Saturday, 2 June 2012

8 Tips to Help Cope With Panic and Anxiety

Do you suffer from panic attacks and/or anxiety? Here are 8 tips proven to help you cope and overcome them.

1 Sleep - Try to make sure you get a good nights sleep. Sleep is very important so your body is fully rested for the battle ahead. It's hard work suffering from an anxiety disorder and fatigue can happen often. When you are fatigued you let your guard down. Try and get 8 hours sleep each night, if you can get yourself into a good sleep pattern and schedule you are preparing your mind and body the best way possible.

2 Eat well - Make sure that you are eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables daily, as well as complex carbohydrates and protein. These foods are known to boost serotonin levels (the happy chemical) in the brain and which will enhance your mood. You should try to eat lots of foods that contain B Vitamins, such as greens, beans, eggs and lean meats like chicken and fish. I always start the day with a large glass of fruit smoothie, shop bought ones are great but you can have fun making your own too! As an extra boost I sometimes add a couple of spoons of flaxseed.

3 Exercise! - I can't stress the importance of exercise in overcoming anxiety. Light to moderate exercise every day, it doesn't have to be strenuous. A 30 minute walk, swimming, light jogging, sports. It is entirely up to you but something you enjoy. Exercise boosts your mood and it also helps you to sleep.

4 Hobbies - The key to beating those damaging anxious thoughts is distraction. There is nothing worse for someone with anxiety than sitting around on the couch and ruminating. Find something to distract yourself, and something that takes your whole attention, but is also fun to do. Arts and Crafts, pets (I have 4 cats and I love to play with them) Photography, cooking, anything you love to do. It makes you feel good just to realise for an hour or so you didn't think those nasty 'what if's'

5 Write a journal - Writing down your thoughts, fears, whatever is troubling you can be very therapeutic. A lot of our anxieties are bottled up inside us and we ruminate on them. You may suffer physical symptoms of anxiety, write these down too. Having a journal is like having a record of everything you felt and feared, all the symptoms, all the worries, all the things in your mind that you wish weren't there. Write them down and get them out of your head.

6 Sunshine - Vitamin D is crucial and there is no better way to get it than from the sun. 15 minutes a day goes a long way. Feeling that sun on your skin, that warm feeling, summer and fresh air. It's a great mood enhancer. Of course always remember to wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen if needed. But do yourself a favour and take 15 minutes out of your day to sit in the sun, relax, read a book, whatever you like but let that sunshine through your eyelids.

7 Breathe! - We often don't even realise it, but when we are anxious we often don't breath right. Shallow breathing through the chest doesn't give enough oxygen and you can easily find yourself hyperventilating, and we all know what happens then, panic! The answer is belly breathing, nice and slow. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth and watch as you breathe that your belly rises and falls. Do it nice and slow and you will feel yourself getting calmer. You can find breathing exercises online to suit your needs.

8 Relax! - Take 30 minutes to an hour every day just to relax, just for you, 'ME time' Whatever you want that to be. Yoga, meditation, a nice bath with lavender oils and candles. Reading a book, playing a game, paint your nails, video games. This bit is personal for you and it's to give yourself a reward at the end of the day, or beginning whichever you choose, the point is it is for YOU. Because you have earned it.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I have a few Worksheets for you all to download and use at your own leisure.


Health Anxiety Thought Record

Relapse Prevention

Bipolar Mood Management

Activity Diary

Sleep Diary

If you can think of more, please comment or say on the Anxiety Central website.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Surprising Facts About Panic Attacks

Surprising Facts About Panic Attacks

People talk about “having a panic attack,” but what does that really mean? Technically speaking, a panic attack is much more than an ordinary case of nerves. It’s an abrupt attack characterized by an intense fear of doom, disaster, or lost control, even when there’s no real danger. Yet the terror itself is very real. People in the grips of a full-blown panic attack may feel as if they’re literally having a heart attack, suffocating, going crazy, or even dying.
This feeling is heightened by the strong physical reaction that often accompanies a panic attack. Symptoms may include a racing heart, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, nausea, dizziness, choking feelings, tingling sensations, hot flushes, or chills. Many of the symptoms mimic those of other illnesses, such as heart disease or severe asthma, so panic sufferers may be convinced that they have a life-threatening medical condition.
About 6 million Americans experience repeated panic attacks in any given year, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Recent research has produced some fascinating insights into this widespread—but not widely understood—problem. Here are four findings that may surprise you.

Fact 1: Panic attacks aren’t as out of the blue as they seem

One hallmark of panic attacks is that many seem to occur out of the blue. Yet the body may have some warning, even if the mind isn’t consciously aware of what’s coming. In a recent study, researchers at Southern Methodist University in Dallas outfitted panic sufferers with portable monitoring devices, which tracked their breathing, heart rate, and other bodily functions. Participants wore the monitors round the clock as they went about their daily activities.
Thirteen panic attacks occurred during the study. To the people having the attacks, they felt sudden and unexpected. But monitoring showed that waves of subtle physiological changes started an hour before panic sufferers felt the attacks begin.

Fact 2: Stressful events may trigger panic attacks months later

People with panic disorder have repeated panic attacks, and many worry a lot about when the next one will happen. Scientists also wonder about what sets panic in motion. In a study of adults with panic disorder, Brown University researchers found that stressful events at work or in close relationships—such as being laid off or having a big fight with a spouse—led to an increase in panic symptoms.
Surprisingly, though, symptoms didn’t spike right after the event. Instead, they increased slowly but steadily over the next three months.

