Hello beautiful person of the world!

Today´s post will be a little different of my usual content.
I have decided to share with you something I think will be really useful for those who are dealing with anxiety.
I´m a psychology major student, prepping to be a therapist and I think with my knowledge I could help a lot of people.
You see, since I was little (and without actually realizing) I have been dealing with anxiety.
I think people often don´t know what is that they are feeling and because of that, it´s really difficult to do something about it.
Recently I have discovered I actually have an anxiety disorder and I have experienced several anxiety attacks.
And even tho I already knew the clinical theory about anxiety and its attacks, I didn´t knew how to deal with it and got really scared.

After lots of research and help from my therapist, I made this list of how to deal with anxiety and today I will share it with you, hoping it will help you feel better.

First, let me explain the basics...

What is an panic/anxiety attack?

From a clinical view, both panic and anxiety attacks have the same symptoms.
This attacks appear all of the sudden. Maybe out of stress or fear.
The symptoms that you may experience during an attack are:

  • Heart Palpitations
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Short of breath
  • Feeling you might pass out
  • Nausea
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Choking sensation, tightening throat
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Fear

I know that when you are experiencing a panic/anxiety attack, you get really scared and usually don´t know what to do.

The first thing you need to know is that your symptoms will pass and you will be okay.
Next you will do what it´s called box breathing.

Let me explain to you a little about our body.
When our surroundings become somehow treating to us, our brain turns on the sympathetic nervous system, which makes our body alert, activating some physiological reactions that allow us to survive. It´s like we where under attack and our body must defend itself.
One of those physiological reaction is the acceleration of our breathing.
With the "box breathing" we will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the one in charge of calming our body and its reactions to "danger".

How to: Box breathing

Put one hand just below your belly button and another in your chest.
We are used to expand our chest when we inhale but in this type of breathing you need to try to held your chest flat and what should expand is your belly.
Imagine it as a balloon. When you inhale, inflate your belly.

You will inhale in 4 seconds.
Hold for 4 seconds.
Exhale in 4 seconds.
And hold for 4 seconds.

Repeat this steps as many times you need until you feel the panic/anxiety attack is disappearing.

For a bonus tip, you could download 2 apps that have this guided breathing exercise.
- Pacifica: this app it´s really great because it has lots of guided exercise and meditation that can help you deal with anxiety. The only down side of it it´s that for some of them you must pay a subscription. But don´t worry, the basic ones you need are free.
- Oak: this app has the specific box breathing exercise and it´s amazing because it is a 100% free app.

Another ways to deal with anxiety

1. Drink chamomile tea.
Its properties can help you to relax.
You could also try another type of tea with calming properties, just check that it doesn´t have caffeine in it.

2. Aromatherapy.
Look for lavender, jasmine, bergamot, chamomile, valerian, etc.
There are so many good articles out there where you can find the right essential oils for you.

3. Cold compress.
This one was recommended to me by my amazing therapist.
You will lay down somewhere comfortable to you and place a cold compress (if you don´t have a compress, you can use ice wrapped around a towel or something that is chilled but that doesn´t hurt you in any way) on the back of your neck, just below your head, on the nape of your neck.
You could do this and also try the box breathing.
Stay in that position as much as you need. The point here is for you to feel better, more calm.

4. Listen to instrumental music.
Listening to music can lower your heart rate and make you feel more calm.
There are some great playlist at Spotify you could check out.

This next tips are more medium - long term...

5. Read about anxiety.
This really helped me understand my symptoms and feelings. Once I knew more about anxiety and its causes, I got better at dealing with it.
I recommend an specific book: "How to control your anxiety before it controls you" by Albert Ellis.
I mean... the title it´s pretty self-explanatory. It´s truly an amazing book by an amazing author!

6. Go to therapy.
I coudn´t finish this post without recommending something I think it´s basic for anyone's health.
Therapy is amazing and it can help you in so many ways and with many things.
Do some research, ask people you trust and look for recommendations.
Finding the right type of therapy and the right therapist can take some time, but once you find it, I swear it will help you a lot.
My tip is for you to look up for cognitive behavioral therapy.
Just be patient, try to keep an open mind and don´t give up.

I really hope this post helps you in any way and please, if you have more questions about this subject, don´t hesitate in sending me a message. I will do my best to answer as many questions as I can to help you.

Love,
-℘