In the United States alone, there are more than 20 million people seeking ways to stop anxiety and panic attacks. That is a staggering figure that would suggest every person knows at least someone who is struggling with this debilitating illness. Even though anxiety can seem like a difficult thing to overcome, it is certainly possible for every person to be completely free of these symptoms, and stop anxiety dead in its tracks.
I can still remember when I had my first anxiety attack symptoms. I really had no clue what was happening to me as I drove down the interstate, but I felt like I was going to die. Shortness of breath, numbness in the face, hands, and feet. I was taken to an emergency room just to find out that I was hyperventilating. Still in complete denial, I had my vehicle checked later for a possible exhaust leak.
I figured it must have been carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are many situations that can trigger an anxiety attack. It might be a fear of crowded places, a medical exam, social situations, being trapped in a traffic jam, job stress, and many more. Sometimes, there may be an underlying physical problem contributing to anxiety. Whatever the cause, once a panic attack starts, it is like a negative feedback loop where a fear of the anxiety attack symptoms themselves will drive a person to the brink. At first, it might seem nearly impossible to stop anxiety.
The Right Knowledge to Stop Anxiety
There are many ways to stop anxiety or at least, reduce anxiety attack symptoms and take the edge off of an attack. Learning to break the cycle of fear is vital to getting well and being free. It is important to work with your doctor in order to discover, or eliminate a physical cause to stress. In my own experience, this was not easy, since I have a long term issue with inflammation in my esophagus related to food allergies. Over time, I developed a strong avoidance to social situations and even going to the doctor's office. There were many times when my esophagus would go into a spasm, and I could not even drink water for several hours. The main point is, deal with the underlying cause if it can be identified and corrected. This will go a long way to stop anxiety before it gets any worse.
Regardless of the cause of anxiety, whether physical or emotional, the mind/body reacts the same way. The fight or flight response is the sympathetic nervous system taking action to save your life from danger, whether real or perceived. Heart rate and breathing increase in order to oxygenate the cells, and at the same time, blood vessels in the extremities constrict to help protect more vital organs. It feels like you will die, but in reality, your body is working to save your life. This is only temporary, and will pass.
How Does This Help to Stop Anxiety?
The main components of a panic and anxiety attack are the thoughts we have in trigger situations, and the physical symptoms themselves. In order to break the cycle of fear and stop anxiety, these components need to be attacked head on.
Cognitive therapy is a term that refers to learning to monitor what we think in certain situations and why. Since there is generally nothing to fear in situations that cause our panic attacks, it then comes down to why we think a certain way when confronted with that fearful situation. Thoughts can be so fast that sometimes it is difficult to identify them in terms of words. It is more instinct and response. Still, it is important to consciously practice monitoring the thoughts that lead to panic and then challenging their validity. One method that has helped me stop anxiety during a panic attack has been the following simple steps:
1. When you feel an attack coming on, simply give yourself permission
to feel bad. Don't try to fight it.
2. Label it for what it is, fear of whatever.
3. Let is pass by like a cloud, or wash over you like a wave with no
4. Mental distraction. Either move on to what you were doing, or focus
on something else.
The symptoms of anxiety are very similar to a physical workout. Another way to lesson the severity of anxiety attack symptoms and ultimately stop anxiety is to start getting regular exercise. It can take many forms, such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, bouncing on a trampoline, Total Gym, whatever. Exercise is great for relieving stress and tension. It helps improve confidence and recovery time. Start small and work your way up. Consistency is the key. It may feel uncomfortable in the beginning. For some, it could even trigger a panic attack, but that will go away over time as I know from personal experience.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Anxiety Attack Symptoms
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