- Anxiety attacks are our body’s reaction to stress
- Frequent anxiety attacks indicate an underlying anxiety disorder
- Anxiety attacks are longer and less intense than panic attacks
- Therapy, breathing exercises, medications and lifestyle habits can help reduce anxiety and anxiety attacks
How to deal with anxiety attacks is a question that troubles many of us. Even after we experience them personally, we may still not know what to do. There is a reason for this.
How to deal with anxiety attacks has not been taught to us. We have always relied on mental health professionals to deal with them. Or, in some cases, we do not deal with them at all. We just let them pass.
Panic attacks, or anxiety attacks, are mental health conditions. They may even indicate the presence of an underlying condition called generalized anxiety disorder.
Hence, we must learn how to recognize the symptoms and manage them.
Read this article to find ways to deal with anxiety attacks and how to help a friend through their struggles.
What Are Anxiety Attacks – A Brief Overview
Anxiety attacks are the way our body responds to stressful situations. These are longer episodes than panic attacks. Anxiety attacks can be recognized through our body’s physical responses like sweating and emotions like worry.
How to deal with anxiety attacks becomes much easier when we know what they are. Anxiety attacks are more common than you might think. However, fewer people really know what they mean.
Anxiety attacks have psychological symptoms, physical symptoms as well as physiological symptoms. We can easily recognize an anxiety attack when we watch out for these symptoms.
Other than these, there are also certain people who are more prone to have them. Extreme stress can easily spike anxiety. Similarly, feeling pressured in a situation leads to stress which can lead to anxiety.
Anxiety is that nervous feeling you get in some situations. It makes you feel like everything is going wrong. This is a more heightened version of feeling nervous. It is how your body reacts to external stress.
An anxiety attack, therefore, is when you have an episode of very prominent fear and anxiety. It is called an attack because it takes over your mind and body for the period in which it lasts.
Following are the signs that can help us identify anxiety attacks.
1. Psychological signs
One of the signs you can watch out for when you are dealing with anxiety is how you feel.
Psychological signs are not obviously visible to the world. Hence, managing anxiety through them requires awareness on your own part.
You may feel one or more of the following.
- Fear and Apprehension
- Negative thoughts
- Lack of concentration
- Pressure (to perform a task)
Thus, you may be watching out for these psychological signs of distress. They particularly bother people over time. While anxiety attacks are separate episodes, anxiety, in general, is a more long-term condition.
Another sign we should remember is our normal reaction to things.
For example, if we feel worried or apprehensive quite often, it may not just be an anxiety attack. It might be an anxiety disorder, of which anxiety attacks are just a symptom.
2. Physiological signs
Physiological signs are related to the inner functioning of our body. Physical is the external movements we do. Physiological signs are related to blood pressure, body chemistry, aches, pains, etc.
Panic attacks, which are different from anxiety attacks, have more heightened physiological symptoms. This is also because panic attacks peak in a short frame of time compared to anxiety attacks.
Hence, extreme physiological symptoms are generally categorized as panic attacks. However, these are still the signs you can watch out for, as they are common to both.
- Chest pain
- Change in your heart rate
- Dryness in your mouth
- Problems breathing
- Feeling dizzy or faint
If you experience these signs, remember to note how long they lasted. If you do ever discuss your anxiety attacks with someone, you may notice the first steps of managing anxiety.
They are usually managing the symptoms that come with the attacks.
3. Physical signs
Physical signs are the actions we perform externally. This is perhaps the most noticeable sign of anxiety and anxiety disorders. That is because they are noticeable to us as well as the people around us.
Treating anxiety and anxiety disorders is often a long journey. Dealing with the physical signs is arguably the most straightforward.
For example, when we know that we pace when we are stressed, we can time ourselves to manage the activity.
The physical signs of an anxiety attack include;
- Excessive sweating
Physiological signs of something going wrong in our body are expressed through physical actions as well. For example, changes in your heart rate can lead to sweating or even weakness.
We can watch out for the physical as well as physiological signs when we feel very anxious.
There are also certain conditions and times at which an anxiety attack is likely to occur. The silver lining is that there are good treatment options available to manage them.
