I am not a therapist or licensed professional, and the information below is not a treatment, merely information gathered from several online sources to provide some help. If you or someone you love is experiencing anxiety, talk with a school counselor, licensed therapist, or other professional to seek treatment and help.
General Anxiety Tips
Find joy in the little things, mentally step back from stressful situations to gather yourself and think logically, practice being grateful, remember your feelings are valid. Give yourself credit for recognizing that you're anxious and doing what you can to help yourself.
- Anxiety-reducing foods: almonds, asparagus, avocado, blueberries, milk, oatmeal, oranges, salmon, spinach, and turkey (http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/eat-to-beat-stress-10-foods-that-reduce-anxiety/slide/all)
- Breathing techniques: to practice breathing properly, lay down with a pillow on your middle- your stomach should move out when you inhale and in when you exhale, and your shoulders shouldn't move. Here are 2 different breathing exercises:
- Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds
- Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds, breathe out for 8 seconds
- Natural remedies/helpers:
- Things to eat, drink, or breathe in: chamomile tea, green tea, hops, valerian, omega-3s, lemon balm, passionflower, lavender.
- Things to do: exercise for at least 21 minutes, eat breakfast (anxiety can be caused by low levels of choline- found in breakfast foods like eggs), eat something when you start feeling anxious (anxiety can be caused by a drop in blood sugar), walk in the woods or someplace else with nature and less urban sounds (proven to lower stress levels), meditation, breath while asking yourself grounding questions. (http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20669377,00.html)
- Relaxation techniques: meditate; practice breathing techniques; stay present by being mindful of everything you see and feel in the moment without feeling judgement; tune into how your body feels- make it comfortable and keep it warm; decompress and let emotions out; find happy things to laugh about; listen to music; exercise; think about the things you're grateful for; talk yourself out of blowing things out of proportion because no setback is the end of the world (http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot)
- Anxiety- reducing yoga poses: headstand, child's pose, corpse pose, half moon pose, shoulder stand, tree pose, legs up the wall, standing forward bend, fish pose (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/19/yoga-for-anxiety-10-poses_n_3281986.html)
- Other things to try: drink plenty of water; wash your face or shower in cooler water if you need to clear your head; put on comfortable clothing; lay/sit in bed; watch your favorite calming/uplifting movie; cuddle with a stuffed animal, pillow, person, or blanket; paint, draw, or write out how you feel; place a cool cloth on your neck to clear your mind, or a warm cloth on your neck to soothe you
Panic Attack Tips
- How to get through a panic attack:
- Acknowledge and accept the panic attack- realize you are panicking, don't try to push it aside, and know that you are afraid but aren't in real danger. You have to learn to work with your symptoms instead of struggling against them.
- Wait and watch your symptoms- don't freak out and jump to action immediately, take a moment to assess the situation, perhaps record details of your panic attacks in a journal during the panic attack to find out what methods work for you to end your panic attacks
- Act- remove yourself if you can no longer function safely in your current situation, practice breathing techniques, question your fear and give yourself calming self-talk, focus on what is happening around you in the present, relax your body
- Repeat- if necessary, repeat all the previous steps until you feel back to normal
- End- remember that the panic attack will pass and that you will be okay (http://www.anxietycoach.com/overcoming-panic-attacks.html)
- How to help someone through a panic attack: The person having the panic attack needs you to act as their stable rock. The panic attack is not your fault or your responsibility! The second you start blaming yourself, you damage your own emotions while taking away their support system. Also, don't get upset with the person having a panic attack, it will do make things even worse.
- General Tips:
- Remain calm- you're doing awesome at helping this person, don't let their panic pull you down
- Don't ask them to make decisions- while panicking, their ability to make rational decisions has disappeared, asking them to do so can result in stress and confusion
- Take control- guiding them to taking care of themselves will take the decision-making stress off their shoulders
- Realize they can't always voice their needs- sometimes they can't ask for what they need, and you can't always read their mind. Just do your best.
- Tips to help them when you are in close proximity:
- Sensations- if they give consent to you touching them, try: alternating between holding them and lightly stroking circles on their skin, turn down the lighting and give them blankets to soothe them, platonic forehead kisses (anything sexual is not good for this situation), speaking in a low voice, rocking them slightly as if they were a child
- Activities- after the initial attack, try: playing calming music or cartoons, read to them, have them take a bath or shower, tell them about your day or talk about any random topic- they won't be able to answer much, but they'll still appreciate it
- Nourishment- give them water, if they are able to drink the water try giving them a warm drink (nothing sugary, alcoholic, or caffeinated), make sure they've eaten recently
- Tips for when you can't be there: