Coping Strategies for managing anxiety and panic attacks - aifc

Life can sometimes become overwhelming, don’t you think?

Especially when anxiety and panic attacks come into the picture, but you don’t have to stress!

There are some valuable strategies. This blog post is all about simple tasks to help you deal with anxiety and those moments when panic pays a visit.

Think of your mind as a busy playground that needs a break. Well, good news – we’re going to learn easy ways to make that happen.

These tricks are like superhero moves to bring back calm when things get a bit crazy.

So, take a seat as we explore these helpful tricks together. They’re like secret codes to make life feel a bit smoother. Let’s check them out and make handling anxiety a bit easier. You can handle it!

What is Anxiety?

Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives. It is the sensation of nervousness, worry, or uneasiness regarding a potential future event.

Consider yourself about to take a huge test or meet new people; it’s normal to feel a little nervous in these circumstances.

On the other hand, anxiety can be classified as an anxiety disorder if it becomes excessive and starts to interfere with day-to-day activities. This is the point when the anxiety and panic worsen and stay longer, frequently for no apparent cause.

People who suffer from anxiety disorders may find it challenging to manage their concerns, and the worry itself may have an impact on relationships, employment, and education.

Symptoms of Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety and panic attacks can manifest through a variety of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. It’s important to note that the intensity and combination of symptoms can vary from person to person.

Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with anxiety and panic attacks:

Physical Symptoms
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or a feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling hot or cold flashes
  • Nausea
Emotional Symptoms
  • Intense fear or a sense of impending doom
  • Nervousness or restlessness
  • Irritability
  • A strong desire to escape from the situation
  • Derealisation or a sense of unreality
Cognitive Symptoms
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating or finding that your mind goes blank
  • Catastrophic thinking or expecting the worst
  • Feeling like you’re losing control
Behavioural Symptoms
  • Avoidance of situations that may trigger anxiety or panic attacks
  • Seeking reassurance from others
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Clenching or grinding teeth

It’s essential to recognise that experiencing occasional anxiety is normal, but if these symptoms are persistent, interfere with daily life, or lead to avoidance of certain situations, seeking professional help is advisable.

Christian Counsellors can provide appropriate assessment, support, and treatment strategies to manage anxiety and panic attacks effectively.

Coping Strategies for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

1. Deep Breathing Exercises

To help relax your nervous system, practice deep breathing. Breathe in slowly through your mouth and nostrils, holding your breath for a few seconds. Repeat this process to restore a sense of balance.

2. Mindfulness and Meditation

Engage in mindfulness exercises and meditation to bring your attention to the present moment. Apps and online resources offer guided sessions that can be accessed anytime, providing a helpful tool for managing stress.

3. Regular Exercise

Physical activity has proven benefits for mental health. Regular exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, and helps reduce anxiety. Incorporate activities like walking, jogging, or yoga into your routine.

4. Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Keep an eye on your sleep schedule, nutrition, and drug use. Your mental health can be enhanced by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and using less alcohol and caffeine.

5. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a therapeutic approach that helps identify and modify negative thought patterns contributing to anxiety. Working with a Christian Counsellor or mental health professional trained in CBT can be instrumental in developing effective coping mechanisms.

6. Social Support

Share your feelings with trusted friends or family members. Connecting with others not only provides emotional support but also reduces feelings of isolation that often accompany anxiety.

7. Anxiety Self-Help Resources

Explore self-help resources such as books, online forums, and educational materials to empower yourself with knowledge about anxiety and effective coping strategies.

8. Anxiety Awareness and Education

Increasing awareness about anxiety can help reduce stigma and encourage open conversations. Attend workshops, read articles, and participate in discussions to stay informed about mental health.

9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation by tensing and then gradually releasing different muscle groups. This systematic approach helps alleviate the physical tension associated with anxiety. Starting from your toes and working your way up, tense each muscle group for a few seconds before letting go. This can promote a sense of relaxation and reduce overall stress.

10. Creative Outlets

Do something creative you enjoy, whether it’s writing, painting, drawing, or playing an instrument. Pent-up emotions can be effectively channelled and released through creative expression, giving your mind a productive and upbeat focus.

11. Gratitude Practice

Cultivate a gratitude practice by regularly reflecting on the positive aspects of your life. Write down or mentally acknowledge things you’re grateful for, fostering a more optimistic outlook.

This simple practice can shift your focus away from anxiety-inducing thoughts and promote a sense of well-being.

Wrap up

Life can be a bit much sometimes, making us feel overwhelmed, especially when dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. Managing these challenges is an ongoing thing that needs patience, self-compassion, and a mix of different approaches.

By using self-help methods, getting advice from professionals, and sticking to a healthy lifestyle, people can create their own set of tools to handle anxiety difficulties.

It’s important to know that asking for help shows strength. With the right support, it’s possible to ease the struggle and lead a fulfilling life despite anxiety.

Studying at aifc

Have you thought about becoming a qualified counsellor? It’s a great opportunity to learn how you can extend God's love and grace to the hurting out in the community.

For those who would like to enrol in aifc’s accredited Christian counselling courses we have two intakes per year for courses commencing around the following months:

  • The beginning of each year in February
  • Mid-Year courses commence in July

Enrolment Season - opens approximately 2 months prior to our courses commencing. Enrol online here during our enrolment season.

We also offer two modes of study:

  1. Seminar Blended Mode - only 13 face-to-face days per year
  2. Online Supported Mode - study online only from anywhere

A Master of Counselling course was introduced in 2018.

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