Panic Attacks Vs Anxiety Attacks
Before we understand how to deal with an anxiety attack, it is also important to know the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack.
When we feel intense fear, which is mostly due to a particular trigger, we feel panic. It is a sharp, short-term feeling. Anxiety on the other hand is a long-term feeling and does not really need a trigger.
The differences between the two are based on the experience, the underlying conditions, and a few uncommon symptoms.
Experiencing panic attack vs anxiety attack
Panic attacks are severe feelings of stress which can last for an episode of up to 30 minutes. The worst or the most severe stress peaks at about ten minutes, after which our body still needs more time to calm down.
Anxiety attacks are more spread out, less severe, and can last for longer periods of time. The intensity of the body and mental stress experienced is less in an anxiety attack.
Lastly, the experience of both also differs based on what triggered them. Panic attacks may feel like they come out of the blue.
However, we can expect them with exams, being stuck in an elevator, etc. Essentially, events can cause intense fear or terror.
Anxiety attacks may come from a baseline anxious feeling.
Since anxiety attacks are not properly defined or listed in the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual), we may not know exactly when or what to expect from the experience.
Cause of panic vs anxiety attacks
Next, the two differ in the underlying causes behind them. While they are both based on feelings of fear, anxiety is a mixture of nervousness and fear. Panic is significantly more intense fear.
Panic attacks are a sign of panic disorder. This is a type of anxiety disorder where a person experiences frequent episodes of panic.
It is when a person gets easily triggered by external situations which result in panic attacks.
The exact cause of anxiety attacks is harder to judge, even for professionals. This is because anxiety attacks are generally listed as a symptom of anxiety disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Anxiety attacks are also common in people who have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and other stress-related conditions.
Panic attacks on the other hand can even occur in people without any other conditions. For example, a situation like being held at gunpoint can make even the most mentally healthy person experience a panic attack.
Symptoms of panic vs anxiety attacks
One of the reasons people often get confused between panic attacks and anxiety is that they have several overlapping symptoms.
A mental health professional or medical professional thus needs to ask pointed questions to separate the two.
The psychological and physical symptoms of both are largely similar. Panic attacks are more intense and can sometimes even feel like heart attacks. Anxiety attacks are felt for a longer period of time.
Another difference in the symptoms of panic attacks vs anxiety attacks is that the first one brings a sense of detachment from reality.
A person who is going through a panic attack may feel like nothing else except his worst fears are real.
The loss of control is more intense in a panic attack.
How to deal with anxiety attacks becomes much more straightforward when we know whether the symptoms are short-term and intense like in a panic attack, or different.
How To Deal With Anxiety Attacks
Now that we have understood the difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks, let us understand how to deal with them.
We all need some coping strategies, mainly because anxiety has now become almost a part of our daily lives. The ability to cope with anxiety is a good skill to learn, especially if you live a stressful life.
Medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of anxiety is best handled by professionals.
However, there are also some other therapeutic techniques that you can try yourself. These include relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and some additional information.
There are therapeutic techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive therapy, relaxation techniques, and exposure therapy.
Mental health practitioners use these techniques to reduce anxiety and improve their client’s reactions to stress.
People who are not seeking professional help can still find ways to reduce their anxiety.
This includes practicing some breathing exercises, talking to people, practicing mindfulness, and deeply understanding your own stressors.
Lastly, for people who have severe anxiety or a life-threatening reaction to stress, medications may be introduced.
Once your case has been medically reviewed, a professional may prescribe certain medications to help you.
Following are the ways to deal with anxiety attacks.
1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT helps you reduce anxiety and thus anxiety attacks through adjusting your thoughts and behaviors. Often, we increase our anxiety due to certain false beliefs in our minds.
For example, a constantly anxious person may feel that they are always wrong. Their thoughts are focused on all the errors they make in life. Now, even if they make one mistake, they think that it is all that they do.
That false thought leads to maladaptive behaviors. They may reduce the number of tasks they take up.
They think that every new skill they try is just a recipe for disaster. Hence, they just avoid such situations altogether.
