Anxiety is a healthy reaction people experience when they feel they are facing a threat. However, sometimes the reaction is out of proportion to the situation at hand. If you find yourself having trouble controlling your emotions when faced with specific circumstances, you may be suffering from an anxiety attack. Learning to recognize the signs of an anxiety attack is the first step toward regaining control over your life.
Understanding Anxiety Attacks
People often refer to anxiety attacks and panic attacks as the same thing. Panic attacks are a symptom of a diagnosed anxiety disorder. They also produce stronger symptoms than anxiety attacks. Another difference between the two is that panic attacks can come on at any time, while anxiety attacks are often provoked during specific situations. While anxiety attacks may be less severe than panic attacks, they can still stop you in your tracks.
You may experience the symptoms of an anxiety attack if you are afraid of heights and are facing the challenge of climbing up a steep hill. Another situation where you may start sensing the signs of a panic attack is if you have a problem with small, enclosed spaces and must ride an elevator.
Signs of an Anxiety Attack
The initial signs of an anxiety attack may start in small waves. It could be some uneasiness felt in the pit of your stomach. From there, you may experience symptoms like your chest tightening or your heart racing. These feelings grow more intense, often giving way to lightheadedness, irrational behavior, and breathing problems. Anxiety attacks typically last around 10 minutes before gradually subsiding.
Panic attacks are much more sudden and can happen without any type of warning. One of the more causes of a panic attack is severe stress. Panic attacks can be isolated events or part of another mental health disorder such as a phobia or depression.
Learning to Handle Anxiety Attacks
Once you start sensing the signs of an anxiety attack, the first thing you should do is focus on your thinking. Many people make their anxiety attacks worse by focusing on the worst thing that could happen. Turn your thought process around in a positive direction. That is the first step in taking back control. This type of thinking is often taught in cognitive-behavioral therapy programs.
Next, use controlled breathing to calm down your physical reactions. Try taking five breaths in, holding it for a few seconds, then slowly releasing the air from your lungs. Do this until your feel calmer. Controlled breathing techniques help clear your head and keep you focused.
If that does not work, try performing some sort of physical activity to channel your nervous energy differently. Yoga, walking, or simple stretching go a long way toward relieving tension and helping you maintain perspective when you feel the oncoming signs of an anxiety attack.
Try writing down where you were, what you were feeling, and the thoughts going through your head when you felt the signs of an anxiety attack. Getting the negativity out of your head and down on paper is an excellent way of examining your fears and working through them logically.
Find Help for Anxiety at Serenity Light Recovery
Serenity Light Recovery strives to act as a beacon of hope for those looking for an opportunity to heal and thrive. We offer a variety of programs and treatments meant to help you move forward in a positive life direction.
Anxiety does not have to keep you from living your life. There are ways to deal with anxiety and panic attacks. Call Serenity Light Recovery today at 855.658.6109 for more information about our programs.