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Did you know that one in ten adults has a panic attack each year?  Over 40 million people in the US suffer with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety and panic attacks can feel crippling if you struggle with them.

Getting treatment is essential to help you learn how to manage symptoms of anxiety. Have you considered going beyond basic talk therapy and engaging in holistic approach therapy and counseling?

Keep reading to learn the benefits of a holistic approach to therapy for managing panic attacks and anxiety.

Learn to Respond to Stress

Anxiety and panic attacks can be overwhelming. When you’re under a lot of stress, symptoms worsen. It’s important to learn how to respond to stress to help reduce and manage symptoms effectively.

There are techniques to use if you feel oncoming anxiety or a panic attack. First, you must understand the signs that anxiety may be increasing. There are several approaches that can help with this.

Mindfulness

Most people think of meditation when they hear the word mindfulness, and in truth, it’s related. However, it’s not the entirety.

Focusing on the present allows you to stop ruminating and worrying. Ruminating keeps you stuck in the past overthinking things you can’t change or worrying about things that will likely never happen. Ruminating traps you in the future or the past, so you can’t focus on what’s happening now. Recognizing rumination and differentiating it from logical thinking is a good place to start to recognizing anxiety. Then learning skills to managing the thought patterns is a helpful step.

Mindfulness is a tool that teaches you to focus on what’s happening in the here and now.

When you practice mindfulness, you focus on what is happening now, and noticing it without criticism. In addition, you don’t assign judgment to your thoughts by calling them good or bad you can learn to notice where they are focused.

By working with a therapist to learn how understand anxiety and panic attacks through mindfulness techniques that work for you.

Empower Your Brain

The brain is a tricky organ. When you have anxiety, it’s easy to feel like you’re waging a battle against your brain.

However, there are ways you can change how your brain is functioning to help with anxiety and panic disorders.

Respond to Fight or Flight

When you experience anxiety or panic, your body is in fight or flight mode. Your brain sends out a signal that there is danger or imminent threat. Historically, this was important if you needed to run from a predator. However, in today’s world, not many of us are running from mountain lions or other life-threatening situations.

When your body enters fight or flight mode, how do you deal with the onslaught of neurochemicals and hormones that change your functioning? Movement and exercise are a great way to “discharge” the fight or flight response from your body. Your body is being signaled that you need to escape when you have this response.  Engaging your body helps to focus your mind and it allows your parasympathetic system to regain control over your sympathetic system. It does this by activating frontal regions of your brain that are responsible for executive function. This helps control your amygdala, which activates the fight or flight response. Letting your system know that you’re not under threat.

How Exercise Helps

We know that exercise helps with depression due to the release of “happy hormones;” however, it also helps with anxiety and panic by increasing anti-anxiety neurochemicals. This includes:

  • Serotonin
  • GABA
  • BDNF
  • Endocannabinoids

Yoga is an excellent form of movement and exercise to use for anxiety and panic attacks. Studies show that yoga can help by decreasing the number of stress hormones in the body.

Decrease Muscle Tension

When you’re anxious or panicking, your body tenses up. This is a normal reaction; your body is preparing to fight or flee, depending on the circumstances.

Exercise can help by allowing you to move and work out that tension. As your body begins to relax, your mind will start to relax as well.

Lower Cortisol Levels

Different types of holistic therapies can help to decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone,” and it’s one of the factors in fight or flight.

High cortisol levels contribute to anxiety; this means it’s important to keep it under control. Exercise is one way you can address this. However, it’s not the only way.

Massage

Getting a massage can help with anxiety in several ways. First, it can help to decrease your levels of cortisol.

Massage can also help relieve the tension you feel when you’re anxious. One study looked at massage as a treatment for anxiety.  It found that individuals who received regular massage therapy for 12 weeks saw a 50 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms.

If you’re struggling to sleep, your anxiety and panic increase. Some people sleep better after getting a massage. If you’ve ever gotten a massage, you know that it can be quite relaxing to the point where you fall asleep on the massage bed and later at home sleep well.

Work Through the Feelings

A Holistic approach to therapy can help you work through the feelings you’re experiencing that cause anxiety and panic attacks. Emotional responses can be caused by past trauma and your system can get caught in a loop of fight and flight responses when there is no present danger or current or even current stressors. There a several approaches that can help you to address symptoms in your body, mind, and emotions. One of the most studied and effective therapies is EMDR.

EMDR

EMDR is an approach to processing difficult experiences or trauma from the past that continue to impact you in the present. EMDR engages the whole nervous system including the body and the emotional and rational parts of the brain to support processing the past so that you can fully be in the present.

You may have emotions, memories, and thoughts that you continue to cycle through that cause anxiety or panic attacks. EMDR is an evidence-based therapy that has proven to be successful in reducing symptoms and increasing an overall sense of wellbeing. The goal is to process the past, so it no longer causes psychological distress or negative feelings.

Address Your Anxiety and Panic Attacks with A Holistic Approach to Therapy

Anxiety and panic attacks are overwhelming, and it can feel like they control your life. It’s essential to find the treatment that works for you. If you are looking for a well-rounded approach to health, consider working with a therapist that is trained to look beyond talk therapy and will support you in looking at all the important aspects of your life that contribute to creating health and balance.

Are you ready to get the help you need? Start your journey to balance with us. 

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