Resources- Intense Anxiety and Panic

5 Best Tricks for Intense Anxiety:

I have used many tools to deal with my intense anxiety / stress / panic attacks in the past, and these below are some of my favorite ones. I found them to be the best for healing personally, but there may also be others out there that I didn’t mention, either because I didn’t know about them or because they weren’t as healing for me. I also used some of these towards other feelings I have had, such as to process sadness, anger, grief etc. etc.
  • Anxiety:
    • EFT / Tapping          
      This EFT Tapping focuses on tapping on meridian points in order to remove negative energy in the body, similar to acupuncture. Scientific consensus is debated as to whether or not this works through placebo effect or through some actual physiological response. Nevertheless, I found it greatly beneficial to me, when I would feel anxiety coming up, or even a panic attack. Regardless of its actual benefits, its meditative aspect is really powerful. The previously cited article shows how to practice this, and there are also many tutorials on Youtube, such as this one.
    • Vagal Nerve Stimulation Exercises          
      Overall, polyvagal theory by Stepehen Porges has really helped me understand my nervous system and the tools to be able to regulate it. Evidence to support it and its main activation pathways is sparse, but regardless, I find it a useful model to think about my nervous system and its tenets intuitive for which anecdotal evidence does exist. You may want to read more about it or learn more about it. Here is a link with some more info about it.

      Polyvagal theory is a theory that describes how the vagus nerve works. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in humans and has a lot of important functions associated with it. Stimulating it is seen as stimulating calm, the parasympathetic system, and increase vagal tone (in short, the effectiveness of your vagus nerve) / heart rate variability (in short, how fast your heart rate can speed up or slow down, depending on if there is a threat or a safe environment, for example—when it is increased, your heart can shift between different modes quicker and not be “stuck” in one mode). There are many vagal nerve stimulation exercises that can be done, and many of which can be found on the Internet and also here. These includes chanting, humming, gargling, meditation, probiotics, cold exposure, exercises, socializing and laughing. A lot of these have been shown to be beneficial for your health in society already and so it is not surprising that they are also correlated with a greater vagal tone and heart rate variability.
  • Panic Attacks:
    • Ice Cold Water          
      When having a panic attack, there was one method that I used that never failed. I would fill up my sink with the coldest water and dunk my head in. Apparently, because of an evolutionary mechanism in our bodies, this indicates to our bodies that we must conserve energy as it sinks we are sinking in water and that nothing else can be done (known as the "dive reflex"). This would stop the panic in my body immediately.
    • Podcast          
      During panic attacks, sometimes I would also listen to this podcast specifically made for people who suffer from panic attacks, to listen to while you are experiencing one. Check it out here if you want. There are also others out there.
  • Both Anxiety and Panic Attacks:
    • Medications          
      Certain medications can be used to lower anxiety, some of which are over-the-counter and others that should only be used under the guidance of a doctor or medical professional (SSRIs / antidepressants, benzodiazepines, propranolol etc.). Some of the over-the-counter ones that worked for me personally were melatonin and benadryl (usually used as an anti-allergy medicine), melatonin to help me sleep and benadryl both to help me sleep as well as relax me when having high anxiety. I do not promote the use of any medication without the guidance / advice of a medical professional, but perhaps these could be things you talk to a doctor / pharmacist about etc.
    • Breathwork          
      Breathwork can be a really powerful tool to regulate the nervous system. Many of the breathing techniques are described in the book Breath, which can be found under the Resources- Books page here . Wim Hoff breathwork can used to reset energy levels and activate your nervous system in a controlled way. Holotropic breathwork can be used for various things, including processing trauma. These should be undergone with licensed professionals, and workshops around different areas exist.

      A basic breathwork technique is just to have inhale as slowly and as long as possible, and then to exhale even slower and even longer. This signals to the pararsympathetic system that we are safe and protected, stimulating relaxation and calm.
    • Others          
      Others for which much detail exists on the internet already and is more useful to bring down anxiety levels overall, rather than very high anxiety immediately, include acupuncture, Reiki, yoga, therapy etc.