Do you suffer from panic attacks and/or anxiety? Here are 8 tips proven to help you cope and overcome them.
1. Sleep – Try to make sure you get a good nights sleep. Sleep is very important so your body is fully rested for the battle ahead. It’s hard work suffering from an anxiety disorder and fatigue can happen often. When you are fatigued you let your guard down. Try and get 8 hours sleep each night, if you can get yourself into a good sleep pattern and schedule you are preparing your mind and body the best way possible.
2. Eat well – Make sure that you are eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables daily, as well as complex carbohydrates and protein. These foods are known to boost serotonin levels (the happy chemical) in the brain and which will enhance your mood. You should try to eat lots of foods that contain B Vitamins, such as greens, beans, eggs and lean meats like chicken and fish. I always start the day with a large glass of fruit smoothie, shop bought ones are great but you can have fun making your own too! As an extra boost I sometimes add a couple of spoons of flaxseed.
3. Exercise! – I can’t stress the importance of exercise in overcoming anxiety. Light to moderate exercise every day, it doesn’t have to be strenuous. A 30 minute walk, swimming, light jogging, sports. It is entirely up to you but something you enjoy. Exercise boosts your mood and it also helps you to sleep.
4. Hobbies – The key to beating those damaging anxious thoughts is distraction. There is nothing worse for someone with anxiety than sitting around on the couch and ruminating. Find something to distract yourself, and something that takes your whole attention, but is also fun to do. Arts and Crafts, pets (I have 4 cats and I love to play with them) Photography, cooking, anything you love to do. It makes you feel good just to realise for an hour or so you didn’t think those nasty ‘what if’s’
5. Write a journal – Writing down your thoughts, fears, whatever is troubling you can be very therapeutic. A lot of our anxieties are bottled up inside us and we ruminate on them. You may suffer physical symptoms of anxiety, write these down too. Having a journal is like having a record of everything you felt and feared, all the symptoms, all the worries, all the things in your mind that you wish weren’t there. Write them down and get them out of your head.
6. Sunshine – Vitamin D is crucial and there is no better way to get it than from the sun. 15 minutes a day goes a long way. Feeling that sun on your skin, that warm feeling, summer and fresh air. It’s a great mood enhancer. Of course always remember to wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen if needed. But do yourself a favour and take 15 minutes out of your day to sit in the sun, relax, read a book, whatever you like but let that sunshine through your eyelids.
7. Breathe! – We often don’t even realise it, but when we are anxious we often don’t breath right. Shallow breathing through the chest doesn’t give enough oxygen and you can easily find yourself hyperventilating, and we all know what happens then, panic! The answer is belly breathing, nice and slow. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth and watch as you breathe that your belly rises and falls. Do it nice and slow and you will feel yourself getting calmer. You can find breathing exercises online to suit your needs.
8. Relax! – Take 30 minutes to an hour every day just to relax, just for you, ‘ME time’ Whatever you want that to be. Yoga, meditation, a nice bath with lavender oils and candles. Reading a book, playing a game, paint your nails, video games. This bit is personal for you and it’s to give yourself a reward at the end of the day, or beginning whichever you choose, the point is it is for YOU. Because you have earned it.