This may go on to a point that if they do have to try something new, they experience anxiety attacks. If they are in a new class, they merely feel anxious throughout. This stops them from ever enjoying new things.
Through CBT, a therapist helps the individual rectify these false beliefs. It takes careful work and finding the right beliefs that work for each different person.
However, once you identify the base false belief, the other steps naturally follow.
This core negative thinking or false belief is what leads to anxiety. Reworking this makes positive behavioral changes easier.
This gives a person the ability to confront their fears and reduce the stress they go through every day.
2. Cognitive therapy
Cognitive therapy is a technique within CBT to reduce anxiety. It focuses on single or individual thoughts and works through them to bring relief. Our negative thoughts add up to our feelings of anxiety and fear.
However, while CBT tries to identify the master false belief, cognitive therapy focuses on the individual thoughts running through your mind during an anxiety attack.
After pinpointing the thought, the next step is to reframe it.
For example, the underlying thought of your anxiety is ‘I am going to mess up this interview.’ You can use this therapeutic technique to think ‘I have prepared the best I could for this interview.’
3. Exposure therapy
Exposure therapy particularly helps with phobias and fears. A psychiatrist or therapist uses controlled exposure to the object of fear to reduce the fear. For example, if you are scared of dogs.
This does not have to be a phobia. It is possible to fear something without having a phobia for it. If dogs really scare you, you can use exposure therapy to reduce that fear.
The therapist or professional may start by showing images of dogs. Then they will progress to telling you more information about the dogs.
In some extreme situations, you may even be shown videos or simulations of dogs.
The point is to slowly progress towards the thing that scares you. When the exposure is controlled, you have the time and space to regulate your response to it.
Hence, when you finally come in close contact, instead of anxiety, your body has a different response.
You may also pick up different tricks along the way. The idea behind limited controlled exposure is to give you the skills and defenses you require to deal with stressful situations.
Some people may take deep breaths, some may have another ritual.
Slow and steady wins the race. Exposure therapy essentially slowly makes you conquer your anxiety. When you reduce your anxiety about certain things, the number of anxiety attacks also reduces.
4. Relaxation techniques
Additionally, therapists also use relaxation techniques to help you deal with stress. Often, our stress affects our body and we feel aches and pains. One of the other symptoms of anxiety attacks is chest pains.
We need some relaxation techniques to make that pain better. It can be basic breathing exercises like taking deep breaths in and letting them out.
This resumes the flow of oxygen in your body, making you feel better.
Deep breathing also is a grounding exercise. This helps you feel more present at the moment. When you are focused on where you are, focusing on your breathing, you have less time to be anxious.
Other relaxation techniques include guided imagery. When we have anxiety attacks, we only see everything that is wrong. Through guided imagery, a professional tries to distract you towards a happier place.
5. Biofeedback therapy
This is a type of therapy to regulate your involuntary bodily reactions to stress. Through biofeedback, professionals help you get control of your heart rate, your pains, or muscle tension.
A lot of symptoms of anxiety attacks include physical distress. This means that your anxiety attack takes a toll on your body. To deal with this, biofeedback is an effective way that does not require medications.
Professionals train your body to have a different response to stress than you normally would.
For example, if your anxiety attack increases your heart rate, biofeedback helps change that response.
Through the new response, your body does not experience the tension that it usually would. You are in fact controlling your anxiety through the physical symptoms of anxiety.
The three types of biofeedback include;
- Thermal feedback, which measures your skin temperature
- Electromyography, which deals with your muscle tension
- Neurofeedback, which focuses on your brain activity
These feedbacks work to control your physical response to stress, i.e. an anxiety attack.
For people who suffer from frequent anxiety attacks and are looking for non-medication treatments, professionals may choose to offer biofeedback therapy.
While there are other anti-anxiety medications, some psychiatrists prescribe antidepressant pills to help reduce anxiety. This is because the two often come hand in hand.
The antidepressant group of medicines called SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) helps reduce the emotional signs of anxiety.
Those that experience both, or have reached a specific diagnosis of both, benefit from this treatment.
7. Anti-anxiety medication
Anti-anxiety medications are for cases of severe anxiety. This does not mean that only people who have a very bad episode can seek such help.
