What is an anxiety attack?
What can you do?
- Go for a walk: Underestimated, but going out to get some fresh air does wonders for calming your nerves. While you are walking, try to take some slow deep breaths and focus only on the area around you and breathing – you will feel your heart rate slow down and your anxiety start to ease as you continue to do this.
- Write it down: Get those feelings down on paper. Writing is extremely cathartic and with this day and age, something we do much less of. Scribbling down your feelings, good or bad can help to get them out of your busy brain. Whether it's jotting some notes down on the bus home, or your day's events in a journal, it doesn't matter – it all helps.
- Cuddle: Human or furry friend: affection in the way of cuddles and kisses releases oxytocin in the body and also lowers the cortisol (stress hormone) levels, so reach for your nearest and dearest for a good old squeeze – it's amazing the effect it can have on your emotions promoting calmness.
- Cut back the coffees: If you love your long black (or three) in the morning, it might be time to cut back a little. Caffeine is a stimulant and taken in excess can lead to anxiety. How much it affects people varied greatly, so if you are feeling shakey and irritable after coffee, you may want to consider skipping the second or third cup.
- Look at supplements: There are number of supplements on the market that offer assistance in dealing with daily stress and anxiety. Pop into your local health store to discuss your needs with an expert who will be able to look at what medication you may be currently taking and ensuring you are making the right choice.
What is a panic attack?
What can you do?
- Focus on your breathing: Panic attacks are often teamed with very fast, shallow breathing which can make you feel dizzy and out of sorts. First and foremost you want to slow your breathing right down. If it helps, count your breathe in and your breathe out which will help to make you aware of your breathing.
- Find someone: If you are near to a family member or friend grab them for a hug or hold their hand. Knowing you are not alone does the world of help when you are suffering from a panic episode.
- Think happy: At times hard to do, but thinking of a happy event can help to calm you down. It doesn't matter what happy thought it is, just one that you know will make you think of a great time in your life and you will notice your panic easing. You may find that every time you feel panicky, you revert back to this thought as a safeguard.
- Relax your body: Concentrating on your body parts might sound weird, but it works. Focus on every part of your body starting from the toes right through your body to the top of your head. This is a form of cognitive behaviour therapy and by focussing on something like this, it distracts your mind onto something else, which often helps to slow your breathing and allow the panic to pass.
- Listen: It's hard to see the wood for the trees when you are having a panic attack, so listen to the support you have around you when they say that it is all going to be okay – because it will be. Listening to a calm voice and focusing on the tone and the words will allow you to slow done and hopefully breathe your way out of your panic.