During an anxious period in your life, or a full-blown anxiety attack, you are going to experience some new emotions as well as physical situations; and both are equally important to understand. If you are just joining us, please read our first, second, and third installments in order to better understand some of the physical symptoms that accompany anxiety.
One of the most common emotional symptoms in a panic attack is the desperate need to run away, or remove yourself from the situation. This is, again, your fight or flight instinct kicking in. While sometimes leaving a room in order to cool down, or relax your mind or grab a glass of water (or food, if you are experiencing dizziness due to lack of a meal) can greatly help, it is important to understand one thing: you symptoms will leave even if you do not leave the room, and they may in fact continue even if you do. If you change positions, or remove yourself from a situation, the anxiety will still be present. Eventually the symptoms of an anxiety attack pique, and then slowly calm down. Your body, realizing there is no immediate threat, will begin to regain serenity.
You can help this process along by remaining where you are, and understanding what you are feeling. Along with the above, many people feel irritable, unable to concentrate, fearful, claustrophobic, or as if they are about to die. These emotions, in turn, will cause the pique in your anxiety. But seeing these emotions and situations for what they really are can make a world of difference.
First, we analyze what is happening physically. We already know we are not dying—our body is just reacting to perceived danger. Next, we analyze the fact that we know this will end. Your symptoms and feelings, too, shall pass. Afterwards, we focus on what has really made us fearful, and assess whether the danger is truly there. Were we feeling stressed out earlier in the day or week? Did a sound, sight, or smell bring back a terrible memory? Were we feeling sick, from lack of food or sleep, and wrongly confuse this with a serious ailment? It often helps to look at what happened before your anxiety hit, in order to assess what the danger level really is, and to better understand and prevent further anxiety.
Interactive Strategy #4
Good nutrition is good medicine:
You have heard the expression a thousand times. You are what you eat. Not only will healthy eating well benefit your waistline, it benefits your brain. When we give our bodies good clean fuel, they run better. No, I am not suggesting you give up your favorite comfort food or sweet indulgence. I am suggesting that when anxiety strikes you combat it with the right foods.
Many of us reach for one of our guilty pleasure foods when confronted with anxiety and emotional upset. These include highly processed, fried or sugared concoctions. They may give a little temporary satisfaction but do not ultimately contribute to making us feel better. There are a group of foods known to help boost our mood. High carbohydrate foods stimulate the body’s release of calming serotonin, one of the brain’s “feel good “ chemicals. When anxiety knocks on your door, reach for some crackers, pretzels or a bagel (preferably whole grained).
Caffeine is not helpful to anxiety. In fact, it can stimulate it. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, sodas and even chocolate. Stopping caffeine cold turkey will not be immediately helpful either. Consider slowly switching to decaffeinated drinks for the long-term and indulging in chocolate in moderation.
If there are some painful memories, for instance, or stressful times and emotions, you are going to need to analyze those and work with them. The first step is realizing you are not in danger; this too shall pass, and that you can heal and calm your emotions.
We will be discussing these next.
Remember…happiness is an inside job!
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Independent filmmaker, author, happiness coach and speaker Lisa Cypers Kamen creates these blogs to entertain, enlighten and educate our service men and women along with their families as well as support our troops. To contact Lisa, email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her websites at www.harvestinghappiness.com , www.hh4heroes.org & www.harvestinghappinesstalkradio.com.
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Harvesting Happiness for Heroes is a pending 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation. Our mission objective is to offer support services to Warriors and Warrior families challenged by Combat Trauma, PTSD and post-deployment reintegration issues. HH4Heroes offers Battle Buddy workshops, family awareness training, online community support, one-on-one coaching services, as well as retreats for Warriors to decompress from battle and understand the tools available for them to adapt their military skills to civilian society.
Harvesting Happiness & Harvesting Happiness for Heroes provides positive psychology coaching tools to facilitate greater well-being. This communication is provided for education and inspiration. This communication does not constitute mental health treatment nor is it indicative of a private therapeutic relationship. Individuals desiring help for trauma, addiction and abuse related issues or other psychological concerns should seek out a mental health professional.
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