Today we will talk about the scary topic of Panic Attacks, what may cause them, and all the tools I found to help reduce anxiety as well as 12 tips to deal with panic attacks when they happen!
Now for the lucky ones who don’t know what a panic attack is-
Panic disorder is a syndrome characterized by spontaneous and recurrent episodes of incapacitating anxiety. Physical symptoms can include heart palpitations, sweating and/or chills, trouble breathing and dizziness, nausea and even chest pain.
There have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of panic disorder, yet it’s origin is still a mystery.
The brain is still a mystery y’all!
However, here are a couple facts that may help understand and prevent it.
For people out there who are like:
“Oh I’m just an anxious person. Everyone in my family is anxious. So like. Whateveeeeeer.” Aka me not too long ago!
Danger of long term anxiety
Long term anxiety disorder affect the immunize system, which increases risks of diseases. Cortisol and Adrenalin produced also affect telomere length. A thingy that allows the full replication of DNA. In other words, long term anxiety disorder accelerates aging, and increases risks of chronic diseases. As well as cognitive impairment.
Anxiety and Alzheimer’s
In fact, anxiety may accelerate the progression of mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease.
Anxiety disorder and panic attacks have unfortunately been on the rise.
Lockdown increases anxiety
The day following the lockdown in the UK, a study showed that 38% of participants reported symptoms of depression, and 52% reported increased levels of anxiety. Versus The day before lockdown, 16% reported depression, and 17% reported feelings of anxiety. That’s a 22% increase of depression and 35% increase of anxiety. That’s a lot.
Sleep and anxiety
The pandemic has affected our sleep. Some went to their natural chronotypes (the cuter words for this is morning bird or night owl) and got the 8 hours of sleep they needed. Others spent all their time on tiktok…. (me……)
Social media before bed isn’t great for sleep. I know that and yet…
Insomnia experienced in childhood that continues into adulthood is a strong predictor of mood and anxiety disorders, a new study reports. Persistent insomnia from childhood was associated with a 2.8% increased risk of internalizing disorders in adulthood.
-Mom I don’t want sleep, Mindcraft! And… the stock market. Also I’m into crypto-
-Shut up Timmy or you’ll get anxiety disorders as an adult!
How else did we cope during the lockdown? Weeeeeeeeeeeeell……..
Diet that causes anxiety
People who consume less than three sources of fruits and vegetables a day have a 24% increased risk of anxiety disorder. And since the pandemic, junk food consumption has been in the rise. Check the video I made about food that helps reduce anxiety and depression.
Guts and anxiety
Recently I have been learning more and more about the gut-brain connection. It’s quite fascinating. The guts are lined with more than a 100 million nervous cells. Listen to your guts makes sense now, right?
Inflammation in the guts will hurt your brain and mind. In fact a study led by researchers in Berkeley Lab’s Biosciences Area provides evidence that taking care of our gut microbiome may help mitigate anxiety.
According to Dr Emerson Mayer, gut expert, 70% of immune cells are in the guts.
Emotions and belief system (programmed response) has an effect on the microbiom. In other words what you eat and how you feel will have an effect on the guts. That’s why when you get stage fright you feel it in the guts. Imagine what anxiety does to the guts:
“Let me f**k sh*t up in here.”
Alcohol abuse and anxiety
I don’t know about you, but the first month of my first lockdown, I had a taaaad bit more alcohol than usual.
-It’s five o’clock somewhere, who wants a shot?… I’alone in my room, who am I talking to?
It kinda scared me so I did a month without to recalibrate, it helped a lot!
Alcohol abuse may increase risks of anxiety disorder:
Study finds that Chronic alcohol exposure compromises immune cells in the brain, driving anxiety and alcohol consumption that may lead to the development of Alcohol abuse disorder.
Neuroscientist Caroline Leaf says that alcohol addiction is not a disease like thought by many, but a coping mechanism that keeps happening again and again. And after drinking on a daily basis for a month or so during the first lockdown, I saw how this new habit could have persisted if I didn’t consciously put a stop to it.
Another substance we use to calm the nerves?
Cannabis and anxiety
A new study reports exposure to cannabis and stress during the teenage years may result in an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders later in life.
I must have a lot of anxious friends then….