People with milder forms can still go to the doctor or psychiatrist and discuss the best option for them.
Benzodiazepines are the most common form of anti-anxiety medication. This helps reduce anxiety and anxiety attacks. They also make you feel sleepy.
Taking medicines is neither a bad nor a good option. Hence, the decision largely rests with the person struggling with anxiety and their doctor.
Even if medicines are discussed, you may still apply any of the other techniques mentioned along with the pills.
Anxiety often affects our entire life. Merely taking medicines does not resolve all the other effects of anxiety. Hence, certain therapeutic techniques and relaxation exercises are usually recommended with it.
8. Beta blockers
Beta blockers are prescribed to help with the physical responses to stress. Anxiety symptoms like changes in heart rate and chest pains are not good for our overall health as well.
Hence, doctors may prescribe beta blockers to help treat the heart-related symptoms of anxiety. These beta blockers are prescribed off-label.
This means that the pill has been approved by the FDA for use, but for a different purpose.
Doctors are allowed to prescribe the medicine to you because they are FDA-approved. However, they are prescribed off-label, as the original purpose of the medicine is something else, not anxiety.
9. Deep breathing
Anxiety attacks don’t only bother people with severe conditions. Sometimes, we are going through stressful times in our lives. We may have huge loans to pay off, a career choice to make, and so on.
These decisions are not easy and do not get resolved overnight. As a result, people may have lingering anxiety over it, which may even last for months. This leads to constant shortness of breath and other symptoms.
Practicing deep breathing, or slow breaths in and out helps improve blood flow. One of the simplest exercises is to breathe in, count to four, breathe out.
Focus on how you inhale and exhale, as it keeps your attention in one place.
10. Self awareness
One of the difficulties of anxiety attacks is feeling lost. You may not even know what is happening to you and why you are struggling.
If you have not taken professional help, you may not even know what to do next.
In these instances, awareness can be one of your strongest tools. You can start by telling yourself that you are experiencing an anxiety attack. Next, you can think to yourself about all the symptoms you can expect.
By creating this awareness within you, you are essentially arming yourself with knowledge. When you know what it is you are dealing with, getting through it is just a matter of steps.
If someone around you has an anxiety attack, you can help them by walking them through the steps.
Mindfulness is like a grounding technique. It helps a person stay focused in the present environment. A common struggle for people experiencing anxiety is that they assume the worst of what will come.
Mindfulness is a simple way to stay grounded and focused on where you are right now. People without anxiety or depression can also practice mindfulness as it is a good mental health exercise.
The trick here is to observe the thoughts that are coming to you in the present. Your job is only to observe that without really reacting to anything.
Hence, if you feel like you will fail an exam, just sit with that thought.
Understand the next thought that follows, without overthinking about the first thought.
When you keep playing the same thought over and over, you will start seeing it as reality and probably act out of fear.
The key is to focus on your present thoughts only. You cannot know the future, hence there is no reason to assume it will only be negative.
12. Other home remedies
While we have mentioned relaxation techniques before, there are a few more that you can try yourself.
Therapists do help with relaxation, however, there are some you can successfully do yourself.
This involves relaxation techniques like aromatherapy, guided imagery, or relaxing activities. The main point is to do things that actually relax you. When you are in an anxious state of mind, you may feel restless.
If you do something that naturally relaxes you, like listening to music, you are providing a good distraction for yourself.
When you feel more stressed than usual, do not hesitate to treat yourself to a relaxed evening.
You can smell something that relaxes you, like a good candle or flowers. You can put on calming music. Some people even find calm in certain activities. You just need to figure out what relaxes you the most.
Things To Help Anxiety Attacks
As we have seen so far, there are plenty of options available for those who want to reduce their anxiety. These treatment options are mainly what you practice after an anxiety attack.
However, you may want to engage in activities that help you maintain an overall good state of mind. We all want a coping system that we can rely on all the time.
These are also for days when you have an anxiety attack and none of the treatment options are possible.
They won’t immediately stop anything but will reduce the likelihood of you having frequent episodes.
