When the holidays are here we have too many parties and social errands to run and we get over-whelmed. Anxiety or panic attacks can happen to all of us and will generally feel like your heart is racing, you can’t catch your breath, dizziness or light-headedness, sometimes narrowing vision and sudden fatigue. If you know one is coming or you are only experiencing one or two of the symptoms we suggest the following tips for both stopping an attack and preventing one.
1. Stop and slow your breathing, focusing on the exhalation of breath more than the inhalation. This can be done easier when sitting up very straight(but can be done standing in a check out line if necessary)
2. Change your own current atmosphere: examples – leave a store, drink a cold glass of water, focus on a joke or on something unique and odd to you. All of these examples are changing your mental atmosphere even if you can’t change your current environment.
3. Don’t avoid trigger situations entirely; simply lessen the time of exposure so that you don’t create a greater fear response in the future to certain settings.
4. Keep a journal and figure out what is triggering your anxiety. Writing during an attack has actually been shown to be calming and you can write on anything you choose.
5. Suck on a peppermint. The act of sucking on something like a mint or candy is a soothing response in humans and does release good hormones. In this busy season, carry your favorite mint to keep the stress down.