Lately, I have had anxiety and panic attacks, which has led me to discoveries, new and old, for finding coping mechanisms which will aid me in reducing the severity of the anxious behaviour.
I don’t know about you, but when my anxiety strikes, it debilitates me. I can be sitting watching a programme or typing away on my keyboard, and then an overwhelming sense of panic begins to build. It starts in my body, and I feel jittery for no reason. A sense of impending doom begins to surface, and then I am faced with the choice, do I let it develop or stop it in its tracks.
I always choose to stop it, but it is easier said than done. The main reason I have stopped letting the anxiety run its course is that it can form into a full-blown panic attack, full of dread and physical symptoms such as short breaths and tingly arms; sometimes, I even vomit. And I hate being sick.
I know I am not alone in this behaviour, so I thought I would write down the five things I do as a mental health warrior to combat anxiety and panic attacks.
1. Anxiety Grounding Technique
I have attended many occupational therapy sessions in the past, which have helped me immensely combat anxiety. My go-to favourite is the raisin technique, which you can read here. However, I don’t always have a small box of raisins to hand, and I have to go through my repertoire of grounding techniques to calm myself.
- Deep breaths, in through the nose out through the mouth
- Body scanning, concentrating on each part of my body from feet to the top of my head
- Imaginary squares and triangles, drawing them with my mind on the wall
- Repetitive mantra, mine is “this too shall pass”, over and over until anxiety has dissipated
- Prayer, I talk to God and ask Him to calm me, although I didn’t learn that in occupational therapy. You can try praying, too, regardless of belief.
I have written about anxiety tips and tricks before, and you can find my article here, but this article is mainly about the new techniques I have learned.
2. CBD Oil for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
If the above does not work, then I take five drops of CBD oil, although it takes about ten minutes to begin to work, which seems like a lifetime at the moment. Not everyone likes the idea of taking this supplement because it is from the cannabis plant, but they take out the chemical, which gives you a high. Instead, you are left with the medicinal benefits.
[AF] I use the oil from Reakiro, it is the only one I have ever tried, and I recommend it because it works on me. You can buy capsules too and oral spray, but I haven’t tried these. You can visit Reakiro and check their products out.
Once I have used the oil, I feel the dread easing, but as I said, a lifetime feels as though it is passing until the CBD oil begins to work. But when it does work, it works a treat in conjunction with the above methods.
Once the oil is in my system, I then move onto meditation, but this isn’t always practical, especially if I am out and about when anxiety and panic attacks strike. So if I cannot meditate, I activate my body by walking really quick to fend off the fight or flight response, or if there is no one around, I start jumping up and down on the spot.
Another discovery I have made is gummies, not sweets but supplements. They are created with GABA and L-Theanine and take longer than the CBD oil to work but are useful in reducing stress. I use [AF] Nature’s Truth Soothing Stress Away Gummies, and I get them from Piping Rock. I have the lemon and strawberry flavour.
Even the action of chewing the gummies helps relieve stress.
If you are feeling depressed, avoid taking the gummies if your mood is already low that day. As I have found, it can lower my mood even more. So I know they work in reducing my anxiety because they affect my mood.
Because I have Bipolar, it is important to keep my mood balanced, and when anxiety strikes, I now take gummies when my mood is stable. I keep them in my bag for when I am out and about or run out of CBD oil.
4. Light Therapy
Another new addition to my daily life is light therapy. I bought a sunshine light from eBay, normally used for those who have the seasonal affective disorder. It is also called a SAD Lamp or Light. I try to use it every day regardless of the weather outside, and it is recommended to use it for about 45 minutes.
But I have found that if I feel anxious and panic attacks lurk in the background, if I switch the lamp on for 10 minutes and sit in front of it saying my mantra or praying, it helps reduce my stress levels.
It is not always practical as I could be out and about, but hopefully, the sun will be out, and I can sit in it for ten minutes and experience the same effect, but I live in the UK, and we are not known for great weather.
I would recommend seeking out a sunshine lamp, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere when sunshine is in short supply.
5. Long Term Anxiety Techniques
I’ve just started introducing krill oil and probiotics to my daily supplements because of the health benefits to the brain and guts.
I chose krill oil because, after much research, it seemed like a great choice for omega fats which are excellent for the brain. It is more expensive than cod liver oil, and the capsules are huge, but I’m used to taking tablets, so they slip down OK.
Since taking them in conjunction with a probiotic, I am less panicky, but it is still early days yet, and it could be the other methods I am employing is having more effect than the krill.
I’ve chosen to take probiotics because there is a lot of serotonin in your gut, and anything which can help my gut health should, in theory, help my mood health. It might be the krill oil and probiotic works better on my depression than my anxiety, but my thoughts are the more stable I am, the less anxious I will become.
Once again, I bought them through [AF] Piping Rock. I tend to buy things in bulk from one supplier as they usually offer free delivery over a certain amount spent or a discount. I managed to get both with Piping Rock; if you visit them, sign up for their newsletter as you’ll get discounts sent through.
I hope these five tips will help you reduce anxiety and panic attacks and give you new anxiety coping mechanisms. If you have any other ideas, leave a comment below to help other people.
Peace & Blessings