It can happen to anyone: one minute you’re sipping your coffee and reading the morning paper when you’re suddenly beset by an unusual twinge in your chest, or perhaps you get a strange twitch in your finger. You begin to worry about what is causing the strange feeling, and the worry grows until it becomes fear of some terminal condition or illness. Suddenly the room seems to spin as you’re racked by a panic attack.
People who suffer from panic attacks for the first time often check themselves into a hospital, convinced they are having a heart attack. However, panic attacks are simply a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety. The physical symptoms grow out of proportion because your fear triggers the fight or flight response.
Anxiety can have an incredible number of symptoms, ranging from simple excessive worry to full blown sensations of pain or blurred vision.
If you suddenly have new or strange symptoms, you should of course get them checked out by a doctor. This is the first step. However once you have a full checkup you should definitely consider anxiety to be a cause of your issues.
The first step in conquering excessive anxiety and panic is to understand the symptoms of excess stress that leads to anxiety. Trouble sleeping, a racing mind, tension headaches, difficulty concentrating, and irritability are just a few. These can be early warning signs.
Once stress passes into the phase of anxiety you tend to have stronger bouts of worry, more than the normal “stress” that everyone experiences. Symptoms of anxiety include excessive worry about certain things, irrational fears, the inability to do things that were once easy such as drive to work, and other similar things.
Once you learn that anxiety is nothing more than your body’s response to the mental exhaustion caused by stress you can begin the healing process.
There are a few things you can do to help break the cycle of tension and fear.
Talk to someone about your anxiety. Sometimes the simple act of confiding in someone can make your problems seem smaller and less daunting. It helps put things in perspective. Make sure that you confide in someone you can trust, and who will not berate you for being irrational.
Take time for yourself. Try to give yourself at least 45 minutes a day to do something by yourself, for yourself. Get a coffee and read a book. Draw. Take a bath. Time to yourself will give your mind a chance to recover its resources and slow down.
Invest in a self help program. There are several great programs available that will help you learn more about what you’re going through and how to regain control of your life. Do some research and get a program that you think you will stick with.