The Best Way to Combat a Panic Attack

The Best Way to Combat a Panic Attack

Your heart feels like it’s going to beat out of your chest. Suddenly your temperature is rising. You’re getting a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and feel like you’re out of breath. It’s getting harder to pace your breathing and your thoughts feel out of control. Each of these symptoms  alone are common side effects of anxiety, worry, and stress. When mixed together and left uncontrolled, they can create something called panic attacks.

This article will review a key way to help your body regulate and calm down before the panic attack hits. Remember, early intervention is the best way to curb panic attacks.

Deep breathing. Also known as diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. This is one of the most powerful tools in managing anxiety. This is the best way to calm your heart rate in a healthy way and combat an upcoming panic attack. Deep breathing is very different than taking a deep breath. The focus is on making the belly rise when inhaling and making the belly sink in when exhaling.

Let’s walk through it now:

  1. Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor. Relax your body as best you can.
  2. Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly.
  3. Breathe in through your nose slowly and focus on expanding your belly. Your right hand should rise with your breath while your left hand stays as still as possible.
  4. When your belly can’t hold any more air, hold your breath for 4 seconds, then release slowly. Remember keep your left hand as still as possible while your right hand moves in and out with your belly.

As mentioned previously, early intervention is key. The moment you begin to feel flushed, the moment your heart beats a little fast- breathe deep and begin this breathing exercise. Practice with only 3-4 breaths at a time and create a calming phrase to go along with the breathing. Something like “I am safe, I am sound” or “Breath in the positive, Release the negative,” or “If God is for me, who can be against me.”

It’s best to practice each day when you feel calm, that way when you feel overwhelmed, you will remember what you practiced. Just a few minutes a day can really pay off during the time you really.

Click here for a visual on how to do apply the 4X4X4 breathing strategy.

How to Help a Loved One who has Anxiety

How to Help a Loved One who has Anxiety

Managing anxiety can be difficult for the person going through it. Such is true for the people around them. Family members and close friends who are impacted by having a loved one struggle with anxiety can be difficult. This article focuses 3 easy ways a loved one can support their family member without enabling.

Listen. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, no matter how often this has happened, listen. The person struggling with anxiety does not want to have this condition. They do not wake this morning wanting to feel anxiety. Listen with your ears, but really listen with your heart. Offer non-verbal encouragement, nod your head, look at them, and sit with them on their level.

Limit. Being supportive of your loved one struggling with anxiety doesn’t mean that you are constantly available. While it is important to show consistent support and stability by being physically and emotionally present, you don’t have to completely stop and hold your life. Give yourself a magic number. Think of a certain amount of time you are willing and able to dedicate and devote to listening and being with your loved one today. This number can vary from day to day. This morning you may have 15 minutes, but tomorrow you may have 30. Let your loved one know you want to be there for them but set boundaries.

Ask. During a time your loved one is calm, ask what you can do to help the next time they feel anxious. Ask what they need during these times. Ask questions to better understand how anxiety impacts them personally. If your loved one does not know the answer to these questions or are providing answers that seem codependent (ie:”as long as you never leave my side, I’m ok”), that’s a clear indicator they could benefit from getting some extra help.

Having a loved one with anxiety is not easy. It may seem that despite your best attempts, the anxiety does not seem to ease back. But remember, your loved one is different than the anxiety. When you feel angry or frustrated, just remember to target this towards the anxiety not your loved one. The two of you together can fight towards the same cause: managing the anxiety.

3 Reasons Why Finding a Counselor Can Be So Hard

3 Reasons Why Finding a Counselor Can Be So Hard

Why is it so hard to find a counselor? After weeks of looking, you’re starting to think Maybe it’s best to just quit. You’re faced with multiple barriers you hadn’t even considered that leave you with thoughts like, Wait, how much does counseling cost? You don’t take my insurance? How long until I can start? What do you mean you don’t specialize in this?

This article reviews some of the top reasons finding a counselor can be so hard and 3 solutions to help.

“Sorry, we don’t take your insurance.” Contrary to popular belief, not every counselor takes your insurance- or any insurance at all. Private pay rates for counseling services can range anywhere between $80-$150 per session. If you are looking for a counselor who specifically takes your insurance, start with your insurance company. Call the “member services line” on the back of your insurance card, it is usually a 1–888 or 1-800 phone number. Ask for help to find a “mental health or behavioral health counselor.” Put your insurance to work. Ask for a list of counselors in your area who take your insurance and begin calling from there.

Sorry, we aren’t taking new clients and won’t have availability until 3 months from now.” Believe it or not, counseling is in high demand. Some counseling agencies don’t have availability until weeks or months out. Consider the problem you are facing, can this issue wait for weeks or months? The typical answer is no, it cannot. Don’t postpone receiving support simply because that counselor is unavailable. Keep calling other places, keep looking around. With virtual services available, consider calling other cities in your area. This could widen the availability for clinical counseling services.

“Sorry, we don’t treat that issue here.” Some counselors do not specialize in the issue you are needing counseling services for. For example, if you are needing marriage counseling, not all counselors treat couples. If you need counseling for your seven-year-old child, not all counselors are trained to treat this age group. Based on the problem you need help with, take a look around for a counselor who specializes in this issue. When you call different places, let this be the first question you ask- Do any of your counselors offer couples counseling? When searching online, search specifically for “marriage counseling” rather than just “counseling.”

Overall, finding a counselor can be difficult. But please, don’t take this as some sort of weird sign from the world that you should NOT get help. The previously mentioned are minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things. Your healing is on the line and you deserve this. Don’t let obstacles deter your opportunity for a better future.

