4 Habits That Make It Hard to Manage Panic Attacks
Are you trying to control panic attacks?
A panic attack is a kind of anxiety or stress episode that involves intense and often unrealistic feelings of anxiety and fear. It is usually accompanied by a wide range of serious physical symptoms and is common when there is no real danger.
Panic attacks can be scary to experience, so learning how to handle them is crucial to getting on with your daily life without feeling downcast about them. Here are 4 habits that make handling panic attacks difficult.
1. Eating badly
The food you eat changes the way your body works. Your food contains the energy that you will use throughout the day, and using the wrong type of energy is a sure way to worsen your psychological state. This significantly affects anxiety, as lack of sustenance can trigger stress responses. Here are some ways you may be eating poorly and causing more severe panic attacks:
Eat very little
The human body needs energy to function. When you’re not getting enough calories, your body doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to keep pushing you forward. This results in feelings of stress when the body goes into starvation mode, a fight or flight “state” that depletes its positive thinking. Make sure you eat enough every day, especially if you lead a more active lifestyle!
Fat gets a bad rap due to years of misinformation about its health value. Sure, some fats are bad for you, but good fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are good for the body and help reduce inflammation. It is said that eating enough good fats can have positive effects on anxiety disorders, reducing their symptoms, including panic attacks.
Low carbohydrate diets
You may have noticed that you crave carbohydrates every time you feel bad, and there is a scientific reason for that! Carbohydrates are believed to increase your body’s serotonin levels, with serotonin being a feel-good hormone. Increased serotonin can reduce the frequency of panic attacks.
Not eating enough protein
Blood sugar levels are crucial to fighting the worst symptoms of anxiety, and those levels drop and rise rapidly if the body has to use foods full of glucose. When you don’t eat enough protein, your body turns to carbohydrates for food, according to research, and this leads to anxiety, as you quickly consume those carbohydrates and then the body uses them, your blood sugar rises and falls frequently, leading to energy drops.
Many people skip meals due to financial hardship or convenience. While it can’t always be avoided, you should know that skipping meals affects your blood sugar levels, causing your energy to fluctuate and anxiety symptoms worse. Consistent meals throughout the day, even small ones, are much better for you than missing them altogether.
2. Checking devices too often
Phones, laptops, computers, tablets … we live in the age of technology! With so much at your fingertips, it’s hard to avoid constantly spending time on these devices. Unfortunately, that is not healthy for you. Here are some ways that overuse of devices can harm your mental health and make panic attacks worse:
Constant scrolling on social media
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are so easily accessible that checking and reviewing them becomes commonplace. That takes you away from the present, keeping you in a constant cycle of disconnected connectivity. You do not have time “alone” because, with social media, you are never really “alone” and you also end up wasting a lot of time aimlessly browsing these websites. That doesn’t even cover the low self-esteem that often builds when you compare yourself to other people’s posts on social media!
Checking your work emails all the time
Work-related messages should be reserved for when you are actively working. If you always check your email, then you will practically never have free time or work 24/7. It would be best if you had time for yourself where you can spend time doing the things you really want to do and making sure you don’t get stuck in your work inbox when you’re not on the clock is crucial to positive work. Life balance. Updating your email every few minutes increases your stress levels and will make you panic.
Constant checking of your phone, in general
Our mobile devices come with the incredible promise of non-stop interaction, brain stimulation, and more. It can be tempting to spend all your time on it, but with all the things to do and quick and easy access to messages related to work, social media, commitments, and more, it can all be too much. Even simply checking for notifications frequently can lead to higher levels of stress, according to studies, which puts you at higher risk for panic attacks.
3. Spending all the time at home alone
Are you a homebody? It is extraordinary to be an introvert or to love the comforts of your creature! But balance is necessary if you want to better control your anxiety. Overdoing your time alone or at home can hurt your anxiety levels. Here are some ways you shouldn’t waste your time if you want to control panic attacks:
Being indoors all day
It’s cozy at home, but you also need a little time in the sun. Although too much sun has adverse effects on the skin, exposure to natural light is great for your overall health. Being in nature, in the sun, and outdoors can do wonders for positive thinking and anxiety, reducing the risk of panic attacks.
Many socially anxious people are more comfortable alone, and even introverts, in general, may prefer their own company to spending time with anyone else. According to research, social support is critical to overall mental health and can help reduce the severity of anxiety. Being alone leaves you with nothing but yourself and your anxious thoughts, and no one to shed light on reality.
Spend every weekend indoors
Weekends are free time for most people, and in that time, you can go out and socialize, enrich yourself, or enjoy a nice change of pace. Spending that time alone indoors gives you many problems at the same time: you are isolated, you are not in natural environments and you are wasting valuable time. This is not to say that you cannot have one day off each week, but if you have more than one day off, you should choose to spend one of them outdoors if you want to better control panic attacks.
4. Participate in negative thinking
There are a wide variety of negative thought patterns that can be detrimental to your psychological state. As a general rule of thumb, any thoughts that depress you or trap you in negative thought processes will make panic attacks worse. Sometimes they even lead to panic attacks!
Negative thinking is at the core of anxiety and is often irrational, overly critical, and not based on any form of reality. This is why acknowledging negative thoughts and learning how to change those thoughts and transform them into positive thoughts can help you with panic attacks. Here are some common forms of negative thinking to keep in mind:
Feelings are powerful things, but that doesn’t mean they’re okay all the time. In fact, most of the time, your emotions are wrong! Emotional reasoning refers to the act of relying on your initial emotional response as valid evidence to conclude. For example, if you feel embarrassed about something, you can use it as evidence that everyone is laughing at you. It is not exact at all and it will make you feel more anxious. If something has received an emotional response from you, the best thing to do is stop and consider whether your thoughts have a basis in reality.
· Over thinking
Some things are not that deep. Spending a lot of time over-analyzing someone’s words or actions is pointless. You will never be able to find out if someone meant something different with your words, or if others perceived you negatively when you stuttered, or if your boss’s request for a meeting means you are fired simply for thinking too much about these issues. Communication will give you answers much more quickly and is also much better for your panic. The more you overthink, the more panic you will feel, and the more panic you get, the worse your thoughts will be. It’s a nasty cycle!
Jumping to conclusions
Divination behavior is terrible for panic attacks. You listen to a few bits of information and immediately draw a conclusion based on that bad basis. Usually that conclusion will be inaccurate and incredibly damaging, adding to any feelings of panic you already have. For example, if your partner is in a bad mood, you can immediately conclude that they are going to break up with you. You can see how that would make anxiety worse!
Magnification refers to the act of taking a simple problem and blowing it up until it is overwhelming and consuming. It’s what happens when setbacks make you feel like it’s the end of the world or that you’re going to die, even when in the grand scheme of things, they’re no big deal. While your emotions and fears are valid, it is also important to know that they are not realistic. Practice taking things in context and seeing them for what they really are rather than blowing them up.
It is quite easy to see what this negative thought form means. It refers to the act of making catastrophes out of nowhere. If you have anxiety, you probably know how difficult it is to distinguish between probable and unlikely events, so you may tend to imagine the worst possible scenario, which is possible but not probable! The act of assuming the worst will always happen as a natural increase in anxiety that will make your panic attacks that much worse.
Final thoughts on some habits that make managing panic attacks difficult
Panic attacks can be difficult to handle, but it is possible when you start to adopt better habits and stop using negative ones. However, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. If your panic attacks are big enough to get in the way of your everyday life and tasks, talk to a mental health professional for treatment and help!