It is safe to assume that any and all stages of a chronic illness can induce anxiety, both for patients and for their loved ones. From the diagnosis, to awaiting test results, to doctor visits, to medicine changes; panic is bound to be a prevalent factor. Issues such as these can and should be discussed with your doctor, but what about when you want to take a more natural approach? If, for example, you don’t want to take another medication, or have tried one and it isn’t quite the right fit for you? Or as you may have experienced, one of the worst things about a panic or anxiety attack, is that it can swoop in with no warning or reason. It’s times like those, where other approaches might benefit you.
Of course what works for one person may not work for another. And here at CVC, we can’t predict or tell you what will work. But we do believe that part of patient support is simply suggesting a solution to problem you haven’t yet solved.
It seems these days you can’t turn on the news or go on the internet without seeing how integral your diet is to your health. And we don’t mean your waist-size. There is a direct correlation between anxiety and nutrition. Obvious stimulants like caffeine can increase feelings of panic and anxiety, but things like salt/sodium can also make those palpitations come in plagues. Next time you reach for food at the store, really take a second to see how much sodium is in the product – you may be surprised! Foods that are recommended for people with anxiety include asparagus, garlic, eggs, fish, molasses, carrots, onions, beetroot and more. Additionally, crack a cold one! A cold soda water that is; soda water increases the levels of carbon dioxide that helps the body to become balanced when someone is hyperventilating. Soda water also decreases smooth muscle contractions and dilates blood vessels, which allows blood to flow easily around the body.
The term “Happy Place” didn’t come into existence for no reason. Whether this is a place you love; your childhood home, your favorite vacation destination, or even someplace totally fictitious, taking the time to calm down and visualize can work wonders. Not only will you feel simply more at peace by associating yourself with your “happy place”, you will distract your mind and your body from thinking about whatever is mentally ailing you. And remember, a lot of times, the magic is in the details. Actually remembering the way the sand feels on your feet, or the way a certain place smells can help you to envelop yourself in your serene setting. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!
We promise, this isn’t as new-agey as it sounds. A lot of times just talking to yourself can ease the tension. Although usually associated with the Alcoholics Anonymous program, reminding yourself to take it “one day at a time” is more useful than you may think. The key behind this saying has more to do with acknowledging that you shouldn’t worry about the future. Just focus on the now. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so why worry? And even if you do know, there’s not a lot to be done about it. You can deal with tomorrow, tomorrow. Other times, reassuring yourself is a big step. ”I can do this. I am doing this”. And though it’s certainly not for everyone, prayer can have the same effect. We’re not touting that you take up a religion by any means, but sometimes, if you do know a prayer, repeating it to yourself can have the same hypnotic and calming effect as a saying or phrase. Especially in the throes of a panic attack.
Talk It Out:
Not everyone understands anxiety. Some people have never felt panic before. They are lucky. However, a lot of people out there have. You may be surprised to find that one of your friends, carers or even family members has had a panic attack or two of their own. One of the worst things about a panic attack is feeling like you are all alone. However, having experienced one yourself, surely you would want to comfort someone who is having an anxiety problem, wouldn’t you? So why wouldn’t they want to do the same for you? Knowing someone has walked a mile in your shoes can take a huge weight off your shoulders, and it can create an even stronger bond between yourself and your support system.
As previously mentioned, everyone is different. They feel differently, react differently, and have their own methods of coping. However, sometimes, the hardest aspect of coping with anxiety is trying something new. We would love to hear how you deal with your anxiety and stress, or tips that have helped you so that they may aid others. And you know the old saying – “Keep Calm and Carry On!”.Posted in Diseases, Featured, Media Center | Tagged Anxiety, chronic illness, Coping, Panic | Leave a comment