Stress and Anxiety

Stress and Anxiety

Following on from last week’s blog about stress, this week we’re looking at a point that we touched on very briefly – Stress and Anxiety. We wrote about the Automatic Nervous System and how our bodies’ responses are activated unconsciously in a threatening situation. If we hear a loud noise, our muscles might tense and our heart beat increases. Today we’re looking at Panic Attacks. What makes a Panic Attack different, and particularly difficult to deal with, is that these intense bodily reactions occur in the absence of any immediate or apparent danger.

Panic Attacks

There is a large portion of society that suffers from Stress and Anxiety, with a number of these suffering Panic Attacks. These attacks can be very debilitating, and are often a source of embarrassment. They can harm self-esteem and have a negative impact on the quality of life of the sufferer. So what can we do to combat these attacks and allow ourselves to reach our potential?

There are a myriad of approaches that can be taken to treat anxiety and panic attacks, from long-term solutions to quick fixes to medication. There are far too many to cover in a blog for sure. However, here are two strategies that anybody can implement to fight the frequency and severity of Anxiety and Panic Attacks.

An effective way to help lessen or prevent Anxiety and Panic Attacks is to recognize and discriminate the early symptoms. These symptoms are unique to each one of us. Although not easy to do, it would be very valuable to reflect on the precursors to our Panic Attacks and bouts of Stress and Anxiety. What were the early signs? In hindsight, could you have seen the anxiety building? If we can learn to identify these markers and indicators, we can learn how to stop the attack before it happens, or at least to lessen its impact.

Exercise & Diet

Stress and AnxietyExercise supported by a healthy diet cannot be underestimated. Although the impact may not be as immediate, exercise and a healthier diet have such far-reaching positive effects. For so many of us, this is easier said than done. When you get home from work of a Friday evening, it’s far too simple to put on an over pizza and collapse on the couch. For many who find themselves in a rush in the morning, it becomes a habit to grab a takeaway coffee on the way to work that then constitutes our only intake until lunch.

The challenge is to spot these habits, and maybe start with the easy wins. Perhaps you could prepare some healthy juices to drink on the way to work. Perhaps you could take the stairs up the five flights to the office. What would it take to cycle in to work? Perhaps you could get an exercise bike in the spare bedroom and watch your favourite TV programme while working out?

There is an almost infinite list of ways that we can change our attitudes and daily lives for the better. Just pick one, work on it, own it, and come out the other end the better for it. Then challenge yourself again.

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Valerie Kilkenny & Eamonn Boland