Dear TEARAWAY,

For the last few months I’ve been suffering from anxiety attacks. I don’t know what brings them on, but they usually happen when I’m at a friend’s house or a social event. As a result, they’ve had a huge negative impact on my social life. What could I do to avoid further attacks, without resorting to medication? – Matt

 

Suffering from anxiety can be really tough.

Anxious thoughts can make us feel even more anxious and can cause your body to respond in an anxious way.

Learning to cope with anxiety starts with resetting your physical response. There are a number of ways you can calm yourself. Calming your body lets it know there is no actual danger and so it doesn’t need to move into a stress response. You can do this by:

  • Doing some deep and slow breathing
  • Doing a meditation
  • Going for a walk
  • Having a cup of tea and a breather
  • Taking a shower or bath
  • Snuggling under a heavy blanket or wrapping yourself in covers

 

Reset your thoughts. As the body and the mind work closely together, if your mind is racing, it will calm down when your body gets calm and vice versa. You can do this by:

  • Writing or drawing in a journal
  • Watching TV, a DVD or YouTube clips
  • Playing a puzzle or game online or on your phone
  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Planing and organising the space you’re in or upcoming occasions
  • Doing other things you enjoy doing

 

Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Often getting some support and understanding, or even just a hug or some company can really help. Think about who is in your life who you can hang out with and cares about you.

 

Seek professional support. If your anxiety is feeling unmanageable, you feel like you need new strategies to deal with it or it’s getting in the way of living your life how you would like, then talking to a professional can be really useful. Check out Youthline’s  “Getting Help” section for more info.

 

Need to talk? You can get in touch with Youthline by phone, txt, e-mail, or webchat. Visit youthline.co.nz for all the details.

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