Anxiety Attacks Explained – It’s Just Your Body

Anxiety Attack Explained

Anxiety or panic attacks are sudden periods of intense anxiety, fear, and discomfort. While these attacks might seem to happen for no reason, they’re actually the body’s response to what it perceives as the need for “fight or flight”. The attacks usually last about ten minutes, but can be as short as one minute. In severe cases, these attacks can happen in cycles. These cycles may last for extended periods. These cycles can cause “anticipation” anxiety between episodes.

Physical symptoms of anxiety attacks generally include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and sweating. Tingling and numbness in the extremities, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches and nausea are also commonly experienced. These may appear to be random, but they’re actually the result of the body’s preparations for protection.

The anxiety attack is brought on by a sudden onset of fear. In response, the body releases adrenaline followed by increases in the heart and breathing rate and production of sweat (to regulate body temperature). These actions prepare the body for the physical activities of fighting or escaping. Because the anticipated strenuous activity rarely follows the panic attack, these reactions result in physical discomfort.

The increased heart rate is felt as heart palpitations. Rapid breathing (hyperventilation) results in a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and blood. This leads to the tingling, numbness, dizziness and lightheadedness. The adrenaline causes a narrowing of the blood vessels which results in less blood flow to the head. This also contributes to the lightheadedness and headaches.

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Managing My Anxiety with Pacifica

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This post was written by Alyson Shane and was originally posted here.

Many of you know that over the past while I’ve been trying to take positive steps to start tackling the stress and anxiety that I deal with in my day-to-day life. Part of that has been creating positive dialogues by sharing my experiences, and recently it’s involved using an app called Pacifica.

I’d never really considered using an app to manage my anxiety, but after John mentioned it and sent me a link to their webpage, I figured “why not?” Since then I’ve been using it daily and have really been noticing a change in my mood and my anxiety levels.

Basically the app provides you with tools to work on mindfulness and to track your moods and activities over time, which attempts to paint a picture of the kinds of behaviors that can increase or decrease anxiety and stress.

There are five daily tasks: Mood, Relax, Thoughts, Experiments, and Health, though when you use the free version (like me, I’m cheap) you only get access to three a day. Honestly though this is more than enough.

There are two things about this app that I liked enough to sit down and write a review, one of which is the little push notification. Usually I hate them, but there’s something sort of soothing to look down at your phone and see a message that says “how are you feeling?” – even when I know it’s coming from an app, it makes me stop and think.

This also works well because once I see the push notification I go right into the app and input my Mood, which means that I don’t just use it when I’m feeling good or bad, which would skew my ability to figure out if I’m making progress.

The other is the Thoughts feature. I used this for the first time the other day after a particularly stressful experience.

Basically the feature has you record your thoughts out loud, then it plays the recording back to you and asks you to identify positive and negative statements.

When you identify a negative statement, it displays leading questions which force you to think about why you felt that way, and why you expressed it the way that you did.

Once you’ve listened to it once (or more times if you need) the app has you re-record your thoughts on the issue: was it as bad as you thought? How could you change your thinking patterns moving forward? etc.

I really struggle to do this in the moment and while it was a bit weird to talk out loud when nobody else was around, hearing myself played back and thinking critically about the statements that I heard myself making really, really helped.

The app does other stuff, too, like helping you track how much you sleep, how well you ate, how much exercise you got, etc, but this was the most influential tool that I’ve used so far.

I really find that managing my day-to-day stress and anxiety levels can be a challenge, and having an app has really helped me be more mindful of my choices and it’s helpful to go back to a particular day and be able to say “yeah, I handled that really well” or “I could have done better, what can I improve on?” and see that progress over time.

What about you – do you have any app recommendations for managing anxiety? I’d love to hear them! 

Getting Help For A Friend Struggling With Anxiety

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Getting help for a friend who struggles with fear and anxiety can be tricky. He or she may be reluctant to get help or they may be scared. This is the time that your friend needs you the most. With this in mind, here are some suggestions on how a person can help his or her friend with their anxiety.

The first step a person should do is to convince their friend to get professional help. Explain to them that they must decide to get the help they need to overcome their anxiety. Nobody can do it for them. Explain to them that seeing a professional will really help them in the long run and that it is in their best interest to get this help.

Remind them that is hope and there are solutions to their anxiety problems if they seek treatment. There is nothing wrong in asking for help. Try to convince your friend that there are ways to manage your persistent anxieties and fears, however they must make the effort to learn these techniques.

When your friend is struggling, be there for him or her. Be supportive of your friend and try to help him out during his struggles. Dealing with fear and anxiety can be tough so give your friend a break when he struggles with his fears and anxieties.

One technique that you can use is to learn from your fearful and anxious situations. In every stressful situation that you experience, begin to learn what works and what you can do to improve. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a stroll around your local park. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a short walk.

Taking advantage of the help that is available can go a long way in managing your fears and anxieties. When you are with your friend, you need to remind him or her of this fact.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.

5 Natural Anxiety Tips

Natural Anxiety Tips

Nobody enjoys persisting anxiety problems. From the physical symptoms to the mental fatigue, it’s important to remember that anxiety is highly treatable. Here are five natural anxiety tips to help you.

Diet
When we eat a balanced diet, our bodies tend to function better. First, try to get enough iron, potassium, selenium, and chromium. These have been shown to affect anxiety. Moreover, try to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. On the flip side, avoid refined sugar, soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, and anything else that has caffeine like tea, coffee, or chocolate. Caffeine is a major trigger for many anxiety sufferers.
You can use the HEALTH tool within Pacifica to help.

Exercise
Regular exercise will help your body to relax and relieve it from stress. Exercising helps produce endorphins (i.e. that’s why you feel better after you exercise). Try exercising 30 minutes a day.
You can use the HEALTH tool within Pacifica to help.

Relax
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to take a moment to pause. Try listening to music, talking to a friend, working on a crossword puzzle, reading a book, taking a walk, taking a nap or painting a picture. Doing things that you enjoy will definitely help to alleviate stress.
You can use the RELAX tool within Pacifica to help.

Sleep
If you are stressed and suffering from anxiety as a result, try to get some deep and proper sleep. Sleep is a natural relaxer and sleeping will definitely help when you are suffering from anxiety.
You can use the HEALTH tool within Pacifica to help.

Negativity
How we think determines how we perceive the world. Try and avoid developing negative feelings (easier said than done). Such feelings can only spoil your day.
You can use the THOUGHTS tool within Pacifica to help.

Get Pacifica today on iOS or Android.