If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know how truly dreadful an experience it can be. While exact symptoms are different for everyone, they often include nausea, rapid heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath and a feeling of absolute terror. Many people in the midst of a panic attack report feeling like they might actually die.
For some people, panic attacks are a part of generalized anxiety, which affects approximately 40 million people in the United States. However, panic attacks may occur in individuals who do not routinely experience anxiety, as well.
The attacks may be triggered by a certain stressor, such as a traumatic experience or an adverse reaction to a medication. Genetic factors may come into play, and sometimes, the cause remains unknown.
While prescription drugs are often prescribed to both treat anxiety and prevent panic attacks, these can often have nasty side effects, and it’s worth it to try natural options first before going this route. The following are a few to try to help prevent future panic attacks:
- Make sure you are eating healthy, and eating enough. Incorporate plenty of healthy proteins and fats into your diet, and avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol. A variety of fruits and veggies is also key to getting all the nutrients your neurotransmitters need to properly function.
- If you’re hungry, have a healthy snack, such as a handful of raw nuts and a smoothie: some people experience heightened anxiety when they are hungry.
- Add foods containing essential omega-3 fatty acids to your meals, such as fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, as well as flax (make sure it is ground), hemp and chia seeds. Omega-3s are linked to optimal cognitive function, and have been found to ease depression and anxiety symptoms.
- See that your diet contains ample amounts of magnesium, which is drained when your body is stressed. Raw nuts and seeds, including almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, as well as buckwheat and steel-cut oats, contain substantial amounts of magnesium.
- Certain herbs, including valerian root, have been found to help ease anxiety. To determine which are right for you, and in which quantity, talk to a natural health professional that you trust, and always purchase your herbs from a trusted source.
- Get at least 30 minutes per day of cardiovascular exercise. Exercise is one of the most powerful stress-relieving tools in your arsenal. Cardio releases endorphins, increases your lung capacity, and gives all of your extra energy a way to release, making panic attacks less likely.
- Meditate daily, even if it’s just for ten minutes each morning and night. Consider attending a guided meditation session, as these can be very informative, particularly to help with your breathing techniques. During a panic attack, slow, controlled breathing can be helpful, but it can be even more effective if your body is trained in breathing slowly and steadily to begin with.
- Consider seeking out a counselor or therapist you trust, so that you can get to the root causes of your anxiety, and learn how to deal with these before they spiral into a panic attack.
-The Alternative Daily