Anxiety Attack! Simple techniques to help you manage stress
Photo : iStock
Techniques, tested and studied by Psychologists and neuro-scientists the world over are known to calm the person down. They work in multiple manner, chiefly by reducing the heart rate and increasing oxygen supply to the brain and body. Check out the basic techniques that you can do, based on the type of feeling that is the underlying cause of the anxiety.
Table of Contents
Washing your face – preferably with cold water
Washing your face is an age old effective technique, often used and recommended by all. You would have had many people recommend you to ‘wash your face’ or splash some cold water on your face.
The science behind washing your face is what is commonly referred to as diver’s impulse. It is based on the reflex action of the human body. As humans can’t breathe under water, the moment water comes in contact with face, the body goes into the mode of preserving oxygen. As such, it triggers a lowering of the heart rate, which relaxes the body.
Washing your face can be especially useful if you feel palpitation in your heart. This can happen in extreme cases of anxiety and increased stress may further aggravate the situation. Washing your face would help you calm down, lower the heart rate and instinctively bring down the stress levels.
To understand this, simply think of say Superman, his chest forward, arms on hips, looking up. This is especially helpful when the underlying emotion triggering your anxiety is fear or uncertainty.
Hero pose or posture is excellent way of broadening your chest and increasing the surface area, in turn leading to more oxygen. The tilted head and arms on the hips gives better balance and a sense of accomplishment.
Whenever you feel that the situation is getting bigger or you feel fear, especially before say an exam or interview, stand in hero pose. Do it for a minute with your arms on the hips, head tilted upwards and chest expanded. Try it and see how you feel the energy surge in your body.
Walking in open preferably green spaces
If you are feeling trapped, scared and lonely, a walk might be the best thing to do. Just step out of the closed spaces and take a simple stroll.
Psychologists believe that walking in open spaces sends the signal of safety to the brain. It reassures the brain that there is no reason to be scared at the moment.
Taking a walk, especially when anxiety is aggravated by confrontation is a good idea. Small 5 to 10 minutes walk in a nearby garden or even on the terrace would calm you down and help you better manage your anxiety at the moment.
This is the most common and most effective way to calm your frayed nerves and bring back the sense of control. Deep breathing is recommended in almost all instances of anxiety, especially when you are not able to remove yourself from that particular situation. But doing it right is extremely important.
For effective deep breathing, inhale slowly with your nose, as much comfortably as you can. Then, breathe out, slowly through your mouth. Ideally, you should inhale for about 5 second and then exhale for 7 – 10 seconds. The more you practice, the better timing you would be able to get. The only rules – breathe in through nose, breathe out through your mouth.
Deep breathing is most effective as it increases the level of oxygen in your body while also distracting your from the trigger that has caused anxiety. When focused on breathing, you are actively removing your brain from a tormenting thought and focusing on life affirming activity. So next time you feel the situation is getting out of control, take a deep breath and then, repeat it.
An Apple a day!
Apples are excellent fruits. Most often, your anxiety could be triggered by ill-managed blood sugar levels. Especially if you suffer from diabetes, this could be the only thing you need.
Apples are a rich source of anti-oxidants, iron and most importantly, natural sugars. Grabbing an apple would help you quickly get the sugar fix that your body needs, in a systematic manner. While a chocolate would do the same, an apple provides natural easy to digest sugar, which is healthier. More importantly, the fibre in the apple would ease the bowel, bringing the body to a balanced and calmer state. A calmer body is a calmer mind.
Unlike what many recommend, not alcohol but water is what you should go for. When feeling withdrawn and agitated, a glass of cold water can help you feel more centered and relaxed. Cold water would instantly help bring down the body’s temperature, hydrate the system. The twin impact helps the stressed body.
A simple word of advise. Anxiety is normal and most of us would feel it in our lives some time or another. However, if you find you are not able to manage your anxiety better or feel it once too often, talk it out. Reach out for help. Professional therapists can help you understand your triggers and guide you manage your anxiety in a better and effective manner.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.