We all need more information about what is going on in our mind and body. Since we lead such busy lives we leave that job to our doctors and professionals.
We may have forgotten that we still need to know our bodies best.
Hence, we need to read more about what these mental health conditions are. We can even come across information that makes us feel better.
Often, we realize that even though we feel like we are alone, there are many others like us.
Information also helps us understand who to reach out to. If we don’t know what is happening to us, we may not realize that we need a therapist or medical professional.
We may not even know how to describe our symptoms.
Knowledge is power. We have heard this, but somehow we have forgotten the value of this phrase.
When we know what to watch out for, how to seek help, which professional to trust, we are only helping ourselves dearly.
2. Daily breathing exercises
Next, we need to regulate our breathing every day. When we give ourselves some time out each day to just do this, our bodies reward us.
We may feel more peaceful over time. We may even rely on this time to experience some downtime, away from stress.
Focusing on your breathing also helps you regulate it when you do experience an anxiety attack.
3. Evaluate your thoughts
This may sound like it is a task for your therapist, however, you too can question your own thoughts.
You may realize that you have more negative thoughts in a day than you need to. For example, you may negatively look at simply neutral things.
This means that till you don’t question your worries and apprehensions, they will keep piling up. You may even have to ask ‘why’ ten, twelve times a day. For example, ‘Why do I think I will fail my exam?’
When you question your thoughts, you even become more accountable to yourself. Continuing the previous example, you may realize that you fear failure because you have not prepared.
That means that if you do prepare, there is no logical reason for fear.
Exercising is a good habit. Whether or not you struggle with anxiety attacks or any other condition, you can always practice healthy habits.
Exercise releases good hormones in your body, which helps you regulate the stress hormones.
Adrenaline, a stress hormone, can induce anxiety attacks. However, by maintaining a good exercise routine, you are naturally releasing happier hormones in your body, like endorphins.
Exercise also keeps you focused on your body. For the 15 to whatever number of minutes you exercise, your energy is engaged in doing something positive for your body.
This helps take your mind off other stressful areas of your life.
Anxiety attacks feel really severe, however, you do relax after some time. When you are away from the attack, what you can do is write down your thoughts.
So many times in life, an anxiety attack is nothing but all our negative thoughts piled up.
Writing down our thoughts and feelings takes away the stress of bottling everything inside us.
Once we write something down, at least some burden is off our chest. If we do this daily, we build a good routine that relaxes us in some way.
If you feel like you have nothing to write about, you can even use certain prompts. You can write about your fears, your worries, or even your upsetting thoughts.
Later, you can even come back to what you have written and objectively understand it.
6. Balanced diet
You can also look at your daily diet to help reduce your anxiety. Often, we are stressed because we are not satisfying our nutritional needs.
You can refer to your own diet and assess whether you are taking in all the necessary food ingredients.
Your body chemistry plays a significant role in your mental health. When you focus on giving yourself a good diet, your body responds well to stress hormones as well.
7. Support system
A support system is a network of your own friends, family, and relatives who you trust in bad situations.
These are the people you can count on to help you feel better. The older we get, the more important it is to have a social support system.
If you do have this network of people in your life, you can reach out to them when you have anxiety attacks. These can also be people who know the treatment option you use or what relaxes you.
Talking to them regularly is also a good exercise. This way, you feel more secure in your life. This social security gives you less reason to feel anxious.
You can even discuss your negative thoughts with people you absolutely trust.
How To Avoid Anxiety Attacks
We have seen so far that anxiety attacks are not good for our mind or body. We may all agree that avoiding anxiety attacks in the first place is a good option. However, we may not really know how to do that.
To begin with, you may see all the lifestyle changes and habits mentioned above. The reason for most of those is to live a balanced life.
When we exercise regularly, eat well, and put in time for meditation, we are also boosting our mental health.
Lifestyle changes are thus a good way to avoid anxiety. Journaling also helps you avoid building up all the negative information in your brain.
You can’t physically stop an anxiety attack, but these are good ways to avoid frequent ones.
Lastly, you can also avoid anxiety attacks if you avoid triggering situations. Certain situations like stressful jobs, last-minute preparations, etc. lead to anxiety attacks.
