How can I be less stressed out?

I shake and have panic attacks.

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
So glad you are reaching out.  Panic attacks are very frightening.

For some reason (and I promise there is one) your brain is sending off false alarms even though you are probably safe.  This is called the fight or flight response and part of the body's way of fighting off perceived threats (including those that are not genuinely dangerous).

Some reasons people have panic attacks is if they are under too much emotional or physical stress, any type of exhaustion or lack of sleep, history of trauma, unprocessed emotions, etc.  You don't have to know why you are having panic attacks to work with them, but it can help to understand its origins and target them at the source.

Something to know is that the presence of anxiety does not mean you are in any danger, no matter how much your body is elevated.  Anxiety is just our body's way of letting us know something is off, though it often exaggerates the response because it doesn't always operate from a place of logic.  Triggers could be as small as a word, smell, time of day, or really anything.  Triggers can also be physical sensations inside our bodies.  Though panic attacks are very scary and feel incredibly uncomfortable, they will not kill you.

What message might your body be sending you via panic attacks?  Is there any area of your life you could step away from at all to give yourself some relief?  If you pay attention to when panic attacks happen, that could clue you into what is setting off that false alarm.

Some apps that are really great for relaxation and use breathing techniques are Calm, Headspace, PanicShield, etc.  Try some out and see which ones really fit for your needs.  Breathing is a great tool because you always have it right there with you and it's something you can control when it feels like your body is out of control.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

One way to understand panic attacks is as a sign of feeling insecure or lacking confidence in a certain area or characteristic of yourself.

The insecurity can sometimes feel overwhelming and this starts the sense of panic. 

One way to build your sense of security within yourself is to have a simple life and a slow paced life.   

When there are many activities or involvements to pay attention, then it is easy to not give full attention to all of them.  This may trigger a sense of insecurity since in fact you may not have had sufficient time to study and know your own opinion about all of what your life is immersed in.

A simpler life of fewer activities allows more time to know and understand your own inner feelings and reactions.

To know more about yourself may help build your confidence and security in your ability to know and live what goes on in your life!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

One of the first things I would suggest is to see if you can keep track of what is leading you to feel anxious. 

If you shake all the time, consider talking with your primary care physician. Sometimes that can be a hormonal imbalance or another chemical imbalance (such as thyroid).

One of the most difficult things about anxiety is that having anxiety (particularly panic attacks) can lead to anxiety about having more panic attacks. Also remember that panic attacks are typically part of your brain's protective response to what it considers to be some sort of threat. You may have heard of the fight or flight response. When you have an anxiety attack, your body is preparing you to react to something that isn't actually a threat, so it's almost as if you're fight or flight response is overactive. Here is an image that may be helpful: http://psychology.tools/fight-or-flight-response.html

There are many different things you can do. You can practice breathing, mindfulness, meditation, or yoga techniques. If you decide to try some breathing techniques, try breathing in for a count of five, holding for a count of five, breathing out for a count of five, and repeating five times.

Also remember that it is easier to learn these techniques when you're not having a panic attack. At that point, it can be really difficult to use methods to not panic. Also remember that panic attacks typically last 5 to 10 minutes. Using techniques to slow your breathing or become focused on the room around you is probably most helpful when you first start to feel anxious.

Here are some other techniques that may help to decrease anxiety: http://psychcentral.com/lib/9-ways-to-reduce-anxiety-right-here-right-now/

As you figure out what is leading up to your anxiety, also consider asking yourself what is making that certain issue a big concern for you. Another important question could be when you have felt that way before.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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