PH Balance and anxiety
Not only mental balance but also ph balance is important. There is evidence that a pH inbalance in the body, known as acidosis, can unexpectedly cause panic attacks.
Your body’s pH balance, also referred to as its acid-base balance, is the level of acids and bases in your blood at which your body functions best.
Nooooo, I’m not talking about acid as in Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.
Below, we will look at what kind if diet is best to make sure you got the perfect balance.
MicroRNA is a risk factor
Now another fun fact, a new study implicates microRNAs as a possible molecular switch which could contribute to a risk factor for panic disorder.
While 40% of the risk for panic disorder is heritable, according to a number of twin studies, it remains unclear the manner in which genes contribute to an overall risk factor.
It’s genetic woogyboogybooy!
Okay but what does this mean? But what’s microRNA?
DNA creates RNA which creates protein. The building blocks of your body. RNA Is like a middle man if you will.
However, we now know that some RNA affect how the genes express them selves. In other words, these molecules may be responsible of turning on and off parts of your DNA.
What does MicroRNA have to do with anything?
Meditation reduces (genetic) anxiety
A new study indicates that people who meditated over an eight-week period had a striking change in the expression of 172 genes that regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism. In other words anxiety, sleep and …
And that, in turn, was linked to a meaningful decrease in their blood pressure.
In simple terms, people who meditate are able to reduce risks of genetic anxiety by turning off those same genes.
“I don’t like these jeans I’ll wear shorts instead!”
Okay, I get it, but how do I avoid panic attacks, how do I turn off those genes, and now what?
Tips to reduce and control Panic Attacks
Glad you asked.
What can you do to prevent attacks?
Well, there are many strategies. I have mentioned what food is best to lower anxiety in that other video I made. And I also talked about various things you can do to reduce anxiety in your life in this one other video. So now let’s talk about more fun stuff.
First make sure you optimize your length and quality sleep. It’s important you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Avoid social media or blue lights at least an hour before going to bed. And trying to sleep according to your chronotype. Find out if you are a morning bird or a night owl with here us a quiz.
If you have a hard time falling asleep like me, or lack good quality of sleep, don’t stuff your face with sleeping pills, subscribe to my channel or add your email to the newsletter because I will release a video and posts on that topic soon.
Watch what you eat!
If you haven’t watched the video I made about food and it’s effect on the body, and what to eat to reduce anxiety and depression check it out here.
Make sure you eat enough antioxydants, like from berries. Get zinc and magnesium. Leafy greens and nuts is a good source.
Taking a daily prebiotic supplement improves general wellbeing, reduces symptoms of anxiety, and promotes better gut health, a new study reports.
You can also find probiotics in pickles, kombucha and some yogurt
If you wanna know more about the brain gut connection, check out The Gut-Immune Connection by Dr Emerson Mayer and Eat Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. And if you don’t have time to read, get two free books with audible.
Remember the PH balance thingy?
Have you heard about the Alkaline diet?
It doesn’t have much evidence but this might be something to try. Also this same diet is considered healthy anyways.
- Acidic: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, alcohol
- Neutral: natural fats, starches, and sugars
- Alkaline: fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables
The alkaline diet suggests to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and healthy plant foods while restricting processed junk foods.
But there aren’t any studied that proves that it’s alkaline quality is what makes it healthier.
Besides zinc and magnesium. A study shows that Beta-sitosterol, a natural plant-derived supplement, reduced anxiety in mice, both in stand-alone use and in combination with Prozac.
This ingredient is found in avocado, nuts, seeds, canola oil most likely not enough so you should get supplements.
Here is the best supplement I found on amazon.
Execute is is known to be healthy for you. But did you know that regular exercice also lowers symptoms of anxiety and depression?
Make sure you do at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise daily and try to workout a couple times a week!
Get your daily 10 thousand steps on your Fitbit!
Researchers report controlled breathing, a key element of meditation, directly affects noradrenaline levels in the brain. The study suggests controlled breathing can enhance attention and improve overall brain health.
This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser. The way we breathe, in other words, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health.
I have many guided meditations available for you on this channel.
Now if you have tried all these things and still not feeling better:
“Help, I need somebody! Help!”
