Over the last couple of blogs, we have been looking at the fight, flight and freeze (FFF) response and today we look at the last one flight. This is often seen as the most common one, if people haven’t experienced anxiety they often see anxiety as being just this way. But, as we have seen there are many ways that anxiety can be experienced and shown in how we react to it. Being anxious is a horrible feeling and one that perpetuates the fear response more than anything else. If you haven’t experienced it then you’re one of the lucky ones. It’s such a powerful feeling and is often difficult for people to fully understand if they haven’t experienced it, as anxiety is a massively complex and diverse thing as it can be felt in so many different ways.
A panic attack in its pure form should last for maybe a minute at the most and is a wave of anxiety fear and other physical feelings, such as heart racing, feelings like you can’t breath, palpations, hot and agitated are just a few of them. For some people, they experience heightened anxiety and this can last for much longer and be less of a wave and more of a constant feeling of fear and anxiety, mixed in with a whole array of physical feelings. I feel that if we have strong fear of the fear, then this constant feeling is more than likely to be how you will be experiencing things. The more we worry about having a panic attack the more anxious we become and this, for people with severe anxiety, can become the normal everyday feeling. If this is the case it is worth seeking some expert help, to help you deal with your anxiety and helping you find solutions to your fear responses. But there are lots of things we can do to help us deal with our anxiety in a better way, firstly don’t drink caffeinated drinks tea, coffee, coke, red bull; all of this will spike your adrenals and that feeling we have when we have had too much of them can be similar to certain aspects of anxiety. If we are experience a similar feeling to anxiety it can remind us about the anxiety and so in turn, move from being a physical response triggered by the over stimulating of your body- to a mental induced anxiety.
Another thing is to try to do, is to do your best not to be rushing to do things. For many people with a long-term anxiety our minds are so used to experiencing life this way, that it will send messages that make everyday situations more stressful then they need to be. Some people can always be rushed, not leaving enough time to get somewhere and of course this is stressful for anybody. This was me, I would always be late! It was a standing joke in my family, they even used to tell me to arrive 30 minuets earlier as they knew I would be late. I just saw it as part of who I was and I had no idea of the impact it was having on me. When I realised the impact on my anxiety, it did make a massive change for me in reducing my anxiety levels, it takes time and I still found myself leaving too late, getting distracted before an event, losing track of time too and trying to fit in way too much. I tried all sorts of things to help, I set my clocks early, I set alerts, got people to call me and set up a complete diary of everything I had to do. I am 95% there, I still try to fit a bit too much in, but now I am anxiety free this isn’t an issue for me and I do enjoy living a work hard, play hard, sort of life style.
If this sounds like you, leave more time, do a bit less, slow down and take your time, you will feel much better because of it. Also make sure you eat little and often and try not to go for extended times without food. If your blood sugar is feeling a bit out of balance it can bring on anxiety style feelings and this can then lead your mind into being triggered into anxiety. Drops in your blood sugar levels are so closely linked to anxiety feelings and this was another one of my issues, regular healthy eating is the key to this.
Another issue can be alcohol, not so much when drinking it, but for some people the hangover effects even after just one or two drinks can last for days. Again we may not see it as this, but think it’s just our anxiety cycle. If you do drink then it’s worth looking at how you feel the days after drinking and see if there is any downward spiral in your anxiety and again make changes. It won’t mean being teetotal for ever! But, it will help break the patterns of anxiety and once your mind is out of the cycle it is easier for your mind to move into patterns of calm instead. Your mind is very habitual and parts of the anxiety and fears of anxiety, will be driven by these habits. Trying to manage how we feel and look for solutions, instead of fuelling the fear will reduce your anxiety too; a hot bath, a relaxation cd, meditation, a walk or run will all help. The first one helps to reduce your stress levels and exercise helps to push your heart rate above your anxiety heart rate and then when your body comes to cool down it will not stop at the anxiety heart rate, it will work to return it to a normal level.
We have talked a lot about feeding your anxiety in all the blogs about The Cat which are worth another listen, as you don’t want to negatively add to your feeling of anxiety. Take a bit of time to take stock of your life, and look at the things that can be causing stress and things that could be triggering your anxiety. Try and look for solutions to help deal better with these, don’t avoid but don’t live with things that can enable your worry habits and then in turn spike your anxiety. The example of always running late is a good one, so if there is anything else that you know impacts you it’s time to change, remember don’t avoid things but on the other hand don’t make your life stressful for no reason either.
Anxiety is complicated and it has multiple levels, every change will help you to reduce your anxiety, there is not often one thing, there are many things, so do take the time to look at the things you can change in your life. Make the changes today, it will help, and each thing you change and break from is another part of your anxiety habit being released from you.
Have a great day, thanks for dropping by Sara x