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8 Tips to Help Cope With Panic and Anxiety

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Do you suffer from panic attacks and/or anxiety? Here are 8 tips proven to help you manage and overcome them.

1. Sleep – Try to make sure you sleep well. Sleep is very important so that your body is rested for the upcoming fight. Having an anxiety disorder is hard work, and fatigue can often be a problem. If you are tired, let go of your alertness. Aim to get 8 hours of sleep each night, if you can get yourself into a good sleep pattern and schedule, prepare your mind and body as best you can.

2. Eat a good diet – Make sure you’re eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as complex carbohydrates and proteins, on a daily basis. These foods are known to increase levels of serotonin (the happy chemical) in the brain and improve your mood. You should try to eat lots of foods that contain B vitamins, such as vegetables, beans, eggs, and lean meats like chicken and fish. I always start the day with a tall jar of fruit smoothie, store bought ones are great but you can have fun making your own too! I sometimes add a few spoonfuls of flaxseed for an extra boost.

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3rd exercise! – I can’t stress the importance of exercise in overcoming anxiety. Light to moderate exercise every day, it doesn’t have to be strenuous. 30 minute walk, swim, light jog, exercise. It’s entirely up to you, but something you enjoy. Sport lifts the mood and also helps to fall asleep.

4. Hobbies – The key to beating those harmful thoughts of anxiety is distraction. There’s nothing worse for someone with anxiety than sitting on the couch and brooding. Find something to distract you and something that takes your full attention but is also fun. Arts and crafts, pets (I have 4 cats and love to play with them) photography, cooking, anything you enjoy doing. It makes you feel good to just realize for an hour or so that you haven’t been thinking about those nasty “what ifs”.

5. Keep a Journal – Writing down your thoughts, fears, whatever is troubling you can be very therapeutic. Many of our fears are inside us and we ponder them. You may be suffering from physical anxiety symptoms, write them down as well. Keeping a journal is like a record of everything you felt and feared, all the symptoms, all the worries, all the things in your head that you wish weren’t there. Write them down and get them out of your head.

6. Sunshine – Vitamin D is vital and there’s no better way to get it than from the sun. 15 minutes a day is enough. Feel the sun on your skin, the warm feeling, the summer and the fresh air. It’s a great mood enhancer. Of course, always remember to wear appropriate clothing and, if necessary, sunscreen. But do yourself a favor and take 15 minutes out of your day to sit in the sun, relax, read a book, whatever you like, but let that sunshine shine through your eyelids.

7. Breathe! – We often don’t even realize it, but when we’re anxious, we often don’t breathe properly. Shallow chest breathing doesn’t give enough oxygen and you can easily hyperventilate and we all know what happens then, panic! The answer is belly breathing, nice and slow. Breathe in through your nose, breathe out through your mouth, and as you breathe, watch your stomach rise and fall. Take it nice and slow and you’ll feel yourself calm down. You can find breathing exercises online that suit your needs.

8. Relax! – Take 30 minutes to an hour each day to relax, just for you, “ME time”, whatever you want. Yoga, meditation, a nice bath with lavender oil and candles. Read a book, play a game, paint nails, video games. This part is personal to you and is for giving yourself a reward at the end of the day or at the beginning of whatever you choose. The point is, it’s for YOU. Because you deserve it.

Thanks to Gillian Prestwood

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