Fact 3: Regular exercise may help prevent panic disorder

Anxiety sensitivity refers to a fear of being harmed by symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. For people high in anxiety sensitivity, such symptoms can set off a panic reaction. In a study in Psychosomatic Medicine, participants inhaled carbon dioxide-enriched air—a harmless test procedure that typically gives rise to exactly these physical sensations. Afterward, participants rated their anxiety level.
People high in anxiety sensitivity tend to feel panicky in this situation. However, the panicky feelings were lessened among avid exercisers. This suggests that regular physical activity might keep some high-risk people from having panic attacks.

Fact 4: Breathing therapy may be useful for treating panic

A new treatment called capnometry-assisted respiratory training (CART) teaches people with panic disorder to calm their symptoms by normalizing their breathing. Hyperventilation is common in people with panic disorder. CART trains people to reverse hyperventilation with breathing exercises. In a head-to-head comparison, CART reduced panic symptoms as effectively as cognitive-behavioral therapy, the gold standard in talk therapy for anxiety.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Music can soothe the soul FACT :)

Listening to Music Can Be Effective for Reducing Pain in High-Anxiety Persons

ScienceDaily (Jan. 5, 2012) — Distraction is a proven pain reliever, and a new study reported inThe Journal of Pain concludes that listening to music can be effective for reducing pain in high-anxiety persons who can easily become absorbed in cognitive activities.

Researchers from the University of Utah Pain Research Center evaluated the potential benefits of music for diverting psychological responses to experimental pain stimuli. They hypothesized that music may divert cognitive focus from pain. If true, the key to successful pain control from this method would be the degree of engagement by the patient in the diversion task.
One hundred forty-three subjects were evaluated for the study. They were instructed to listen to music tracks, follow the melodies, and identify deviant tones. During the music tasks, they were given safe, experimental pain shocks with fingertip electrodes.
The findings showed that central arousal from the pain stimuli reliably decreased with the increasing music-task demand. Music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention. Music, therefore, provided meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain.
Among the study subjects, those with high levels of anxiety about pain had the greatest net engagement, which contradicted the authors' initial hypothesis that anxiety would interfere with a subject's ability to become absorbed in the music listening task. They noted that low anxiety actually may have diminished the ability to engage in the task.
The findings suggest that engaging activities like music listening can be effective for reducing pain in high anxiety persons who can easily become absorbed in activities. They noted that interaction of anxiety and absorption is a new finding and implies that these personality characteristics should be considered when recommending engagement strategies for pain relief.

Friday, 10 February 2012

An Anxiety Poem

Anxiety, it's real
It's all about how you feel
Low, sad and lonely
Makes you feel like a phoney
One day you are fine
Each day being taken one step at a time

Medication, yes it works
Remembering them however sucks
Valium and herbal tabs
Too much becomes a fad
Doctors & nurses try to help
No matter how much you yelp

Yes everyone, anxiety is a part of me
Anyone else is what I want to be
Anxiety, please leave me!

Understanding Anxiety

  •  The Body's fear reaction and how it becomes over insensitive

The symptoms of Panic Attacks are in fact an exaggeration of your normal bodily reaction to fearful situations. Imagine what would happen if you were up a ladder and you feel it slipping from under you, your heart would pound, breathing would be altered, turn pale and you would break out in a sweat. However, as soon as you manage to get down the ladder and recognised that you were now safe, but could have had an accident, your anxiety would die down. You would know that the symptoms were just natural and not worry. BUT, if you experienced exactly those same symptoms pushing a trolley or sitting at work, your mind would try to make sense of the situation and it would come up with a number of frightening thoughts.
The problem with panic attacks is that your fear reaction has become oversensitive and is being triggered in a variety of apparently normal situations. The oversensitivity of the fear reaction is more likely if you are tired or under a lot of stress. Sometimes this stress can be caused by worrying about having another panic attack. If you have had one bad attack you can become over-vigilant, an expert at detecting the normal changes in your body which you would usually ignore. You are constantly on the look-out for slight changes that may indicate that something is amiss. Once you begin to imagine something is wrong, you become slightly frightened, triggering the body's reaction and the vicious circle of panic takes off. Other factors which can trigger panics include, physical exertion, hunger, hormonal changes, caffeine and alcohol.

  • Can panic feelings harm me?

No, No one can die of fright. Though panic feelings are unpleasant they cannot in any way harm you. The feelings themselves are happening in and ordinary situation, rather than in an obviously dangerous or frightening one. You are not going mad or having a heart attack, although these are common fears. It is almost impossible to faint while you are having a panic attack, because your blood pressure is higher and not lower than normal as your heart is racing. People usually only faint when their blood pressure drops. The one exception to this is a blood or injury phobia.

  • Summary of main points about panic attacks

1.   A panic attack is the same as the body's natural fear reaction, but it is happening in an ordinary situation.
2.   Your body's normal fear reaction has become oversensitive and has become easily triggered. This happens particularly if you are tired or under stress, but this reaction can be triggered by exertion, hormonal changes, caffeine or alcohol.
3.   The feelings themselves are not harmful and do not indicate that there is anything seriously wrong with you.
4.   The feelings can be caused and maintained by a combination of worrying thoughts, hyperventilation or overbreathing, and avoidance of situations that create anxiety.
5.   Once you understand what is going on, half the battle is won.