You probably experience some anxiety while dealing with changes or stressful situations.
But, anxiety may become a mental health problem if it interferes with your ability to accomplish day-to-day tasks. Anxiety may be a problem for you if you find it difficult to do things you enjoy, your worries feel distressing, you avoid situations that can cause you to feel anxious, your feelings of anxiety are strong or last for too long, or you frequently have anxiety attacks.
If you often experience a sudden surge of overwhelming fear and anxiety, you are probably familiar with the feeling of experiencing an anxiety attack. It can be a highly unpleasant experience.
You may experience fear, restlessness, distress, worry and apprehension, tingling or numbness, shaking or trembling, hot flashes or chills, sweating, dry mouth, a rapid heart rate or heart palpitations, tightness in your throat, shortness of breath, chest pain, upset stomach or nausea, and more. You may even feel like you are going crazy or dying.
You may experience one, a few, or all of the symptoms mentioned above. Just because you are not experiencing many or all of these symptoms does not mean that you are not having an anxiety attack.
11 Ways to Prevent Anxiety Attacks:
If you are prone to anxiety attacks, you should take the following steps to help protect yourself.
– Understand the emotional, psychological, and physiological components that contribute to an anxiety attack
The first step is to identify what is going on. When you realize what an anxiety attack is; what causes it; how your body responds – the many emotional, psychological and physiological changes that can occur and why; the stages of the stress response; and the way stress affects your body; an anxiety attack is no longer a mystery that has the potential to scare you.
– Do not ignore, run away from or leave what’s causing your anxiety
You should not ignore, run away from or leave what’s causing your anxiety. Instead, face the concern or fear directly to prevent it from making you panic.
– Stand up straight
When you are anxious, you tend to hunch over to protect your upper body. But, you should open your chest, pull your shoulders back, and sit or stand with your feet apart to help your body begin to sense that it is back in control.
– Focus on your breathing
By learning how to control your breathing, you can calm yourself down when you start feeling anxious. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Feel the sensation as you breathe in and out naturally through your nose. Focus on your breathing and do not think about anything else.
Take a deep breath, hold it for a couple of seconds and then slowly breathe out. Repeat it as many times as you need to calm yourself down.
– Pay attention to your thoughts and write them down
Pay attention to your thoughts and write them down to find out if they make sense. It may help you do a self-assessment and challenge your reality with ease. Just write down your frustrations, worries, problems and feelings, and reread them after a few days to make an assessment. You may realize that you were not objective when you wrote down your negative feelings.
– Assess your thoughts and approach them with positive ones
Unrealistic worries and fears often trigger anxiety attacks. So, it is important to understand that your thoughts are based on what you feel, and feelings are not objective. Let’s say you are too anxious about a job interview and you begin to think about things that may go wrong. But, you can reframe your thoughts and think positively.
We are not trying to say that you should deny that things can go wrong. It is a fact that there’ll always be stressors around you. However, if you approach them with positive thoughts first, you will be more productive and proactive about managing your anxiety.
– Remember that anxiety attacks are temporary
Remember that the debilitating and crushing feeling will not last long. If you understand that, it may help calm you down. If you become more aware of your anxiety attack, it may help you make it manageable.
– Use muscle relaxation techniques
Muscle relaxation techniques may help you control your body’s response and stop your anxiety attack in its tracks. Try to relax one muscle at a time. You can start with your fingers and move your way up through every muscle group in your body, like your hands, face, neck, abdomen, shoulders, and legs.
– Do not keep things to yourself
Do not keep things to yourself. You may feel great when you talk about your worries and anxieties with a loved one. Your loved one might not be able to solve your problems, but they may help you see things from a different perspective. Doing so may help you ease those negative thoughts in your head, identify what you are actually feeling, and find it less scary.
– Keep lavender essential oil on hand
Lavender is considered to have stress-relieving and soothing properties. It may help your body relax. So, if you are prone to anxiety attacks, keep some lavender essential oil on hand and put some on your forearms whenever you feel anxious.
– Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Processed food, sugar, and caffeine may ratchet up your anxiety as they possess components that can overstimulate your central nervous system. Alcohol and drugs may also seem to calm you down, but they can actually mess up your sleep and throw off your emotional balance. So, you should avoid them.
Instead, eat more foods rich in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B to help relieve anxiety and prevent anxiety attacks. Foods rich in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B include almonds, avocado, asparagus, egg yolk, oysters, cashews, whole grains, legumes, and spinach.