Most of us have been there. You're walking down the hallway at school, haven't had any anxiety attacks before and suddenly one hits you out of nowhere. It's not even a full-blown panic attack; it's just a seizure of fear coupled with an adrenaline rush. Leena Kasat a psychotherapist based in Mumbai shares some tips on how you can survive an anxiety attack.
Kasat says, “We all experience anxiety from time to time. It is perfectly normal and a healthy response to everyday stresses.” However, people who suffer from anxiety often have a hard time getting past their mental distress and feeling better. Everyone has their bad days where we feel stressed out or anxious about life in general. This can help us learn to identify the feelings of fear and worry that come with daily life and help us cope with them more effectively, she adds.
Anxiety is a very common mental issue that affects half of the population on a daily basis. An anxiety attack or attack is a sudden onset of intense fear, and panic accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, or nausea. It has also been referred to as distress or worry, and includes feelings of fear or dread without obvious or rational cause.
Psychotherapy and counselling help you deal with your emotional response to any situation that may create anxiety. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the anxiety. We must understand that an anxiety attack is not something that is created overnight. Different kinds of emotions of fear and worry are not expressed at an appropriate time properly. This suppression of emotions pops up in the form of an anxiety attack when it is exposed to any trigger.
The first and foremost step when someone encounters an anxiety attack is to sit down and relax. Have a glass of water sip by sip. Try to normalise your breathing pattern by taking some deep breaths. As soon as one gets an anxiety attack the breathing pattern changes and tends to take short and shallow breaths. As soon as the breathing pattern is normalised the person can seek help.
“As mentioned earlier anxiety attack is not something that gets created overnight. So it cannot be treated overnight. It requires a systematic and consistent plan of action to treat the anxiety,” says Kasat. The person suffering from anxiety should consult a mental health professional as soon as possible. Psychotherapy has different approaches to treating anxiety.
It is said that prevention is better than cure. To prevent anxiety, Kasat says that one should try the following:
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid junk food.
- Seek help: You should try counseling and get support if you have experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. This can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
- Explore stress management: Learn different ways to manage stress, such as through meditation. Learn relaxation techniques like yognidra or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Join support groups: There are many support groups that you can join and are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences with people and their coping strategies.
- Get educated: You can learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so that you feel more in control. Help your friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so that they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms. So in order to avoid that, limit your caffeine intake.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your need. If you feel like treatment isn’t working or have questions about your medication, contact your healthcare provider. Together, you can figure out what is best and is working for you.
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life and everything else will align. It can also support your overall well-being.
Also read: Live Well With Yourself