Researchers report a reduction in neuroticism for people with generalized anxiety disorder who successfully completed metacognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Talk space is really good but online-therapy .com is specifically all about CBT that’s would probably be best for panic disorder. Get 20% off here.
Or use methods that have had great results like Panic Away.
Panic Away has been sold online for over 10 years. It’s cheap and they have a 100% refund policy if you don’t get results within the first few days of using it.
You can get an extra discounts as well as free audio here.
Now what about when the panic attack happens?
Let’s look at what helps when everything feels like it’s falling apart:
12 Tips to manage a PANIC ATTACK
Here are some of the best tips I found that has helped me during a panic attack.
1.Recognize you re having a panic attack
By recognizing that you’re having a panic attack instead of a heart attack, you can remind yourself that this is temporary, it will pass, and that you’re OK.
2. Find a peaceful spot
Panic attacks can be provoquer by overwhelming spaces. Leave the busy room, lean against a wall.
Sitting in a quiet place will create mental space, and it’ll be easier to focus on breathing and other coping strategies.
Hyperventilation is a major indicator and symptom of an attack. Taking control of if will reduce other symptoms and feelings of helplessness. Breath through your mouth as slowly as possible filling your lungs as much as possible you can breath at a count of four, hold for 2 and breath out at a count of four.
4. Close your eyes
Closing your eyes will cut you off from external stimulations and will help focusing on the breathing.
5. The 5-4-3-2-1 method
Panic attacks can make a person feel detached from reality.
The 5-4-3-2-1 method is a type of grounding technique and a type of mindfulness. It helps direct the person’s focus away from stress.
Or goes as follows:
- Look at 5 separate objects. Think about each one for a short while.
- Listen for 4 distinct sounds. Think about where they came from and what sets them apart.
- Touch 3 objects. Consider their texture, temperature, and what their uses are.
- Identify 2 different smells. This could be the smell of your coffee, your soap, or the laundry detergent on your clothes.
- Name 1 thing you can taste. Notice whatever taste is in your mouth, or try tasting a piece of candy.
6.Use muscle relaxation techniques
like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack before it becomes overwhelming by controlling your body’s reaction as much as possible.
Consciously relax one muscle at a time. start with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way up through your body.
7.Picture your happy place
Think of the most relaxing and peaceful place in the world. Imagine yourself there and focus on the details. Like if you are at the beach imagine how the warm sand feels on your feet.
8. Engage in light exercise
Exercice can help flood our body with endorphins, which can improve our mood. Because you’re stressed, choose light exercise that’s easy on the body, like walking or stretching.
9. Keep lavender on hand
Lavender is known for being soothing and stress-relieving. It can help your body relax. If you know you’re prone to panic attacks, keep some lavender essential oil on hand and put some on your forearms when you experience a panic attack. Breathe in the scent.
You can also try drinking lavender or chamomile tea. Both are relaxing and soothing. But don’t add lavender oil to your tea, buy lavender tea. essential oils are usually not meant to be ingested.
Lavender should not be combined with benzodiazepines. This combination can cause intense drowsiness.
10. Repeat a mantra internally
Repeating a mantra internally can be relaxing and reassuring, and it can give you something to grasp onto during a panic attack.
Whether it’s simply “This too shall pass,” or a mantra that speaks to you personally, repeat it on loop in your head until you feel the panic attack start to subside.
11. Tell someone
If panic attacks often happens in the same environment like at work or social gatherings, it could be a huge help to tell someone and to let them know what kind of support they can offer if it happens again.
When you get a panic attack the simplest of actions are tough to make. So if someone knows and tells “you go here it’s quite, sit down, take your time.” Really helps, believe me.
12. Learn your triggers
Your panic attacks maybe triggered by the same kind of stuff, like enclosed spaces, crowds, or problems with money.
To learn your triggers may help you manage your respond to it. You may be able to change the issues and have the right mindset to avoid falling into anxious thought patterns.
Panic attacks and anxiety disorders may be caused many factors, genes, behaviors, nutrition, lack of exercise or external factors such as chemicals, family tragedies and so fourth. However, there are many ways to help reduce it. It may take some time and require to implement a variety of these strategies, but if they have worked for me, I am sure they can work for you as well.