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5 ways to help reduce stress and panic

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Everyone encounters stress from time to time, it is a completely normal symptom of, simply living. Be it – family, work, school or a host of other everyday things in our lives, stress is experienced by almost everyone.

When feeling anxious, you might not know what needs to be done to alleviate the unwanted feelings. You may even do things that unwittingly fuel your anxiety. Focusing too much on future events and ‘what-ifs’ are a big culprit in anxiety.

Anxiety is a normal response to stress and can actually be beneficial in some situations. For some, however, anxiety can become excessive and dangerous. While the person suffering may realize their anxiety is too much, they may also have difficulty controlling it and it may negatively affect their everyday living.

Scientists believe that like heart disease and type 1 diabetes, mental illnesses are complex and possibly a result from a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological, and developmental factors.

By learning more about how the brain creates fear and anxiety, scientists may be able to develop better treatments for anxiety disorders. For example, if specific neurotransmitters are found to play an important role in fear, drugs may be developed that will block them and decrease fear responses.

While that is good for the future, many anxiety sufferers require immediate relief.

The attached list contains 5 ways to help reduce stress and panic.

Be Silent
Be Silent Getty Images

Be Silent

Take this time to completely disconnect. Even if it’s just five minutes, take this time and work on ‘resetting’ your body. That means phone off, no emails, no TV, no Facebook. There’s some evidence that too much noise can boost our stress levels, so having some quiet time will help calm you down.

Focus on the present
Focus on the present Getty Images

Focus on the present

Focus on what is happening right now with your breathing and your mind. Focus on taking deep breaths and believing that you are okay. If the cause of your anxiety is worry about a future event, let that go and focus on now.

Use a calming visualization
Use a calming visualization Getty Images

Use a calming visualization

Imagine yourself on a beach drinking a Mai Tai, or fishing in the Great Lakes, or wherever a relaxed place is for you.

This is very different from what people typically do. Typically, we assign emotions, thoughts and physical sensations certain qualities and judgments.

Understand that you are in no real danger
Understand that you are in no real danger Getty Images

Understand that you are in no real danger

A popular thought amongst those who are suffering from a panic attack is that they are suffering a heart attack. Most of the time this is not the case, and the chest pains, heart palpitations and sweating can be traced back to the panic attack itself. However, if you truly feel that you are suffering a cardiac event please call 911.

Take deep breaths
Take deep breaths Getty Images

Take deep breaths

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing technique. It activates the body’s relaxation response, and helps the body go from the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system.