For example, when you have to catch a flight. People who have travel anxiety reach the airport early, keep all their documents ready and even take vitamins that will help them feel better.
This is a classic way to avoid an anxiety attack. Similarly, preparing in advance for worrisome situations avoids the anxiety you may feel.
It takes planning, preparation, and even awareness. However, through trial and error, you will find a system that works for you.
Avoiding anxiety attacks is easier said than done. We cannot avoid situations like jobs, deadlines, tests, etc. In these cases, we can avoid anxiety attacks by establishing a coping strategy.
We can have study buddies that help us reduce our stress. Similarly, we can have colleagues who help us relax after particularly stressful meetings.
We can even call up our friends on the days we feel more anxious.
None of this guarantees that you will never have an anxiety attack. However, it does help you reduce your stress, which leads to fewer anxiety attacks.
How To Deal With Bad Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks can occur in people who do not have any prior history of anxiety. The exact criteria for an anxiety attack are not listed in the official manual.
However, there are certain ways to measure if they are more severe than usual.
How to deal with bad anxiety attacks is difficult. The usual ways you use to relax may not even work.
If you are someone who has a history of anxiety, there are chances that you already know what helps you and what does not.
When your anxiety attack is more severe than usual, you may have to put this knowledge to use. This means that if listening to music only mildly helps you, it will not do much when your attack is worse than usual.
Dealing with bad anxiety attacks involves more serious relaxation techniques. If you take medications for your anxiety, you may have to speak to your doctor for an emergency dose.
Similarly, if you go to therapy, you may take an extra appointment or drop your therapist a message. When there are professionals involved in your journey, it is a good idea to notify them.
If you are experiencing bad anxiety attacks for the first time, try to relax. Focus on your breathing, focus on where you are presently. If your heart rate is high, try resting and getting it under control.
Lastly, if your symptoms are more than you can handle, ask for help. Anxiety can have a serious impact on your body, especially if you ignore it for too long.
You can seek counseling, or other expert care, to get your symptoms checked out.
How To Deal With An Anxiety Attack Alone
Just like how it is more stressful to feel sick when alone, suffering an anxiety attack alone is also unpleasant. Even more so than normal.
Anxiety attacks are in general an isolating feeling. Physically being alone only makes it worse.
Some people may even prefer having their anxiety attacks in private. This is because they feel unsafe or overly exposed when they have one in public.
While there are differing views on this, it is still good to know what you can do.
Before you read some coping strategies, you can even note that how to deal with anxiety attacks is your choice. If you were alone when it happened, you can still share it with your loved ones later.
Similarly, even if you are with your closest group of friends, you can still deal with your anxiety attack alone. The first choice in this instance will always be yours.
- Tell yourself exactly what is happening to you
- Focus on your breathing
- Don’t try to run away from any situation
- Try a relaxation technique
- If you are home – try aromatherapy, guided imagery, music
- Try a grounding exercise like mindfulness
Dealing with a panic attack alone is a lot more difficult than an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks can even last for hours. Hence, it is possible that you are able to seek help even after it starts.
Anxiety attacks are also a sign of long-term anxiety. That is why, if you suffer from that, there are chances that the people in your life are prepared to help you without warning.
If this is something you have discussed with your doctor or psychiatrist, you may even have prescription medicines for such emergency situations.
You will most likely have to make the decision for when it is bad enough for you to take them.
Lastly, if your anxiety attack goes on for days, you can even seek expert care. You can call your doctors or take an appointment with a therapist to help control it.
How To Help Someone With Anxiety
If you don’t suffer from anxiety but know someone in your life who does, this is the section for you. You may note any of the following points so you can help your loved ones when they need you.
1. Recognise the signs
It is possible that the person you are concerned for is not aware of what they are feeling.
They may not be able to tell you what is wrong because they don’t know it themselves. In such cases, you can help them understand the signs.
You can see their behaviors. You can note whether they are sweating, looking restless or breathless, have a dry mouth, etc. The physical and physiological symptoms are the easiest to note and remember.
You may even ask them questions about their thought patterns. This includes inquiring whether they have any negative thoughts or false beliefs.
