Kick Panic to the Curb with these Tips

Let's work through the panic instead of running away from it.

Let's work through the panic instead of running away from it.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed during the workday.  Whether it’s making that daily commute or looking at the pile of paperwork on your desk, it’s bound to make the majority of us feel a little panicked at times.  And if you happen to be part of the one out of four Canadians who experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, that panic can build up to something a lot more debilitating.  No matter how hard we try, the daily commutes and piles of paperwork will inevitably continue for most of us.  It’s awfully hard to live in a world free of chaos and feelings of overwhelm.  What’s most important is learning how to stay calm amidst this chaos.

Here are my top three tips for helping you kick that panic to the curb:

Deep breathing.  

Did you know that sitting in a car or at a desk for an extended period of time impedes the natural movement of the diaphragm?  The diaphragm plays a very important role in the breathing process.  Improper movement of this muscle can cause shallow breathing and can lead to a lack of oxygen to the tissues.  This lack of oxygen causes lactic acid build-up, which is a contributor to anxiety.  Remembering to take deep belly breaths often during the day is an excellent technique to keep anxiety at bay. 

Nix the morning coffee.  

I know, it doesn't sound like the most ideal option but did you know that caffeine could actually mimic the symptoms of anxiety?  If you're someone that's anxiety-prone, cutting out your morning cup of Joe could do wonders for your nerves.  Try it for two weeks and see what you think.  Instead, try a peppermint herbal tea.  The essential oils from the tea can exert a calming effect on your nerves, keeping you happy and relaxed.

Try L-theanine. 

This amazing amino acid supplement is an extract from green tea and works wonderfully for curbing anxiety.  The added bonus: L-theanine has been shown to transition your brain from theta waves, the brain’s chaos state, to alpha waves, the brain’s focus and concentration state.  L-theanine is excellent for calming frayed nerves without inducing drowsiness.  While L-theanine is generally regarded as safe, it’s important to check-in with a qualified health professional to determine a proper dose and see if it’s the right choice for you.

The simplest lifestyle changes can sometimes lead to the greatest results.  It is possible to remain calm amidst the chaos that many of us experience in our daily lives.  It’s all about finding what works for you and starting with trying out these three tips is a step in the right direction.

References:

Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada. (June 2003). Mental Health and Mental Illness. Retrieved from http://anxietycanada.ca/english/pdf/kirby.pdf

Maddock, R. (2010, May 18). Panic Attacks as a Problem of pH. Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/panic-attacks-as-ph-problem/

Pane-Farre CA et. al. (2015). Anxiety sensitivity and expectation of arousal differentially affect the respiratory response to caffeine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 232(11):1931-9. Doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3828-3.

Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN. (2008). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 17 Suppl 1:167-8.