4 Easy Ways to Combat Anxious Thoughts

4 Easy Ways to Combat Anxious Thoughts

Anxiety is a condition that exists in the thoughts of the mind. Based on the thoughts you create, it can fuel worry, stress and even fear. One way to manage anxiety is through mental defense through the thoughts you think. Here are a few ways to help get that anxiety under control in the mind. Yes. Mind control:

1). Ask yourself, is this thought accurate? 100% accurate? The thought that is prompting the anxiety, is it true? For example, if you’re thinking you can’t go on that road trip because you’re going to get into a car accident and die, is that true? Simple answer is you don’t know. But as of this point in time, it is not true. You are alive, so therefore it must be untrue. There is no way of knowing that information and claim it as 100% true. You must dispel the inaccuracies.

2). Use facts to counter the anxiety. Using the example from above, facts state you have a 1 in 107 chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident. This means you have less than 1% chance of dying in a car accident. AKA 99% chance of making it to your destination. Facts. Counter irrational thoughts with logic.

3). Use anchors. Look around you- what do you see, what do you hear, what do you feel on your skin, what do you smell? Tune into the sights and sounds around you. Think about the things right in front of your eyes and use them as anchors. You can’t allow your mind to convince you you are somewhere else in time. Remember the mind is exceptionally powerful. Some may find themselves in full blown panic attacks or anxiety attacks based on the thoughts they have in their head.

4). Scale it. On a scale of one to 10 on the severity or importance chart, how severe is this issue? For example, your mind starts going wild because your significant other didn’t answer their phone when you called. Your mind starts thinking outlandish things and before you know it they didn’t answer because they’re cheating you or in a hospital somewhere- or both. However, let’s go back to what happened. You called, they did not answer. On a scale of one to 10, how severe is this?? I would say it’s a good solid 2, maybe 3. This situation does not require a level 9 reaction.

So before you let your thoughts go too wild, ask yourself is this thought true? 100% of the time? What are the facts here? Where has my mind run off to? Where am I literally right now? On a scale of 1-10, how severe is this?

Remember, the mind is quick. You’ve got to sllllooooowwww your roll.

What is Anxiety?

What is Anxiety?

What is anxiety? Does everyone have it? Will it ever go away?

This blog will cover some of these questions about anxiety, what it is and how it works.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness suggests over 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder– which is likely a gross underestimation. There are many who have struggled with anxiety and have presumed everyone goes through it, have never been formally diagnosed, or have no idea there is a name for what they are feeling. If you’re not sure if you worry is anxiety or just plain stress, here’s a blog to learn more. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Anxiety as it is commonly called, is a mental health disorder. While it originates in the brain, the body often feels it too. Anxiety is a fear the mind creates that doesn’t seem to slow down or let up. It can be related to one topic or many and is based in something bad that could happen now or in the future. Here are some common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Constant worrisome thoughts that won’t seem to stop
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Irregular breathing like your heart is beating way too fast
  • Sweating
  • Shaky hands or legs
  • Fear of something bad happening
  • Hard time controlling feelings (ex: lashing out on others, uncontrollable sobbing)
  • Don’t feel like yourself.

While we may feel these symptoms at different times of our life- for example when feeling stressed out or going through something difficult- anxiety is different. It is known to effect people for weeks, months, or even years and can be difficult to control despite our best efforts.

If you or someone you love is experiencing anxious symptoms, talk about it. Clinical anxiety will not ever truly go away, rather it can be controlled and minimized depending on different factors. Not everyone with anxiety will require medication although many times this can help. Counseling can be a great resource to help you feel like you’re not in it alone.

Don’t wait for things to get worse, start by contacting us today.


Why Counseling Kinda Sucks Pt. 3

Why Counseling Kinda Sucks Pt. 3

Counseling is difficult. It’s like an intense exercise of the brain, very similar to an intense physical workout- think Iron Man or Triathlon. It’s not easy; it pushes beyond your own mental limits and makes you question things that have always been your truth. It can be intense, heavy, and sometimes overwhelming- but worth it.

Let’s pretend you and I decide to get into the best shape of our entire lives. We decide to get a trainer and we push ourselves in and out of the gym. On day one, you and I are running further than we have in a long time and naturally start to feel uncomfortable. Our hearts are beating faster and our legs start burning and soon feel like giving up. But our trainer says “Push it! Push it! You can do it.” So we knock it out- tired but accomplished.

Now let’s consider the same scenario, we’re running more than we have in a long time and start to feel a pain scorching through our knees and into the hamstring area. Our trainer then tells us to “Stop.” Pain is a signal for the body to stop. Discomfort, on the other hand, is a different kind of signal- it says you could be on the verge of growth.

Knowing your body is the most important thing when working out. It’s important to know when to pull back and when to push further because your body is on the verge of growth– even though it’s uncomfortable.

Counseling is a lot like this. It will never be intended to cause you pain. That’s not the point. If counseling is causing you pain, something is not right. This isn’t to say that you won’t feel tough emotions, or taken to the point of discomfort. Feeling emotionally uncomfortable can happen in counseling- you may start feelings you’ve been pushing down for awhile or maybe have feelings you didn’t think you had in you.

Honestly, counseling can be quite difficult, especially in the beginning. It’s not easy to push beyond your own mental limits and then wait to see results that seem to take forever. But rest assured dear friend, when things in counseling get a bit uncomfortable, you’re on the verge of growth.

One of the hardest parts of counseling is endurance. Counseling is a marathon race not a sprint. As a result of pushing yourself and trusting your “trainer”/counselor, you can begin to feel different, create an outlook that’s different, and live a life that’s different.