Stress and Self-Care

Panic and anxiety attacks are exhausting.

During an attack, the “fight or flight” response of the body goes into high alert/hyper vigilant mode and the body responds as if it’s in danger.

The parasympathetic nervous system that governs the “fight or flight” response can be triggered when the brain perceives itself to be in a dangerous situation.

However, it can be triggered when there is no threat at all. This can happen for a variety of reasons including stress and other medical conditions.

Everyone experiences stress from time to time and there are different types of stress, all of which carry physical and mental health risks. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time.

Long term, ongoing stress an lead to anxiety and panic attacks.

The neurological condition that affects my nerves can cause them to go into “fight or flight” and causes anxiety and panic attacks.

Not all stress is bad.

In a dangerous situation, stress signals the body to prepare to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, and your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity—all functions aimed at survival and in response to stress. In non-life-threatening situations, stress can motivate people, such as when they need to take a test or interview for a new job.

Long-term stress can harm your health but there are ways to manage stress. This is why a SELF-CARE routine is so important!

Be observant. Recognize the signs of your body’s response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy.

Talk to your health care provider or a health professional. Don’t wait for your health care provider to ask about your stress. Start the conversation and get proper health care for existing or new health problems. Effective treatments can help if your stress is affecting your relationships or ability to work.

Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and improve your health.

Try a relaxing activity. Explore relaxation or wellness programs, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. Schedule regular times for these and other healthy and relaxing activities.

Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.

Stay connected. You are not alone. Keep in touch with people who can provide emotional support and practical help. To reduce stress, ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations.

When experiencing an anxiety or panic attack — remember, “This too shall pass.”

Being open, accepting and compassionate with yourself about your symptoms can help them pass quicker. Tell yourself, “It’s OK, there’s something happening in my body, but that doesn’t mean it’s dangerous or life threatening.”

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