior dental treatment actually lessened anxiety and improved mood. Aromatherapy has been known as the most natural remedy since the olden days.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercising is a natural anti-anxiety remedy and in your own time! Engaging in exercising actually helps divert your attention from the very thing that was actually worrying you in the first place. Did you know that exercising helps to release endorphins that makes you feel happy? Not only that, it also increases dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid. Big words that are related to feeling happy, confident, feeling less anxiety and stress, or even pain!
5. Go Green!
Not just in the recycling department. We’re talking about going outdoors or doing things that are in relation to anything green such as planting or a walk in the park. Nature has its way of calming the senses. Getting your hands dirty while gardening can also release mood-boosting chemicals that help calm down anxiety.
There are various pressure points of our body that can help to reduce stress and ease anxiety, which is why many people fall asleep during massages (unless you opt for Thai body-bending types then we can’t say the same about falling asleep!). Therapists are trained to know about the different pressure points as they unknot muscles, which is why you’ll always feel ‘lighter’ after a session!
It is hard to sleep when you’re having anxiety but did you know that having enough sleep actually helps you to recharge your brain and boost your mood? Getting enough sleep also boosts your focus and that will come in handy when you’re at point 1 and 2. Standardise your sleep time and get enough 7-9 hours of sleep daily. Wind down prior bedtime and keep away from your devices.
8. Managing your diet
Nothing quite beats the woes of a day than having a couple of drinks with your bestie or other half. The cue here is knowing when to stop. Over-drinking can actually make you more anxious. Heavy drinking can potentially add on to your anxiety as it indirectly affects your lifestyle, work and induce various health problems.
Have you also had your heart work harder for you by drinking too much coffee? Do you know that the caffeine in coffee causes heart palpitations if you take too much of it? Resulting in panic attacks and anxiety, and especially so if you have anxiety disorder. Soda is another quick fix of joy but the ingredients which contain high-fructose corn syrup and a hundred over google-worthy list will affect your nervous system. Aside to that, drinking too much soda will cause the outer layer of your teeth to lose minerals and invite cavities to form.
Sugars, processed foods, sodas and many others have been known to affect anxiety. The key is to eat well-balanced meals and always eat in moderation.
9. Setting up a list with proper time management
Set your priorities right. Do up a list and note down in sequence the urgency to it. Chances are when you list them out, you will realise things are not requiring that much attention as you thought it to be. In anxiety, you will feel that many things coming to you at once can be suffocating and hard to deal with. Prioritising them will give you a clearer picture of what is needed to be completed and what can wait, giving you focus on what’s next on the plate.
10. Practice 5,4,3,2,1
If you frequently face panic attacks, try the Coping Technique for Anxiety which is known as the grounding technique. Start by slowing down your breath and:
- Find FIVE things that you can see around you.
- Look for FOUR things you can easily touch around you.
- Listen to THREE things you can hear around you.
- Find TWO things you can smell around you.
- Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
This technique will help you stay grounded, calmer, by taking notice of the things around you.
While uncomfortable and unpleasant to deal with, a normal anxiety comes and goes, and has little effect on your everyday life. Red flags are when the feeling gets so intense and it stays with you, affecting your quality of life and stops you from doing the things you used to enjoy. If left untreated, anxiety disorders can usually go down a slippery slope.
Should you feel that the methods above don't work for you and that you needed some extra help, don’t hesitate to speak to a doctor or a close friend. It is okay to ask for help.