With such busy lifestyles and lots of uncertainty at present, a lot of people are suffering quite badly from anxiety.
Alongside this blog, I have recorded a podcast about calming anxiety. It contains suggestions and techniques that I have found personally helpful, and a guided meditation that may help you to manage the symptoms.
These techniques can be used in the comfort of you own home and at the time of a sudden attack or practiced regularly, they can be used to soothe a long term simmering level of anxiety. You can listen to the podcast here:
Anxiety is a normal physiological and psychological response to a perceived threat. Where the body kicks into a fight or flight response.
We need to maintain a normal level of anxiety in order to keep us safe and to keep our lives moving forwards.
When the body is living under constant stress or fear, it can lead to an imbalance in the normal responses of the nervous system and as a result, the nervous system stimulates a fight and flight response when it is not really necessary.
Past traumas or long term mental concerns and worry, can also lead to an anxious response, that triggers the nervous system into action.
Some people are living constantly with the nervous system firing off in this way and anxiety attacks are therefore having a debilitating effect on daily life.
Changes in lifestyle, such as bereavement or a new job, a new responsibility, or a change in location can be a trigger.
The peri-menopause or menopause is also a time when a woman can begin to experience anxiety. This is due to the body responding to the irregular drops and fluctuations in her hormones. The heart’s rhythm can be influenced by these hormonal fluctuations and in some women this can lead to palpitations and a subsequent anxiety attack. A drop in a woman’s progesterone level, her ‘feel good’ hormone, can reduce her ability to feel calm and can stimulate the stress responses. Also the mood changes that take place can also lead to an anxious state. If you are suffering from the any of the symptoms mentioned in this blog, it is always wise to speak to your GP. I have been listening to a wonderful book about the menopause, that you may find really helpful! You can purchase it here.
There are a range of symptoms associated with an anxiety.
Waking every day with a feeling of dread or fear.
Tightness in the muscles of the body, that is caused by tension.
Random pain throughout the body.
Reluctance to do things in life that cause a deepening of your worries or concerns.
A lack of confidence and a feeling of fear, hat is preventing you wanting to live life to a normal level.
Finding it difficult to get to sleep or to stay asleep.
In some cases, these feelings can tip into a more severe or intense attack of anxiety or even a full on panic attack.
When a panic attack strikes, a person may feel like they can’t breathe. They may feel like they are going to die and a feeling of terror surrounds them. Fear of an impending heart attack or that their heart is gong to stop, is also common. The symptoms listed below can also be present when one is having a panic attack.
Rapid or forceful heartbeat, known as palpitations.
Tightness or pain in the chest.
Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.
Numbness or tingling on the tongue.
Feeling faint or light headed.
Rapid breathing or a feeling of difficulty trying to catch your breath.
A feeling of not being fully present.
Sweating or feeling hot or cold.
Mind racing with scenarios that are terrifying to the individual.
Uncontrollable shaking or trembling.
A feeling of tearfulness and impending doom.
Get out of the house and walk in nature as much as you can. We need to be breathing fresh air and to be hearing bird song. Even the sensation of the breeze against the skin can be calming and reassuring.
Exercise regularly, in a way that you enjoy, This will help you to feel stronger and healthier. It can be reassuring in times of stress to know that your body is fit and healthy. It helps to build confidence in your own body.
Talk to friends, and relatives about how you feel.
Seek professional help by visiting your GP if you find that your anxiety is becoming a problem and is interfering with your daily life, or if you find the symptoms are worsening.
Try eating food that is more natural in origin, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Sometimes high carbohydrates can spike your sugar levels and make you feel sluggish. (Contact a nutritionalist if you want to know more about how your diet can help to reduce anxiety attacks.)
In most cases, you will need to ride out the attack as best as you can. Anxiety and panic may feel like it can kill you but it can’t. It is simply a response to a sudden release of adrenaline and this needs to work through your system.
If you find the sensations of the panic attack are creating more panic, it is harder for you to remove yourself from the immediate cycle. Below are some things to think about doing at the time of an attack to begin to calm it.
Visually concentrate on the room around you. Pick an object that you can focus on and keep your gaze there, while you calm your breath.
Try to breathe in through the nose and softly out through the mouth a few times and allow your breaths to begin to slow down and lengthen gently,
Sense your feet on the floor and take note of how that feels.
Try counting your fingers.
Allow yourself to listen carefully to any sounds around you that can bring you back into the room.
If you are at home, call someone so they can talk to you while your system works through the attack.
Make yourself a cup of warm hot chocolate or a cup of sweet caffein-free tea to soothe your senses.
I find lemon or orange essential oil is really uplifting and soothing to smell.
I am not a medical doctor, or a psychotherapist, and the advice I have given above is taken from my training as a Yoga Therapist and also from my own personal experience of living with anxiety. It is important to seek advice from your doctor if any of the above is familiar to you so you can put your mind at rest. There are some medical conditions that may cause similar symptoms so it is always wise to get a check-up.
Do get in touch if you need a chat about the subject raised in this blog!
Sending you love and soothing vibes, Carrie-Anne. x
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