We all know what it’s like to feel anxious before a test or an important presentation or competition. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous in front of a large audience or going into a new social situation for the first time. But there is a difference between feeling nervous, anxious or feeling shy or unsure of ourselves in connection with a particular, often stressful situation, versus feeling anxiety that is overwhelming or seems to come from nowhere or be beyond our control.
When feelings of anxiety are intense, they are often referred to as a panic attack. Symptoms related to panic attacks may include the following:
Some or all of these symptoms may occur suddenly or without warning. You may be doing something that isn’t even stressful, when suddenly you feel your heart start to race, you start to perspire and you feel a sense of panic. Or you might suddenly feel like you are having a heart attack.
1. Speak to your doctor to rule out physical conditions or illness.
2. Call your EAP to talk to a counsellor and learn more about anxiety and panic attacks, and what to do about them.
3. Take care…
4. Learn how to breathe and relax
5. Some people find it helpful to participate in activities geared towards total body relaxation, such as meditation, tai chi and yoga. These help focus your mind and body on relaxation and calmness. Excercises can be done on a short break from work, at your desk, or in a quiet corner if you are feeling particularly stressed or feel a panic attack coming on.
If you feel especially anxious or as though you are having a panic attack…