You can ask them what worries them. Mainly, you are looking for clues about their anxious emotions.
Lastly, you may even note their behavioral changes. You may note whether there are particular times they are more stressed. You may ask them how they tend to relax.
2. Don’t enable their behavior
If the person you are trying to help is very dear to you, you may want to take away all their worries. You feel that if you take away the object of their stress, they will feel all better. It is sadly not as simple as that.
When you don’t let them face their fears, their anxiety will never go away. The next time a similar situation arises, they will eventually have an anxiety attack. Thus, all you did was merely delay it.
On the other hand, you can stop enabling their behavior. If they are anxious about something, you can talk to them about it.
You may even encourage them to seek proper help which will benefit them in the long run.
3. Don’t force them
When you encourage them to seek help and confront their issues, remember not to force them. You cannot force them out of their anxiety. You can only help them along the right path.
If they don’t feel ready to talk to a professional, support them in other healthy ways. It is difficult to understand exactly how to do so. However, forcing them into what you think is right won’t help.
4. Validate their feelings
Do not diminish their experience. We can say hurtful things without meaning them that way. Try to remember that even if something feels small to you, it could be a big stressor for them.
When they are in the middle of an anxiety attack, you cannot force logic into their mind. Instead, you can validate how they are feeling by telling them that you understand.
Even if you cannot empathize with their struggle, you can acknowledge their feelings.
5. Express your concern
Lastly, what you can do is express your concern for them. Anxiety attacks are more drawn out than panic attacks. This means that their struggle could be spread out over a longer period of time.
If they have started behaving differently, you can show that you are concerned about it. They may not even have realized that they are withdrawing from certain activities.
When you express concern, they may feel safe enough to explore their own feelings.
Your concern may even encourage them to talk about it or seek help. You do not have to physically get them treated.
Merely showing that their wellbeing is important is also a good first step. This will make them feel they are not alone in their journey.
How To Deal With Anxiety Attacks While Pregnant
Pregnancy is a difficult journey for the body. It is wonderful and a happy occasion, however, that does not mean all women have the same kind of pregnancy.
Some women have a difficult and stressful time when they are pregnant. Sometimes, if you have an anxious personality, pregnancy may even make it worse.
That does not mean that you are not mentally healthy. It only suggests that you need to have certain coping strategies in place to help you through it.
There are in fact certain ways for pregnant women to deal with anxiety.
The reason they also require special attention is that they are unable to take some medications. Their hormone levels are also different from their usual baseline.
Pregnant women can firstly ask their doctor how to deal with anxiety attacks. The earlier they address these concerns, the better it is for them throughout their term.
Women who have a history of anxiety or other mental illnesses must especially speak to their doctors.
These are some things that can help with anxiety attacks during pregnancy.
- Talk to your partner/friends/relatives about it
- Find an activity/hobby that releases your stress
- Engage your mind in breathing/relaxing activities
- Get enough sleep and rest
- Express yourself in words/writing
- Get more knowledge about the sources of anxiety
- Sign up for classes that make your birthing experience better
- Talk to other pregnant women in similar situations
- Attend support groups
- Talk to your doctor
Often, pregnant women have anxiety attacks because they fear childbirth. Tokophobia, which is the fear of pregnancy and childbirth, is especially stressful.
If you have any such conditions, you should definitely speak to your partner as well as your doctor.
Anxiety Attacks Statistics
Dealing with anxiety requires effort and emotional involvement on your part. The silver lining is that most anxiety disorders are highly treatable. You just need to take the first step towards seeking help.
Remember, even a slow deep breath can go a very long way!
If you are looking for a unique way to tackle anxiety, don’t forget to click here!
Rashi Modi is a mental health counsellor by training (with a Masters in Psychology) and a reader by choice. She is a hopeful social entrepreneur, with experience in the social sector, multiple NGOs, and a philanthropic mindset. She likes to write about things that continue to fascinate her, even after eight years of studying psychology - our beautifully complex mind and all the relationships we find ourselves navigating every single day. She is sure that reading a good blog along with a nice cup of coffee is an act of self care; one that she wholeheartedly supports.