Mind over matter

Attacking anxiety before it strikes first

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The sound of the heart quickly pounding against the ribcage.

The panicky feeling that tightens the throat and makes the head feel light.

The face feeling flushed with a sudden urge to cry.

Anxiety presents itself in several different forms and fashions, which often make it difficult to identify, especially when each individual body reacts differently. Symptoms for anxiety include overwhelming fear, a feeling of loss of control, shortness of breath, confusion and hot and cold flushes. Extreme forms of one or more of these symptoms, even unlisted attributes, can lead a person to undergo a panic or anxiety attack. These attacks cause powerful physical, psychological and emotional dysfunctions for the victim, which leads to more fear and in some cases blacking out or hyperventilating.

High anxiety. Raised fear.

Raised fear. Heightened anxiety.

This natural response and continuous loop, dubbed the “fear cycle,” only makes the attack worse. The cycle makes the victim feel like they find themselves in a dangerous situation when, more often than not, nothing life threatening has occurred to provoke the attack. Breaking the fear cycle puts itself on the top of the list when it comes to resolving the attack quickly and effectively.

When in an attack, stopping the self inflicted fear ranks priority. Fearing the attack itself will make matters worse, so victims should try to change their thoughts and realize that this will pass. Easier said than done, but thinking rationally in these certain situations will ease the victim’s worries. Rhythmic breathing will also help the victim to relax and feel calm when having an attack. Trying to come back down to earth when having an anxiety attack would help in reducing how long the attack lasts as well as, coming back to reality by doing simple tasks such as talking to someone, light exercising or listening to calming music would help the recovery process.

If someone finds themselves with a person suffering from an anxiety attack, they should not panic. Displaying this fear will only make the victim’s attack worse. Instead, the person helping the sufferer should remain calm and try to take the victim out of the environment. Taking the victim out of the environment and into a more peaceful one will promote relaxation, assuring the victim and making them feel secure will subdue the panic.

Learning how to control anxiety and stress for the future will help in learning how to cope with attacks. Taking a break and setting time aside for relaxation aids in stepping back from stress and helps clear the mind. Eating well-balanced meals and getting daily exercise will help in not only the mind feeling healthy, but the body too. Getting enough sleep and limiting caffeine intake will also reduce stress and anxiety. If all else fails, talking to someone reliable and getting help from a professional should help the victim  manage their anxiety.