Hello everyone, I hope that you are all doing well:) I mentioned in my previous post that I plan to write more posts covering mental health and wellness this year. I find it extremely therapeutic to write about my experiences, and it feels good to know that it may be helping someone that is reading.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you’ll know that anxiety is something that I have been dealing with and trying to overcome. I started off with experiencing moderate symptoms of anxiety to it than developing to having anxiety attacks. If you’ve ever had an anxiety attack, then you’ll know how terrifying & draining it can be. I wanted to share my experience in dealing with anxiety attacks, and how I have managed to find ways to prevent them from happening over time;
My experience and techniques
When I had my first anxiety attack, I had no idea what was happening to me. I honestly felt like I was having a heart attack and experienced symptoms of a pounding heartbeat, dry mouth, dizziness, and feeling completely detached from reality. I remember thinking that it was the end of the road for me while I struggled to regain my breath. It was probably one of the most terrifying ordeals that I’ve ever experienced – and not knowing what was happening to me made it 10 times worse!
Although the symptoms and the duration of having an anxiety attack can differ for everyone, the good news is that using the specific techniques that I’m going to mention can work for any type of anxiety attack. I was taught these techniques while I received CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy
Take control of your thoughts: When you are in a state of panic, it’s easy to lose control of what you’re thinking. Especially when the physical symptoms start to kick in. I’ve found that talking myself through what is happening helps to compose my thoughts, and regain control of the situation. I’ll tell myself that I’m experiencing a period of heightened anxiety, and what I am feeling will pass. I can’t stress how much this has helped me to regain control with not just when I have a panic attack, but also when I’m going through any stressful situation.
Practice deep breathing: I was taught several deep breathing techniques during my CBT sessions, but one that has helped me tremendously is the four-two-six breathing technique. Essentially all you need to do is breathe into a count of four, hold for a count of two, and exhale to a count of six. Practising this technique really helps to bring my breathing back to normal and eases my mind when I’m feeling anxious.
Refocus your attention: Whenever I am feeling periods of extreme anxiety, I will try my best to distract myself and refocus my attention, especially if I feel an anxiety attack creeping. An example of things you could do is to go for a walk, call a friend, or if you are at school/work then go and get some fresh air and practice deep breathing.
Spotlight: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique: The spotlight 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is another very effective coping method that I was taught to help calm me when my anxiety creeps. This calming technique will take you through your five senses – look, feel, hear, smell and taste – to help refocus your attention and remind you of the present. This is a particularly good one to practice if you are out in public (school/work) as it helps to ground you back to the present.
Don’t suffer in silence: It is very important to find people that you could talk to such as a family member, friend or colleague, so if you do experience an anxiety attack they will know exactly what to do. Having a calming voice and support when you are experiencing an anxiety attack will give you comfort and make you realise that what is happening is temporary and that you will be okay.
Get some fresh air: This seems very simple, but I cannot begin to explain how effective this is for me. Fresh air & movement is quite literally like medicine for me when I am feeling anxious. If I am going through a particularly stressful period than I like to take myself on long nature walks. There is nothing more soothing than being surrounded by nature – It reminds me how small my issues are, and grounds me back to reality. Trust me, put on your walking shoes next time that you’re feeling the anxiety creeping in and take yourself on a huge nature walk:)
I hope that you have found this post useful & gained some tips on what to do when you feel an anxiety attack coming or if you’re feeling overly stressed/anxious. I know there are plenty of other techniques that you can use, but I wanted to share ones that have been genuinely effective for me which I hope can help you too. If you are dealing with anxiety that is interfering with your everyday life, then I highly recommend that you speak to your doctor. They may refer you to receive CBT as they did for me, which I highly, highly recommend.
Please feel free to share which techniques you like to use to prevent an anxiety attack and manage day-to-day anxiety in the comments below:) Let’s help each other overcome anxiety and be our best selves!
Love Elle N xx