In our fast paced society many people suffer from stress that they have difficulty controlling. While stress is normal, expected and in some cases healthy, over the long term, poorly managed stress can cause problems ranging from increased chances of illness to drug and alcohol abuse and relationship problems.
At some point normal stress ends and problematic anxiety begins. At that point you may begin to experience the symptoms of Panic Attacks, chronic illness, exhaustion, addiction, compulsion behavior. Panic attacks can be frightening and interfere with daily life. If you have ever suffered these symptoms you may have problems with stress and anxiety management.
Symptoms of a Panic Attack
- Raging heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing, feeling as though you ‘can’t get enough air
- Terror that is almost paralyzing
- Nervous, shaking, stress
- Heart palpitation, feeling of dread
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
- Trembling, sweating, shaking
- Choking, chest pains, distress
- Fear, fright, afraid, anxious
- Hot flashes, or sudden chills
- Tingling in fingers or toes (‘pins and needles’)
- Fearful that you’re going to go crazy or are about to die
HOW CAN COUNSELING HELP?
As a professional counselor I can helpyou make changes that you might now know you need to make. As anxiety and stress are habits, they often operate outside your awareness. Counseling is a look into your life from the outside. As we work together I can help you identify patterns of thinking, belief systems and behaviors that are creating stress in your life. I think back to when I was in graduate school and working full time. One night my wife had a little intervention with me when she insisted “You’re stressed, and you don’t even know it!”
Once we identify these patterns of thinking and behavior we can work together to find solutions. My favorite method is to use biofeedback to help you learn to regulate your stress and anxiety. The video below will tell you more about the technology and how it helps. In addition to biofeedback, the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will help you get the tools you need to challange your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions that are the cause of your stress. We will also look at how your life is filled with stressors including family, work, leisure and rest. Some changes may need to happen in these areas.
Understand stress and the emWave Solution to Stress and Anxiety
WHAT CAN I TRY ON MY OWN?
Anxiety is a habit. While biochemical mechanisms are behind anxiety (especially panic attacks) we also play a role in choosing behavior that increases or decreases the severity of anxiety. The following practices can help you decrease the length, severity and intensity of anxiety, stress and panic attacks. Follow these on a regular basis for maximum effectiveness.
Avoid all stimulants! This includes coffee and non-herbal tea (black, white and green tea). Decaffeinated tea still contains other stimulants not removed by the decaffeinating process (known as theobromine and theophyline). It’s best to avoid all of these. Sugar should be minimized including artificial sweeteners. Read food labels and avoid ingredients including high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, cane syrup, aspartame, Splenda, Sweet and Low, NurtiSweet, etc.
Try exercising at least 30-45 minutes, 5 times per week. Biological changes occur when exercising that decrease stress chemicals and actually elevate your ability to manage stress successfully.
Track you symptoms of stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Try to identify triggers (incidents that cause anxiety attacks to begin). Learn the symptoms of how your body responds to anxiety. As you notice increased symptoms you should gradually learn to identify new triggers and high risk situations.
Below you will find simple one page instructions that detail how to use a variety relaxation techniques. Click on the link to point the instruction sheet. Use the following techniques often to teach your body how to relax and avoid anxiety.Find one or two of the following practices that work well for you. Use them at least 5-15 minutes per day as your anxiety increases. When you notice an increase in anxiety your first response should be to use the techniques for 5 minutes until you feel symptoms decrease to a manageable level.