Hey guys it’s practical psychology here and today I’m going to talk about something I’ve dealt with in the past and give you a few tips of personal experience that will help you reduce your anxiety, specifically panic attacks.
Think good thoughts. Now I know this tip is very generic, but it works. The next tips will be more specialized, so keep watching. Basically just start thinking or imagining something that makes you happy. Whether that be a special place, a super amazing desert, or someone in your life. Start thinking about the thing, and if you have to, draw it. Even if the drawing is bad, it will help your brain remember memories associated with it, and lead us to tip number 2.
If you can, try to distract your mind. Focusing on the panic attack, your fidgeting, increased heart rate, and whatever may have caused the attack will only make it worse. Instead, try to distract yourself with something like a phone game, learning new facts online, or talking to someone. Change the environment from when the panic attack started, for example, if you were in a mall, try to go outside, if you were in a hotel room, go to the lobby, it will psychologically reset your mind and might affect the panic attack.
Here’s a psychological tip that you won’t find anywhere. So, for me, when I have a panic attack, my heart races and I feel super jittery. To combat this, I like to start pacing. Now, I know this is a general coping mechanism, but for me, it definitely reduced the anxiety I feel when I’m having an attack. I usually pace in a circle. My theory is that your heart is pumping all this extra blood and nutrients and hormones into your body, but it doesn’t need them. Well, give them a purpose. Start pacing, moving those muscles, pumping that blood and give your heart an outlet to beat fast. Make sure not to overdo it or you will actually raise your heartbeat even higher.
Eating a healthy meal and staying nutritionally healthy is vitally important to reducing stress in general, but it will also reduce the severity of your panic attacks. I highly recommend consulting a professional physician to get great information about what to eat and when to eat it. As a baseline, I suggest having one large protein source a day, such as steak, hamburger, peanut butter, or pork chops. Also, eating the correct amount of vegetables and fruits is super important in regulating many hormones and chemicals in your brain and body that are responsible for potential panic attacks. Every body is different, so every nutritional plan will be different.
Exercising once a day for at least 30 minutes helps many people, and can actually start to reduce the total number of attacks per week. You can do cardio, calisthenics, or heavy weightlifting, as long as your heart rate was up, you’ll gain benefits. Obviously, each different type of exercise will work your muscles and brain differently, but there are plenty of studies an increased heart rate, as well as hypertrophy can lead to lower blood pressure levels in the long run and eventually reduced negative stress. I highly suggest a 30 minute jog in the morning, it’ll wake you up and get you ready for the day.
Now, I know some people don’t have the patience or time to meditate properly, but all you have to do is breathe deep. The cool thing is this is actually an active and passive way to reduce anxiety attacks. Breath in for 4 seconds, wait 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, wait another 4 seconds. If you do this many times a day, eventually it will help reduce the total amount of panic attacks, or at least has in my life. As well as, doing this exercise during a panic attack will shorten the length of it and help ground you.
When you are having a panic attack, make sure you have someone who loves you, and is patient enough to help you and talk you through the panic. This could be anyone, a friend, girlfriend, parents, or even a brother. Someone in your life that you trust and has the emotional intelligence to say the right things that calm you down, for most, this is someone you have an attachment with. When you do this, your brain will start focusing on the conversation and not what started the anxiety attack. Make sure you find someone who will do this for you, and you’ll be very grateful in the long run. Try to talk with them before, and make sure they understand that it could be midnight or 5Pm when you have one, and it could last from 5 minutes to half an hour.
When you get in a routine, your brain automatically starts to expect things. You can start to establish psychological comfort when you have safety in your environment. For many of those with PTSD, any reminders of previous trauma or the environment of it, can induce an attack. I suggest getting in a routine and setting apart certain blocks of the day for certain things. For me, 6AM is used for waking up, taking a shower, and drinking coffee. Try to bookend your days, making sure the first hour and last hour are almost the same every night and automated. This will also give you double comfort and help reduce total panic attacks. Sometimes just having a chaotic or new environment is enough to cause increased anxiety.
In fact, many of your panic attacks could be onset by high caffeine levels. So when you drink any caffeinated drink, the chemical compounds tell your adrenal gland to literally release adrenaline, which is what happens when you have a panic attack. I highly suggest not having any caffeine up to 8 hours before you go to bed, and it would be best if you could have 12 hours before going to sleep. The half life of caffeine is 6 hours, which would reduce the potency in your body to 25%. For this exact reason, I only drink coffee first thing when I wake up. I do know that cutting a caffeine addiction is difficult, and upon enough comments, I may make a video with tips on how I went from caffeine all day to just in the morning.
Sometimes Anxiety and stress problems can be caused by internal sources, stuff that is indirectly related to your environment. Stuff like chemicals in your brain that you can’t control. When this happens, you will need to talk to a specialized doctor who may recommend a certain medication to help with this problem. They may also have more tailored tips or exercises for you to take that are better than those listed in this video.
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