What is Anxiety and Panic Attack?
Anxiety and panic attacks are a common occurrence if negative thoughts hijack your mind. If the thoughts are consistent and compelling enough, as well as hook into some core beliefs such as "the world is a dangerous place", then your body can demonstrate symptoms resembling a heart attack and send you off to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders of today's fast paced world. It can affect any one ranging from a toddler with separation anxiety to the elderly.
"Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or impending disaster and reflects the thoughts and bodily reactions a person has when they are presented with an event or situation that they cannot manage or undertake successfully. When a person is experiencing anxiety their thoughts are actively assessing the situation, sometimes even automatically and outside of conscious attention, and developing predictions of how well they will cope based on past experiences."
Source and further information:
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
|Difficult breathing - usually very shallow and rapid||Tightening chest (asthmatics may be triggered into an attack)|
|Tachycardia - racing heart beat (panic attack)||Feelings of impending doom|
|Intense fear||Chaotic thinking|
|Poor sleep or inability to sleep or rest||Shaking hands|
|Need to hide and avoid social contact||Inability to concentrate|
|"Butterflies" in the stomach||Excessive sweating|
|Erratic or compulsive behaviour||Pain in stomach, chest, neck or back|
"Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health problems. They include generalized anxiety disorders, social phobias, specific phobias (for example, agoraphobia and claustrophobia), panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder. Untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to depression.
Anxiety disorders are common mental health problems that affect many people. Approximately 25 per cent of the population have an anxiety disorder that warrants treatment at some time in their life and up to another 25 per cent have less severe anxieties such as fears of spider and snakes."
Some ways of managing anxiety
|Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga||Emotional Freedom Techniques|
|Reduce sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake||Increase exercise - particularly enjoyable activity|
|Medication in severe cases - prescribed by medical practitioner||Breathing exercises|
Breathing Exercise for Relief from Anxiety and Stress
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through the nose. Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed. In this exercise, your stomach should expand , while your chest rises only slightly.
- Exhale out through your mouth with tongue and jaw relaxed. While exhaling hold your lips as to make a "whoo..." sound.
- Repeat this sequence for about three minutes. Concentrate most on the out breath and allow your lungs to empty completely. It sometimes helps to visualise the air leaving your lungs and travelling down, down through your body, through the soles of your feet to "earth".
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How can counselling help you if you are suffering from anxiety?
Christine Bennett offers help through counselling and psychotherapy for people suffering from anxiety or panic attacks. Christine finds that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Ericksonian Hypnosis and lifestyle education can make a significant difference to your coping skills.